There was no big surprise when it was officially announced this week that the Sporting News named Boston Bruins’ Claude Julien as this year’s NHL Coach Of The Year.
After a couple of lean years where the Bruins missed the playoffs, Boston brought in former Montreal Canadiens bench boss Claude Julien, who right away made a difference.
Emphasizing a calming influence, Julien shocked some hockey observers in 2008 when he lead the Bruins to the post season with a respectable 94 points, showing to be a team on the rise Boston gave the Montreal Canadiens a huge scare in the first round last spring, before finally bowing out in game seven.
This season, Boston once again surprised many hockey observers as they dominated throughout the season and ended up first place in the Eastern Conference with 116 points (53-19-10). “When things are going well, he doesn’t mess them up,” Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas said.
“He knows he to step back and let go. But if he sees something he wants to do better, he also lets it be known.”
Julien also proved to be the right tonic for winger Michael Ryder, who came to Boston this year after suffering a dismal season with the Montreal Canadiens, where he scored only 31 points and defensively was a negative four.
When he came to Boston Ryder was productive right away in scoring 53 points and a +28, which he credited to the coaching of Julien. The Sporting News came up with Julien as the winner after they counted the votes from 39 coaches and executives from throughout the league.