LAS VEGAS — You cover a coach for two full seasons, more than 170 games that count plus exhibitions and practices and off days, and you still don’t get to know much about what makes him tick. That’s especially the case when it comes to Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who’s as allergic to media attention on him as Superman is to Kryptonite.
But in the hours before it was announced he won the Jack Adams Trophy as coach of the year in the NHL, I got to at least pick Julien’s brain about his career influences for the first time.
“I don’t think there are too many people that aren’t going to idolize Scotty Bowman,” Julien said at The Palms Casino and Resort. “I had the opportunity to meet him early in my career and when I first got to Montreal he was one of the guys that came and talked to me. So it was a great. … Every coach I’ve had has left something with me. Whether it’s been Robbie Ftorek and Michel Bergeron, Doug Carpenter or even your junior coaches.
“So you pick up a little bit from everybody and as a player, the sort of things that you see that you really like. You kind of put that in the bank and say, ‘if ever one day (I’m a coach), this is something I like.’ And at the same time, you’re handled by coaches in a certain way and it’s something that when your turn comes you kind of remember those things.”
In his speech, Julien thanked the Bruins organization, he thanked his family and, of course, his staff. Julien is always quick to not only deflect credit for his success to his players but also to his assistants. Assistants Geoff Ward, Craig Ramsay, Doug Houda and Bob Essensa all pull their weight to make sure the Bruins have everything covered before every single game. The seeds of the staff’s success were sewn as soon as Julien was hired and then assembled his crew.
“I think it’s about the same thing as the players — it’s cohesion and how well we work together,” Julien said about why the staff works so well together. “I came in, gave everybody kind of a job description. I think that’s important so you don’t step on each other’s toes. At the same time, it gives you a challenge to excel in those areas. And I think our staff has really taken to that.
“Everybody really did a good job, even improving this year with the penalty kill, with Doug helping them out. And Geoff with the PP and the forwards and D. All that stuff put together, it’s great because we all have pride in what we’re doing and it’s about working together. When it comes time to make team decisions, as far as the team play, we’re all in it together.”
So they can all now share in the prestigious award bestowed upon Julien last night and keep working together to get the Bruins more hardware down the line.