By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON Claude Julien is a member of the Boston sports coaching fraternity, and he truly earned his place after leading his hockey club to a Stanley Cup championship last June.
Julien talked about the support he received from the other coaches in Boston, and Sox manager Terry Francona on more than one occasion asked me to pass along the message to Julien that he liked his coaching style and appreciated the way he went about his business.
It was pretty clear the words of encouragement and praise meant something to the Bs coach, and he said Saturday morning that he planned to reach out to the Sox skipper after Francona was removed from his managing duties at Fenway on Friday. Julien caught some of the press conferences and heard the same things that everyone has around Boston when it comes to differences with ownership -- and perhaps some of his players.
Julien said he empathized with Francona, and it hit close to home for the Bs coach because the two men had very similar styles when it comes to running their individual teams.
The one thing I know is that the job that Francona has done here is tremendous, said Julien. Two World Series and the way hes conducted himself through everything, Im going to be a fan of his no matter where he ends up. I know hes going to end up somewhere. I like the way hes handled his group.
In certain ways Im a lot like him as far as trusting your players and showing them the respect that they deserve. You give them as much leash as they can take. Youve got to give them that opportunity to lead the way. Im not big on throwing players under the bus and he never has.
Juliens job came under fire last season when the Bruins were battling consistency in the middle of the year coming off the playoff collapse against the Philadelphia Flyers, and there was probably a time when he might have thought hed be long gone from Boston prior to Francona. After all, Julien and his staff were likely one Game 7 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round away from their pink slips, and it sounded as the Bs coach would have handled things the very same way as Francona had that day come.
"It was interesting last night to really listen to him because there were a lot of things that I could see myself saying, Julien said. Hes a gentlemen thats well respected hes going to take the high road. That was pretty obvious. I have nothing but tremendous respect for him for what hes accomplished and how hes deal with tough times.
Though the NHL is renowned for high turnover in their coaching ranks, it doesnt look like the Bs coach, thats won both a Jack Adams Award and a Stanley Cup during his highly successful four-year run in Boston, has anything to worry about anytime soon.