By Tim Rosenthal, Bruins Daily
Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli were conducting “business as usual” during the Bruins’ breakup day on Monday at the TD Garden. Except, this time around, the head coach and General Manager have a cloud of uncertainty hovering over them regarding their job security.
Some of the Bruins still on the roster have that same cloud above them.
Following a good track record of success that included a Presidents’ Trophy, two Eastern Conference titles and a Stanley Cup championship since the 2010-11 season, the Bruins failed to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
In January, following a three-game losing streak, Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs went on record saying the team’s performance was “unacceptable.” The Black and Gold followed that up by going 8-1-1 in the next 10 games.
That hot streak could not be maintained as the Bruins’ trend of ups and downs continued for the next three months. They would go on five game winning streaks and follow that by losing five in a row.
In the closing games of the season, a failure to finish offensive chances and defensive breakdowns caught up to the B’s. They were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday.
And now an offseason of uncertainty begins.
The fates of Chiarelli and Julien will be decided at some point. Chiarelli announced that Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille will not return next season. Trades could go down, potentially even one involving Milan Lucic. The futures of unrestricted free agent Carl Soderberg and a crop of restricted free agents, including Ryan Spooner and Dougie Hamilton, will be assessed.
“When you don’t make the playoffs, changes are usually made,” Lucic said, who enters the final year of his $6 million contract in 2015-16. “As a player, those are the things that are out of your control, and you just hope that a group can stay together as long as it can. But I mean, you trust that the GM and the whole management group are going to do the best they can to put the best team on the ice. As a player, that’s all you can really do, is just trust in the management group that they’re going to do the best that they can to put the best team on the ice moving forward.”
Some players, like Tuukka Rask, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, are part of the Bruins’ core likely to stay largely intact. Others, like David Pastrnak, hope to improve on a solid rookie season and become part of that core for years to come.
“Every year the teams change up a little bit, how much, that’s not really up to me to say,” Marchand said. “I don’t know, but guys are obviously going to be leaving and new guys are going to be coming in.”
Even for the players who are staying, change is something they have to deal with.
“I don’t expect anything, and also I expect everything, so, there’s going to be some changes,” Rask added. “But you look at the contract situation that some of the guys have and you figure out probably not everybody’s going to be back. So, we’ll see what happens.”
The players in the Black and Gold organization knows their future is in the hands of the GM, whether it’s Chiarelli or someone else next season.
Julien and Chiarelli know the fate of their status is in the hands of the front office. Cam Neely, as well as Charlie and Jeremy Jacobs, usually address the Bruins media a week after breakup day. By then, the Bruins’ president and principal owners should reveal the fate of the current head coach and GM.
On Bruins Daily: More questions surround Lucic at breakup day