Julien humbled as he moves to 2nd all-time in B's wins

Julien humbled as he moves to 2nd all-time in B's wins
March 15, 2013, 10:30 am
Share This Post

BOSTON -- With the firing of Lindy Ruff earlier this season, Bruins coach Claude Julien became the longest tenured head coach in the NHL’s entire Eastern Conference.

Julien has won a Jack Adams Award in Boston, he’s won a Stanley Cup in Boston and he’s become exactly what the Bruins franchise needed: a steady, stable head coach with excellent systems and a talented group of assistant coaches that have grown and developed with their talented core of players over the last six years.

With the success and longevity in Boston comes plenty of wins that have pushed Julien higher and higher among the head coaching pantheon in the Bruins organization. The B’s head coach actually moved past Bruins legend Milt Schmidt for second all-time while earning career victory No. 246 behind the Boston bench in their 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

Julien actually wasn’t overwhelmed by what he saw out of his players on the ice in Thursday’s win. But he was genuinely humbled off the ice while hearing his name even mentioned with a genuine living legend like Schmidt, who served as Hall of Fame player, coach and GM of the Bruins organization for a large chunk of his 95 years. Julien was also quick to point that it’s a lot easier to accumulate wins in the modern era of the NHL than it was back in the Original Six days.

“I certainly don’t perceive myself to be in the same category as Milt Schmidt. You’ve got to understand, it’s a different era. Ties were ties, and that’s the way it ended,” said Julien. “We play 82 games, I think they played somewhere around the 60 mark, if not less. A lot different era, it’s a number, it’s a number of wins, but certainly not ready to compare myself to him."

“I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for Milt [Schmidt], and even for Grapes [Don Cherry]. Those guys have done a lot for the game. It’s something that’s nice, to know that you’re with them in regard to the number of wins, but certainly not willing to say I’m in the same category as them yet.”

Bruins coaching legend Art Ross is atop that list with 361 career wins behind the Black and Gold bench, and there’s certainly a healthy chance Julien could surpass that mark given Boston’s strong, young nucleus of players. He certainly has the undivided support of the key players in the Bruins dressing room, and has developed a trust with the many players he’s gone to the battles with over the last six years.

“He’s meant a lot to me. I’ve developed as a player and a person under him,” said Patrice Bergeron. “It’s not just with Claude, though. It’s with the entire coaching staff. The way that he understands the game makes you a better player, and it shows in the stats."

“He’s the type of coach that’s always been fair during good days and bad days. He’s always been fair and he always lets you know [where you stand]. For a guy that had shorter stints in Montreal and New Jersey it shows what can happen when you have faith in him.”

The five minutes Julien spent talking about the milestone following Thursday’s win is probably the only time he’ll even think about it for a while, however. It’s right back into the challenge of getting his hockey club playing at their optimal level prior to the playoffs as the Bruins enter the final six weeks of the abbreviated regular season.

That is Julien’s lot in life, as a hockey coach always working to stay on top of an ever-evolving season, but he clearly wouldn’t want it any other way after finding a home in Boston over the last six years.