One of my favorite all-time favorite South Park bits - gnomes using a business plan to explain why they steal children's underpants. Make profit!
I see a similar gap in the reasoning behind firing Julien. There are lots of things that you could point to as rationales - his inability to improve the performance of the PP, the regular recurrance of mid-season swoons, persistent difficulties scoring goals (never worse than 2010) despite a roster that looks like it has a number of talented offensive players. Along with the PP, lack of hitting/physical and emotional engagement has been a top charge against a coach who doesn't seem to be a guy who revs his team up game by game or make changes willingly when execution doesn't match design. So don't get me wrong - in the context of pro sports, there are sufficient reasons to fire Julien after this year. Maybe not if he wins a Cup or even a Wales, but you know, sufficient.
The problem I have with it in the abstract is that we're thinking about why to dump the coach, not what's going to make the team better. Pro sports is littered with examples of teams that get an initial boost from dumping coach A for coach B, but then they fade out again to playing at roughly the same level. Good examples in hockey in recent memory would be the Hurricanes dumping Maurice for Laviolette, and winning a Cup with Laviolette before reverting to .500 form. Then dumping Laviolette for Maurice and getting a short boost...before reverting to form and dumping Maurice for Muller who gave them a bit of a burst before they...reverted to form. Shouldn't the lesson be "stay off the carousel" for the most part - especially if you think you have a coach who helps you win even if he has his weaknesses?
What happens if they fire Julien? This is still most of the roster that won a Cup under Julien, so it's an experienced group perceived to be in the middle of a "window" tied to Chara's age. Do you go get a guy like Hawerchuk (like - I don't think Hawerchuk is leaving any time soon) and see if he can hold on long enough to make a difference the way Oates has? Or do you retread a guy thinking that this team needs a coach with an NHL coaching resume? Maybe Scotty Bowman's still lucid.... In other words, you make a move to go get a coach, not just to get rid of one.
Once you do, how does that coach fit a roster that is tailored to Julien's style? I think it's actually PC's organizational philosophy to avoid the pitfalls associated with too many megadeals and concentrate on depth, balance. You roll four lines and try to minimize the drop off. You play a sound and simple defensive system that let's you get a lot out of players with a little talent. I think this is a huge risk, mostly on the back end. In a less structured defensive system, I can see both Boychuk and McQuaid running around and getting exposed. I can see Ference playing almost exactly the same. Seidenberg's limitations, which made him expendable in both Carolina and Florida, also become more apparent. I don't think you see more scoring from Kelly or Peverley or Horton because their lack of production hasn't been a system issue. No coach can make Horton keep the puck below the crossbar or make Peverley shoot for something other than the crest, no matter what afterschool specials may have led you to believe. You might get Lucic to hit more often, and fight more regularly - but does that necessarily get him back to 30 goal territory? What about Krejci? Does he score more with fewer defensive responsibilities? Or does he need to have new wingers - guys not currently on the roster - to do taht? Do the prospects go nuts because they move out some of these guys to make room? And what if they CBourque?
I think what people really want is "Julien+". They want the shut-down defensive system, but with the hitting ramped up and the quick twitch offense of the 2011 Cup run - or at least, every second game of it. Bit risk to get there just dumping Julien.