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Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs says firing Claude Julien was ‘overdue’

05.02.17 at 1:53 pm ET
The Bruins fired Claude Julien back in February. (Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins fired Claude Julien back in February. (Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports)

Claude Julien was on the hot seat long before the Bruins finally pulled the trigger and relieved him of his duties back in February.

And speaking with the media for the first time since he said that he expected a deep playoff run from his then Julien-led Bruins squad, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs did not hold back when asked about the decision to move on from the club’s all-time winningest coach.

“My own impression is that it was overdue – maybe a little late,” Jacobs said. “Maybe I precipitated part of that and misplaced loyalty in that sense. But, it was the right move.

“I think I had a false sense of loyalty there. I think we gave Claude a lot of leeway and it didn’t produce, so it was time to move on.”

With the club teetering on the edge of a full-on collapse (and earlier than in previous years) with their 26-23-6 record, Julien was replaced by Bruce Cassidy, and the Bruins went 18-8-1 to finish the season en route to a return to playoff play for the first time since 2014.

“Coaches have a definite life it seems to be. [Julien] had been a long serving coach. He spent a good bit of his career with us, and hopefully he does well in Montreal,” Jacobs continued. “But, once Bruce took over, I think he either had the first or second best record of any team in the National Hockey League for that period of time. I don’t know the exact number, but I think it was 24 games or something like that. So, it was a very prudent move and it was very prudent there. Under those circumstances, I would say that Don did a terrific job in selecting him and motivating him and motivating the team.”

Under Julien, who won 419 of 759 games behind the Boston bench, the Bruins won the 2011 Stanley Cup and made it to the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Blackhawks. The Bruins also made it to the playoffs in all but the final two of Julien’s nine full seasons as the team’s head coach. And they advanced to the second round of play in all but two of those seven postseason runs.

But the B’s results under Cassidy spoke for themselves in a lot of ways, and left more than Jacobs impressed with the decision made by the B’s leadership group of team president Cam Neely and general manager Don Sweeney.

“Don [Sweeney] certainly talked to me about the thought of removing Claude [Julien] and putting Bruce in as an interim,” Neely said. “What Bruce did and what the players did when he took over was pretty impressive. So, there was a different feeling around the locker room, he practiced differently, and it showed up in the way we played.”

The Bruins named Cassidy as the club’s full-time head coach last week.

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