Monday, January 12, 2009


This goes to the GM, head coach, owner, front office person, or any other guy/gal who doesn’t actually play, but makes a major impact on a team. Here are the nominees:

Jerry York - Head Coach, BC Hockey
Danny Ainge - GM, Boston Celtics
Doc Rivers - Head Coach, Boston Celtics
Claude Julien - Head Coach, Boston Bruins
Peter Chiarelli - GM, Boston Bruins
Terry Francona - Manager, Boston Red Sox

And the winner is...

Claude Julien of the Bruins!

Unlike his three coaching colleagues in Boston, Claude Julien doesn't have the best talent money can buy. There are no equivalents of Randy Moss, Kevin Garnett, or Josh Beckett on the Bruins. There is talent, and depth, and leadership, but the B's still lack the household names and the celebrity of the other Boston teams.

Julien is difficult to notice during a hockey game, as most good coaches in the sport are. The occasional shuffling of lines, when to take the timeout, and when to pull a goalie are the only decisions we get to see. The measure of an NHL head coach is in the personality of his team.

The Bruins don't have the big names of a team like Detroit, but they have the confidence, cohesiveness, imposing attitude, and relentless drive of a winner. And that all starts with the head coach.

The playoff series against Montreal in April exemplifies the Bruins' personality. After being owned lock, stock, and barrel by the Canadiens, the B's took them to 7 games and made them work for advancement. The Bruins never even held a lead against Montreal until that playoff series.

And now they're on top of the Eastern Conference, tied with San Jose for the most in the NHL, 11 points ahead of the Rangers and Capitals for best Conference record, 12 points ahead of Montreal in the division. The Bruins have thrived despite injuries. They've scored the most goals in the NHL and allowed the fewest.

Everyone on the Bruins fights for their teammates. They play selflessly with winning as their only goal. That doesn't happen by coincidence. It starts with having a great head coach, and Claude Julien has been that.

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