Boston • Claude Julien doesn’t pay much attention to compliments or criticism.
Just give him a pair of skates, players to teach and a spot behind the bench and the coach of the Boston Bruins is thrilled.
"If I could come to work every day, do this stuff, then walk out of the rink and nobody knew who I was, I’d be the happiest guy in the world," he says. "That’s just the way I am. It’s my personality."
It’s tough for him to be anonymous, however, when he’s three wins from a second Stanley Cup championship in three years. Especially after he’s taken his team to the playoffs in each of his six years as coach and has the second-most postseason victories of any NHL coach in that stretch.
He would get his 50th, one less than Mike Babcock of Detroit, with a win Monday night in Game 3 that would give the Bruins a 2-1 lead over the Chicago Blackhawks in the best-of-seven series.
Then there’s the recognition Julien really doesn’t want — the repeated rumblings that he might get fired if he doesn’t win a particular postseason series.
Julien was honored as coach of the year for his regular-season performance in 2008-09. But the next season when the Bruins lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals after winning the first three games, there were calls for his exit.
Good thing general manager Peter Chiarelli, a staunch supporter of Julien, didn’t listen.
The next year the Bruins captured their first Stanley Cup since 1972, winning three of their four series in seven games and taking the title with a 4-0 victory in Vancouver in Game 7.
But when Boston lost to Washington in the first round last season, the critics returned. And it didn’t get better when the Bruins nearly blew a 3-1 series lead to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round this year.
"I’ve been here for six years. I think I’ve been fired five times," Julien said to laughter. "You know, those kinds of things really are not important to me. What’s important is the results. As long as the people I work for appreciate what we do, that’s what matters. At the end of the day, winning hockey games for our fans and for the city is what matters to me. That stuff is really no bother to me."Next Page >
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.