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“Get the Duck Boats ready!”
It was part of an amazing call by Boston Bruins play-by-play announcer Dave Goucher in 2011, with the B’s clinching their first Stanley Cup in 39 years. The irony then, of today’s announcement of the firing of the head coach that lead them to that championship moment, Claude Julien, is apropos of a larger institutional issue with the franchise.
The symbology of yet another championship parade marching through the streets of Boston, with the aforementioned Duck Boats in service, while the Bruins deciding that of all days, smack-dab in the middle of the ACTUAL PARADE to fire Julien, is damning.
Was it overdue? Perhaps. Claude was in his 10th year as Bruins HC, and with an 26-23-6 record this year, was treading water towards the bottom half of the playoff race….right where most people pegged the Bruins for this year.
Yeah, there were some tough losses, some real kicks to the gut for the B’s top-heavy squad. A club far too reliant on a stellar goaltender in Tuukka Rask, with severe depth shortcomings behind him and the first offensive line.
But for the front office of the Bruins to make the move on the New England Patriots championship parade day, with a million people expected for the turnout to celebrate, reeks of cowardice. Yellow, if I had to pick a color.
Black and Yellow.
Hats off to Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald who came out swinging in the press conference, holding General Manager Don Sweeney’s feet to the fire and asking why today, of all bloody days, to make the firing and hold the conference shortly after the parade got moving through Boston.
Sweeney’s response? “Mostly because the PR Department had explained that once you make a decision in that regard, you need to stand up in front of people and acknowledge the reasons behind it and move on from there,”
Nice. Well, that’s why the peeps in Public Relations are paid the big money, I suppose. I can only imagine the outcry if this morning had passed without any word from the front office about the firing.
*Turns on TV*
*Sees parade with a kijillion people celebrating an actual winning Boston sports team*
*Sighs, turns off TV*
Lest we forget, this isn’t the first time the Bruins have pulled this “PR” move. 4th of July, 2013, the B’s shipped off young star Tyler Seguin to Dallas. It was a trade that bore out to be one-sided in the Stars’ favor, and smacked of a bad-news dump on a traveling holiday, intended to negate the impact of trading a young talent and fan-favorite away.
Bruins fans did not forget. Heck, I did not forget. This is part of the fabric of the organization, to take the easy way out, to downplay bad decisions and pass the buck and to pretend that making challenging decisions on days that people may not be paying as much attention (and rightfully so) means that they can skate when it comes to accountability.
The bell tolls for thee, Don Sweeney and Cam Neely. Five years removed from a Stanley Cup championship team, the core of the Bruins has been swapped out, leaving them lacking (an understatement). The coach that brought that championship home has finally bitten the big one. Someone help Sweeney and Neely if Boston does not make the playoffs this year.
Get the Duck Boats ready, because I’m almost certain they can make a stop at Logan Airport in the near future. Two tickets, please.