Despite a stamp of approval from Bruin Poet Laureate Kevin Paul DuPont, it seems that Mike Milbury is not going to be the coach of the Boston Bruins.
Worse still, it also doesn't seem to be longtime Bruin fan favorite Ted Donato, whose broken foot was (in my humble opinion) the reason the Bruins lost their playoff series to the Canadiens in 2004.
For a great rundown of the other candidates in the running, check out the terrific Doug Flynn, who really breaks them all down in great fashion.
All signs are pointing towards Claude Julien (coach of those 2004 Canadiens, by the way) continuing a steadfast Boston trend of hiring ex-Devils coaches who were canned despite not doing that badly.
And I gotta tell you, he's not a bad choice, but from the perspective of one Bruins fan, he's not the best choice, even among ex-Devils coaches, as I'd rather have either Pat Burns or Robbie Ftorek back before Julien. Christ, I'd even take Larry Robinson at this point. By the way, the only playoff series Julien ever won was against the Bruins in 2004, and can any Bruin fan really say that it was the Hab's coaching that got them the win? Big Joe had broken ribs and when emotional spark Ted Donato dropped out, the wheels fell off.
Here's the deal- Claude Julien got fired by the Devils after racking up a whole hell of a lot of one goal wins with the Vezina trophy winner between the pipes. Tim Thomas is great, and Bruin fans love him, but the Bruin goaltending situation being what it is, we can't hope to lean on a goalie for 25 one-goal wins a year. And yes, I made that number up.
Sure, I made fun of big Lou when he fired Julien, but fellow AHF'er Ben defended the decision with a well reasoned critique of Julien's performance here.
If anyone (read: Peter Charelli) is thinking that hiring Claude Julien is a great idea, that's required reading. If you're lazy- here's a pretty compelling passage from his post, especially considering that any new Bruins coach is going to have to deal with a lot of young players:
the beauty of the Devils' system and of their (great) scouting department is that you can call up guys from Lowell to fill spots (when injuries to your top players happen.) Rod Pelley demonstrated that he is a Madden-in-training, matching up against some of the top players in the league, going only -3 in 9 games, and winning faceoffs with a vengeance. And David Clarkson knocked us all on our collective ass notching 4 points in his first 7 NHL games, including 2 goals on the power play – and that's to say nothing of his gritty physical play on both sides of the puck. The talent was there, even during the stretch of injuries. But the team just wasn’t clicking...so who do you blame? (Hint: the coach)
I'm not knocking Julien per se, but I'll tell you, I'm not endorsing him either. And to pick up Claude Julien seems to this Bruins fan like picking up a brand new Dave Lewis.
Pretty good on paper, but maybe not that great.
As a Bruins fan- it would have been nice to see Mad Mike behind the bench again. It might have been a train wreck, but that's no goddamn different than it's been- well, since the last time Milbury was coaching, and at least he woulda made it entertaining.
For one thing, if Mike Milbury was the coach, I guarantee you, Chara would fight.
Anybody remember this?
And even if the Bruins season went down the tubes, I'll tell you this: Mike Milbury would not go down without a fight. This is his last chance, and I hate to say it, but barring a miracle, Mike Milbury is finished in hockey. If he doesn't get a job, some Boston financial firm is going to be gaining a new "outreach guy." DuPont glossed over it a bit, but Milbury had some bad luck combined with some bad decisions, and sold the Islanders down the goddamn river, over and over and over again. Still, he's not getting hired in the front office, he's getting a shot to be a coach again. And this guy is a goddamn hockey man. If he got the job as the head coach of the Boston Bruins, he'd have to know it was his last chance, and he'd make the best of it. If he coaches the B's, win or lose, the NHL gains a real character.
The NHL broadcast booth has a distinct lack of character these days and not for nothing, but Mike Milbury once went over the glass and beat up a New York Ranger fan with his own shoe. But he's damaged goods, and needs a chance to redeem himself. Coaching the Bruins would be a perfect opportunity to do just that.
If Peter Charelli gives Mad Mike a chance, win or lose, we might- just might have ourselves a new Don Cherry on the horizon.
And that's a big win for hockey.
You heard it here first.