BOSTON – The Boston Bruins kept quiet Wednesday following a report that Claude Julien would be named their head coach on Thursday.

The job has been vacant less than a week since Dave Lewis was relieved of his duties and offered another position within the organization. The Bruins called a news conference for Thursday morning, and Canadian Press reported that Julien would be named coach.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, who hired Lewis less than a year ago, did not respond to an e-mail or phone call seeking comment. Team spokesman Matt Chmura also did not return a phone call.

On Tuesday, TSN, a Canadian sports television network, reported that Chiarelli had decided on Julien, who was fired as coach of the New Jersey Devils this year with three games left in their regular season. The Devils were 47-24-8 and in first place in the Atlantic Division in their first season under Julien, 47.

He also led the Montreal Canadiens to the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2004 and was fired midway through the 2005-06 season with a 19-16-6 record.

The Bruins have had 16 coaches in the past 30 years and none has served more than three seasons. Harry Sinden held the job twice. Lewis, a former assistant and head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, took over when Chiarelli, shortly after being hired, fired Mike Sullivan as coach last June.

Lewis led the Bruins to a 35-41-6 record in his only season. He was let go more than two months after they missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

On Monday, Chiarelli said there was one clear favorite on his list of four candidates. A possible hitch developed earlier Monday when the Ottawa coaching job became available with the firing of general manager John Muckler ands his replacement by coach Bryan Murray, who led the Senators to the Stanley Cup finals where they lost to Anaheim.

Asked if that might affect his hiring of a new coach, Chiarelli said, “that could be the case.” Julien lives in a suburb of Ottawa. Chiarelli was assistant general manager of the Senators before coming to the Bruins.

He said Monday he wants a tougher team that will fight for pucks along the boards and a coach who will hold the players accountable if they don’t.


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