Saturday evening's Boston Bruins overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens has stirred a simmering pot of media and fans calling for head coach Claude Julien's dismissal.
The Bruins held a 2-0 lead heading into the third period Saturday evening, and played a sleepy and uninspired third period and overtime to concede the game to their arch-rival Canadiens. The loss, one of a few losses where the Bruins surrenders a lead, sent fans on Twitter in a tizzy, and frustrated beat writers getting used to telling the same story.
New England Hockey Journal's Black and Gold Blog, usually an optimistic technical evaluator, had to scrap the stats:
"Where does the blame fall? Julien said in his postgame interview that he thought his team had a pretty decent third period. Like you, I clearly beg to differ. So what caused a team in control of a game, limiting their opponent to squat in terms of scoring chances to suddenly become under fire?...Did the coach tell them to sit back, or did they rest on their laurels and assume the lead was safe?"
Julien has taken a bunch of flack as of late, especially his weird handling of goaltender Tuukka Rask's first start in weeks against Buffalo on New Year's Day, pulling him after one period of eh-okay work, and his offensive line uses and changes.
But under fire the most after Saturday’s loss was their lack of intensity during the third period, given that a two goal lead isn’t the safest of margins. Angry Bruins Fan gets...well, angry, and says that mismanagement in the third period isn’t a new Julien trait:
"Boston took their foot of off the gas pedal and took a "prevent defense" type approach where they would bleed the clock and win the game. The issue is that THIS TYPE OF PLAY DOESN’T WORK. Bruins fans who have paid attention over the past few years can attest that Claude Julien’s system at the end of games does not work."
The Bruins Blog’s Matt Kalman, who describes himself as a "Julien defender," says a change behind the bench might be the only thing this contracted to the hilt team can do:
"If this was the first time the Bruins collapsed, you could take into account the opponent and the site and maybe accept it as a blip on the radar. But the Bruins have made a habit of losing leads lately after spending most of the first couple months of the season mailing in the first period or two. A team that is handcuffed by the salary cap and can’t make player moves easily might have no choice than to make a change behind the bench in an attempt to exorcise the poor habits and attitudes that have overtaken this team."
For more Boston Bruins discussion, check out SBNation's Stanley Cup of Chowder.