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Here’s the letter Bruins sent season ticket-holders regarding Claude Julien 04.14.16 at 10:56 am ET
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Don Sweeney

Don Sweeney

Here is the letter sent to Bruins season ticket-holders Thursday announcing the return of Claude Julien for a 10th season:

Dear Valued Ticket Holders,

Like all of you, I am extremely disappointed with the outcome of this season. We set high expectations for ourselves, and we certainly realize that you as fans share the same set of high expectations. It is our responsibility to ice a Team that you are proud to support and one that contends for the Stanley Cup year in and year out. I fully understand that we did not meet these expectations this year and let you all down in the process.

There are a number of important matters to address this offseason, and I wanted to communicate our strategy surrounding a few of these matters directly to you. All of the respective decisions will be made with a singular objective in mind: to improve our club in both the short term and the long term.

The first involves our head coach. Claude Julien is our head coach and will be our head coach when we return to action in the fall. Claude’s record as the winningest coach in Bruins’ history speaks for itself, and he is fully committed to leading the Team back to being a Stanley Cup contender. We recognize there are areas of our game and our roster that need to be improved, and we firmly believe that Claude gives us the best chance at on-ice success in both the near and long term. We are confident in Claude’s ability to continue to make the necessary game adjustments while we work to develop players and re-shape our roster.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Claude Julien ‘absolutely’ will be back next season, changes to coaching staff coming 04.14.16 at 10:14 am ET
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Claude Julien will be back as Bruins coach next season. (USA Today Sports)

Claude Julien will be back as Bruins coach next season. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Claude Julien will be back as coach of the Bruins next season.

General manager Don Sweeney announced at the start of Thursday’s end of season press conference that Claude Julien “absolutely” will return.

The Bruins did not make the postseason each of the last two seasons.

Sweeney also announced assistant coach Doug Houda won’t return and other assistants’ deals are up with the exception of goalie coach Bob Essensa. He’s been the goalie coach since 2003.

Houda’s time with the Bruins predates that of Julien, as Houda served as an assistant coach under former B’s head coach Dave Lewis and was kept on after Lewis’ firing. As a player, Houda served as a teammate of Zdeno Chara when the two played for the Islanders.

Other coaches who won’t return are Doug Jarvis and Joe Sacco.

Jarvis was hired prior to the 2010-11 season as a replacement for Craig Ramsay. As a player, Jarvis holds the record for most consecutive games played with 964. Sacco, who formerly served as head coach of the Avalanche and was also an assistant coach for the Sabres, replaced former B’s assistant coach Geoff Ward in the summer of 2014 when Ward left the team to take a head-coaching job in Germany. Ward is currently an assistant coach for the Devils.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Bruins to make Claude Julien, Don Sweeney available Thursday 04.13.16 at 6:37 pm ET
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Claude Julien

Claude Julien

When the Bruins did not make Claude Julien or Don Sweeney available at the Bruins’ end-of-season player availability, it seemed the writing was on the wall for the Bruins’ head coach. The team’s next announcement, it figured, would be that they had relieved the long-tenured coach of his duties after nine seasons.

Well, this team and organization has been anything but predictable since last April, so perhaps it shouldn’t have been a shock when the next announcement ended up being Wednesday’s release that both Sweeney and Julien would be available for a press conference on Thursday. President Cam Neely and CEO Charlie Jacobs’ year-end presser is scheduled for next Wednesday, according to the press release.

Tuesday’s release did not reveal anything definitive about Julien’s status. It’s certainly possible that they could still end up firing Julien and that they’re in no rush to do it because they figure the candidates to replace him (Nate Leaman, Bruce Cassidy) aren’t going anywhere in the meantime. They can theoretically hold onto Julien in an effort to get the Senators to fork over some sort of compensation for the head coach’s services.

Or it could mean that the Bruins are actually going to keep him. As we’ve written, that would be the smart move, even if it’s seemed like the unlikely move since the B’s missed the playoffs for a second straight season.

At any rate, the scheduling could lead one to believe that Julien won’t be fired in the coming days unless they’re going to bump up Neely’s presser. After all, if the Bruins were going to fire Julien, the president of the team would have to speak a heck of a lot sooner than a whole week later.

Days of taunting (should be) over for Bruins 04.13.16 at 12:48 pm ET
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Brad Marchand

Brad Marchand

By all indications, Brad Marchand has loved non-playoff teams over the years. They’ve just been such easy targets.

Playing on them hasn’t been as fun. After years of shoving their 2011 Stanley Cup championship in their opponents’ faces (probably too many years), the Bruins officially have no scoreboard to point to, no recent track record with which to antagonize the other bench.

The Bruins certainly got their money’s worth with their Cup championship and general dominance over the Eastern Conference. They were better than their opponents and they let everyone in the NHL know to the point that they were admittedly obnoxious. Months before they won it all, Marchand skated by the Leafs’ bench in a game towards the end of the 2010-11 regular season and made a golf-swing gesture. He proved he could walk the walk by racking up 19 points during Boston’s Cup run.

“When we were winning and when we were going to the finals and when we won, we had such a dominant team,” Marchand said this week. “You can play with that arrogance and you can get away with it because you back it up. That’s tough to do when you’re not winning as frequently.”

The taunting was part of the Bruins’ charm during their recent heyday, but with two straight ninth-place finishes, that heyday is over. When the B’s kept it up long after winning, it became more of a bad look than anything else. The Bruins were not happy when Marchand made a Cup-raising gesture to the Vancouver crowd in a game the B’s were losing by three goals during the 2013-14 season. It was awkward when Milan Lucic raised the Cup to Canadiens fans in the 2014-15 seasons, which was not only four seasons after Boston won, but mere months after the Habs had eliminated them from the previous season’s playoffs.

Fortunately, Marchand has a few other ways of entertaining. His play with the puck on his stick made this the most impressive regular season of his career, as he scored a personal best 37 goals to finish sixth in the league.

Marchand hopes to continue putting on a show the way he did this season. Just don’t expect much of the taunting until the B’s are winning again.

“If you’re going to act arrogant, you have to be able to back it up,” Marchand said. “That’s something we were always able to do. It’s tough at times and it’s frustrating when you’re playing against teams and they’re acting like that towards you. Hopefully we can get back there and be able to play with that same kind of swagger.”

Alexander Khokhlachev’s agent says Claude Julien didn’t give player a chance 04.13.16 at 9:51 am ET
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Alexander Khokhlachev didn’t hold back when venting his frustrations with the Bruins back in September, so perhaps his agent’s recent comments shouldn’t come as a surprise.

With Khokhlachev at the end of his entry-level contract and coach Claude Julien’s status with the Bruins in limbo, Khokhlachev’s agent blamed his client’s lack of NHL success (zero points in nine NHL games) on Boston’s head coach.

Khokhlachev posted strong numbers in the AHL the last two seasons but was invisible during his callups to Boston, where he’s averaged under 10 minutes of ice time per game.

A second-round pick of the Bruins in 2011, the center’s issues with Julien will certainly feed into Julien’s perhaps overstated reputation for not being a good coach for developing young forwards. Julien has developed the likes of Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Ryan Spooner, among others. Khokhlachev’s chances of becoming a full-time Bruin dwindled when Spooner and Noel Acciari seized open center jobs behind Patrice Bergeron and Krejci.

Khokhlachev will be a restricted free agent this summer. If he is to stay in North America (his father is the general manager of Spartak Moscow of the KHL), it’s hard to believe he’d want to stay with the B’s.

Dale Arnold: Bruins should make Patrice Bergeron captain, trade Zdeno Chara and David Krejci 04.12.16 at 9:27 pm ET
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Dale Arnold gave his plan for how he would return the Bruins to the playoffs.

On Tuesday’s Dale & Holley show, Arnold said an offseason priority should be to make Patrice Bergeron captain, regardless of whether Zdeno Chara — whom Arnold said should be traded — was back with the team.

“I think it’s time to change the captain,” Arnold said. “Assuming he’s on this team next year, Patrice Bergeron has to have the ‘C’ on his sweater and not Zeno Chara. I’d start there because they had a huge leadership void on this team all season long.”

Arnold said he would buy out Jimmy Hayes, who was a disappointment in the first year of a three-year contract with the B’s. Hayes, whose cap hit is $2.3 million, scored 13 goals in his first year with his hometown team.

“I’d buy out Jimmy Hayes — $2.3 million for each of the next two seasons, bad signing by Don Sweeney,” Arnold said. “I would buy out Jimmy Hayes, take the financial hit, move on while you can.”

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Senators fire Dave Cameron, pave way for Claude Julien? 04.12.16 at 10:21 am ET
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The Senators fired head coach Dave Cameron and his staff on Tuesday, a move that could eventually lead to a familiar face heading to Ottawa.

Should Claude Julien be fired by the Bruins, he would figure to be an ideal candidate for the Senators. Julien, regarded as one of the league’s top coaches, grew up in nearby Orleans, Ontario. Furthermore, Julien has experience working with current Senators general manager Pierre Dorion.

The Bruins have yet to make an announcement on Julien or make him available to the media. Julien last spoke publicly after Saturday’s 6-1 loss to the Senators, which proved to be the team’s final game of the season when they were eliminated from playoff contention hours later.

Julien has coached the Bruins for nine seasons. He has two years remaining on a three-year contract.

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