FQG: Were Julien’s Bruins Gaming their Corsi?

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This week, the long-speculated dismissal of Boston Bruins’ coach Claude Julien finally happened. After 759 games, 419 wins, a Stanley Cup, and a Jack Adams trophy over his almost 10-year run in Boston, Julien is a free agent coach, free to mull options like the Vegas Golden Knights, the New York Islanders, and a slew of other head coach positions that are almost certain to be offered to him as the season goes on.

Every coach gets fired sometime. Julien, great as he was, wouldn’t escape this fate either.

But the fallout since his dismissal has been intriguing. The Bruins led the NHL in adjusted Corsi for percentage under Julien this season but sunk to 28th in the in team shooting percentage and 24th in team save percentage this week.

How can we reconcile these contrasting stats?

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Where NHL Coaching Changes Did, and Didn’t, Help Their Teams

If you or anyone you know have seen this man behind your player, contact the front office immediately.  (Photo by "Dan4th Nicholas", via Wikimedia Commons; altered by author)

Photo by “Dan4th Nicholas”, via Wikimedia Commons; altered by author

Michel Therrien has an interesting distinction in the research I’ve been doing about NHL coaching changes: he’s given me 4 instances where he and his replacement have coached 20+ games within the same season. He’s also replaced or been replaced in three of those instances by legit coaching talent – he replaced Alain Vigneault for the Montreal Canadiens in 2000-01, was replaced two years later by Claude Julien, and lastly was fired in favor of┬áDan Bylsma for Pittsburgh in 2008-09. What’s incredible about these three cases is that, in every single one of them, there was a drastic change in outcomes for the teams involved. Using 2pS%, or possession measured by two-period shots-for divided by two-period shots-for and against together, the numbers tell a story:
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