Julien feels for recently-fired Laviolette

Julien feels for recently-fired Laviolette
October 7, 2013, 4:00 pm
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WILMINGTON -- With the news out of Philadelphia that Flyers coach and Massachusetts native Peter Laviolette has been fired just three games into the NHL season, Bruins coach Claude Julien was understandably empathetic to the situation.

It appeared that Laviolette was on thin ice before the season even began after the Flyers missed the playoffs last season, and a lackluster training camp convinced Paul Holmgren and Ed Snider it was time for a change after Philly's 0-3-0 start to the regular season.

Every pro hockey coach knows they’re hired to eventually be fired someday, and one can only hope it turns into the seven years of success and results that Julien has accumulated in Boston. The Bruins coach was the longest-tenured coach in the Eastern Conference until Mike Babcock and the Wings moved over during the 2013-14 NHL realignment, but he’s still right behind Babcock and Nashville’s Barry Trotz in terms of longevity.

That’s not to say Julien hasn’t had his bad times behind the bench, either. Julien was gassed in Montreal after winning the Jack Adams Award with the Habs, and was infamously fired by Lou Lamoriello and the New Jersey Devils with only three games left to go before the 2006-07 playoffs.

So which is worse: Getting fired three games into the season, or getting fired with three games left in the season?

“Both suck,” said Julien. “You always feel for [a fellow coach] no matter what, but that’s an early dismissal. As a coach you’d always like an opportunity to right the ship, and obviously he didn’t get that.

“But like I always say, there may always be things that we don’t now about. But it’s tough enough as it is for a coach trying to do a good job, and sometimes it doesn’t work out. He’s a good coach, he’s got a Stanley Cup and he’s always had competitive teams. So I think he’ll bounce back.”

Clearly Julien learned and adapted from his former coaching stops while leading the Bruins to six straight seasons of playoff appearances in Boston, including a pair of Stanley Cup Final appearances. But it’s also pretty clear Julien still doesn’t go to his happy place when thinking back to the way things ended with the Devils or Canadiens, and understandably so.