Thursday, January 5, 2017

Does Claude Julien Need to Go?

When I was a kid, I remember seeing a book in the bookstore. The title was “Is Elivs Alive?”. I went over to check it out. I was really hoping that the author had the ability to publish a book like that where you opened it to see one sentence. “No, you dumbass.” Followed by 200 blank pages.

That’s what I want to do with this post.

“No, you dumbass.”

Now, in this case, the “dumbass” might be a bit harsh. Thinking Julien needs to go doesn’t reflect on you the way some other “opinions” might. But, it’s certainly not one I agree with.

But, you see it during almost every game. “The team is flat!” “Julien doesn’t have them ready to play!”

I don’t really understand it.

For the sake of argument, let’s pretend it’s the coach’s job to get his players “ready to play.” Let’s pretend that professional athletes paid millions of dollars aren’t supposed to get themselves ready. Let’s pretend it’s all up to Claude to get the team to get off to a fast start.

How, exactly, is he supposed to do that?

Is it with the fiery locker room speech? “Win one for the Gipper” and all that? Doesn’t that a little stale after, say, 20 times? And even if it doesn’t, when is that speech given? In the locker room before warm-ups? When they then have all kinds of time to themselves without a coach to fire them up? On the bench just before the game? Even then, would that work? If the coach gets them all pumped up into a lather and sends them out onto the ice, they don’t drop the puck right away. Right? The players circle around in their positions for a bit. Wait for everyone to get ready. Then, wait some more. So, it’s on the player to keep whatever energy he had after he left the bench, and carry it through face-off. The coach doesn’t do that. 

Or, does everyone mean “tactically ready” to play? Does Julies not give them the plays they need to succeed? But, most of the complaining I see is about the start of games. Does he forget how to draw plays for the first two minutes, but then remember halfway through the period?

Or, maybe it’s not Claude’s fault?

For some of this, I blame the Patriots and their “Do Your Job” mentality. They have managed to convince Boston fans that all it takes to win if for everyone to do what they need to do. That sounds all fine and dandy, as long as you can do what you’re supposed to do. Sure, the play may say I block the linebacker to spring the running back for a big gain. But, if the linebacker outweighs me by 100 pounds, me “doing my job” just isn’t going to happen. I’m not lazy. I’m not unprepared. The coach got me ready to play. Things are just hard to do sometimes.

So, isn’t it possible that the Bruins are ready to play? They have all the necessary plays. They know what to do, and they have the energy level to do it. But, scoring goals is hard. That it’s harder to make plays when someone else is trying to stop you. That sometimes you just fail at things. Sometimes your best player doesn’t score a goal in every game. Sometimes a guy falls down. Sometime you don’t win the game.

No matter how “ready” you are.

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