Haggerty: Julien making all the right moves

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Haggerty: Julien making all the right moves

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com BruinsInsider Follow@hackswithhaggs
BOSTON Claude Julien would be wise to head to Vegas once the season is over. If he can keep this hot streak going, the getting will be good.

The Bruins coach has pushed all the proper buttons, pulled all the right levers and made all the right moves in the Stanley Cup Final since the series returned to Boston. In general, Julien has had himself a solid postseason with a few key decisions and adjustments that helped the Bruins get to within two wins of their first Stanley Cup in 39 years.

But hes been particularly on point in the last four games. He's made two choices in each of the last two wins that paid immediate dividends:

1) He went with his head and his heart in playing Shawn Thornton during Game 3 to give his team an emotional lift and a dose of much-needed attitude.

2) He rolled the dice a little by taking a chance on Rich Peverley on Bostons top line in Game 4, and Peverley rewarded the decision with a pair of goals.

It would seem Julien is enjoying the Midas touch over the last few games, and hell need to continue if the Bruins are going to bag themselves a road win. While making sure to give a great deal of the credit to the players for the position that the Bruins find themselves in, Bs general manager Peter Chiarelli also points to Julien.

Everything is magnified in the Finals, said Chiarelli. "The last change -- the significance of the last change is huge, so its something we have to battle. But I have confidence in our coach and I have confidence in my players. Those guys have been battling and thats a testament to the team."

Julien is doing a good job, and the players are playing too. This is a collective thing. Ill give credit to Claude for mixing and matching, but the players are also doing terrific in accepting the roles that theyre being placed in."

Chiarelli continued: You bring Thornton in and he brings some energy. In Game 4 I really liked Tyler Seguins game. He battled for a few pucks and made a nice pass on the Michael Ryder goal. Its a cross-ice pass and he was going the other way, so thats a difficult play to make. Claude is making good decisions and the players are responding well.

While Julien could crow about the successful moves to play Thornton or promote Peverley or the idea to pair Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg together after Game 2 of the first round against the Montreal Canadiens with the Bs down 0-2 in that series he'd have to admit paying mind to those ubiquitous critics first. Thats something Julien just isnt going to do anytime soon. He's is happy to go about his way while holding the ultimate respect of his players for four years running in Boston.

Its difficult to have coaching longevity in the NHL, but thats exactly what Julien is building with the Bruins.

I dont hear the criticism. I really dont, said Julien. I stay away that stuff. I need to come to the rink with a clear head. I discuss obviously all the stuff thats done. Its not just about me. Its a coaching staff, management and stuff like that.

We talk about different things. Of course, the final decision always goes to the coach. But its not like its all about me. I dont really hear about it and I dont know about it unless you guys remind me.

One reason Julien isnt hearing too much criticism right now: There's none to be had after he has coached a couple of great games in Boston to even up the series.

Of course, the story could change depending on how Game 5 goes. But if Julien can continue to have the Midas touch for two games, his legacy as championship-caliber decision-maker will be written.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Not a dry eye as Canucks draftee gets the call

Morning Skate: Not a dry eye as Canucks draftee gets the call

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while getting ready to check out GLOW on Netflix.

*This video of a Vancouver Canucks draft pick tearing up while watching the video of his brother celebrating him getting picked is all that is right with the NHL Draft.  

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Adrian Dater has Avs first-round pick Cale Makar talking about his hockey background, and why it doesn’t matter.

*The Calgary Flames are excited about their prospects and the pieces they were able to acquire last weekend.

*The Washington Capitals have re-signed Brett Connolly for a couple of years at short money and he appears to have found a home in DC.

*The Chicago Blackhawks are still in talks with Marian Hossa about how to resolve his contract and the allergic skin condition that might have prematurely ended his hockey career.

*Will the Tampa Bay sports go through a dry spell when it comes to Hall of Fame athletes now that former Lighting forward Dave Andreychuk has been called to the Hockey Hall?

*It looks like young Pierre Luc Dubois will be put in a position to contribute with the Columbus Blue Jackets this season.

*Alex Prewitt has a preview of the NHL free agency period and the stress levels that many players go through in it.

*For something completely different: This video of Drake and Will Ferrell hoop handshakes was pretty solid, and funny.

 

Haggerty: Jacobs may not be beloved, but he's Hall of Fame-worthy

Haggerty: Jacobs may not be beloved, but he's Hall of Fame-worthy

If it was based solely on his 42 years as owner of the Boston Bruins, it might be debatable as to whether Jeremy Jacobs would have been selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Bruins have won one championship and been to a handful of Stanley Cup Finals during Jacobs' long stewardship, of course. They also enjoyed the longest running playoff streak (29 years) in NHL history, though it began before he purchased the franchise. Altogether, the B's have won one Cup, four conference championships, two Presidents' trophies, 15 division championships, and 35 Stanley Cup playoff berths during the Jacobs Era.

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But Jacobs didn't make the Hall of Fame solely on his accomplishments with the Bruins organization. He's being inducted in the "builder” category, which is defined as "coaching, managerial or executive ability, or ability in another significant off-ice role, sportsmanship, character and contributions to his or her organization or organizations and to the game of hockey in general.”  In addition to overseeing the Bruins over the last four-plus decades, he has been a power broker at the league level for just as long.

"I am flattered to be included in with this great group of 2017 inductees, and I am humbled to be included with the legends of hockey that went before me,” said Jacobs. "Owning the Boston Bruins for 42 years has been one of the most rewarding honors of my life. I am indebted to our team's leaders and players, but most of all, to our fans, for giving me a broad and deeply appreciative perspective of the game."

The 2011 Stanley Cup victory was the overriding on-ice moment in his stewardship of the team, and the Jacobs family has had a major, altruistic impact in Boston. No one should overlook the Boston Bruins Foundation, which has touched so many lives with the $28 million that's been awarded to those in need since its inception in 1993.

Unfortunately, Jacobs will always have a reputation with a large portion of the Bruins fan base that his ownership wasn't willing to spend enough for truly competitive teams. At times he was viewed as an absentee owner living in Buffalo, overseeing the team from afar while Harry Sinden ran the operation. Those fans hold that grudge even today, despite the Bruins consistently spending to the salary cap ceiling while fielding competitive teams. They view Monday's Hall of Fame announcement as something akin to Montgomery Burns being inducted into the Springfield Hall of Fame.

Cam Neely disagrees.

"As a player, I knew of Mr. Jacobs' passion for the Bruins,” said Neely, who has served as Bruins president for nearly a decade after a Hall of Fame playing career highlighted by his years in Boston. "Over the past decade while in the front office, I have seen firsthand his dedication to winning, by consistently providing the Bruins the resources that we need to compete for Stanley Cup Championships and also his unmatched commitment to growing the game of hockey."

That commitment to hockey is a key factor in Jacobs' Hall of Fame selection.

Jacobs was unanimously voted in as chairman of the NHL Board of Governors in 2007, and he's been a major driving force in each of the last couple of oft-contentious CBA negotiations. While Jacobs clearly had a hand in the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season due to a labor dispute, and in the lockout-shortened season of 2013, those CBA negotiations ultimately led to the imposition of a salary cap and a pathway for small-market NHL teams to survive as the cost of doing hockey business continues to go up.

Without Jacobs as an often hawkish, hard-line owner, there's a chance that a team like the Western Conference champion Nashville Predators might not have been able to survive in the NHL, and it's highly doubtful they'd be able to be as competitive as they are now if teams like Toronto, New York and Chicago could outspend everybody else. So there's no denying the seismic impact that Jacobs made at the league-wide level with his leadership and commitment to growing the game, and that the NHL is better off for the battles waged in collective bargaining while he's been in a position of power.

If you polled every single Bruins fan on the street, it's unlikely he'd be a populist choice for the Hall of Fame. The lean budgetary years durinhg the playing days of Neely, Ray Bourque and others will always be part of the Spoked B history. Some will hold those grudges forever, which is part of makes us who we are as a fan base.

But faithful, rabid fans continue to stream into TD Garden, continue to spend money to support their favorite hockey team, and continue to provide the kind of support that's led to a 338-game home sellout streak. It's a sign Jacobs and Bruins ownership continue to do things very right, even if we shouldn't be scheduling any popularity contests anytime soon.