WILMINGTON -- Claude Julien made sure to do his homework on Tuesday night, which included watching the Avalanche-Maple Leafs game with Colorado set to roll into Boston for a Thursday night game.
But the Bruins coach has also become a diehard Boston sports fan during his seven years behind the Black and Gold bench, and he caught the final few innings of the Red Sox’ decisive Game 4 win over Tampa Bay to move on to the American League Championship series.
The B’s bench boss is as impressed as anybody else with the worst-to-first turnaround accomplished by the Sox from last year to this season. Julien knows a thing or two about such things after helping lift a once moribund Bruins organization back to the Stanley Cup contender they’ve been over the last three years.
In Julien’s estimation, much of the Sox winning ways emanate from manager John Farrell coming back to Boston from his time managing a Toronto Blue Jays ballclub going nowhere fast.
“It was 1-0 Tampa [when I switched it on], so I tuned in just in time to see them score the two runs,” said Julien. “My personal thought is that the manager has done a great job. With a few things he’s changed the whole chemistry of that team. We talk about chemistry, and you can tell there is good chemistry [with the Red Sox] right now.
“That wasn’t the case last year. I think it’s made a big difference. His players want to play and put themselves out there, and when players want to do that it’s because something has change in the room to make them want to go out there and play hard. John [Farrell] deserves a lot of credit for that.”
Hard to argue Julien’s point given the winning tradition Farrell was a part of during his stint as pitching coach in Boston, and both the respectability and attention to detail that returned to Fenway Park as soon as he did.