It had been years in the making, but Boston Bruins President Cam Neely has finally okayed the firing of head coach Claude Julien, whom he inherited from previous regimes; indeed, Julien had been head coach of the Bruins since June 2007, whereas Hall Of Famer and former star power forward Neely returned to the organization in a front office capacity first as VP in September 2007, then as President in 2010.
In the meantime, Julien had coached the team to a Stanley Cup (2011), another Final (2013) and a Presidents Trophy (2013-14), earning the Jack Adams Trophy (2008-09) in his tenure as well, which he concluded as the franchise's winningest head coach. He had missed the postseason these past two years and was outside the playoff picture as of his firing as well.
Neely, on the other hand, has fired GM Peter Chiarelli and hired Don Sweeney to replace him; the next coaching nomination could spell the end for either or both of these Bruins alumni.
Neely had also been a contested inclusion in the Hall Of Fame, having never won a major award - the only hardware he owns from his playing days is a Masterton for his comeback season in 1993-94 - nor participated in noteworthy international competitions.
He had three 50-goal seasons in the high-scoring 1980s, and retired short of the point-per-game mark (395 goals, 299 assists and 694 points in 726 games, plus another 57-32-89 in 92 playoff games, reaching the Final twice and losing to the Edmonton Oilers both times).
Was he good? Undoubtedly. Great? That's debatable. In an era that featured most of the record-setting seasons of all time, he stands behind contemporaries Brett Hull, Jari Kurri, Mike Bossy, Pavel Bure, Jaromir Jagr, Teemu Selanne and Sergei Makarov for sure. Alex Kovalev - a 1000-point man and Stanley Cup winner of whom Mario Lemieux once said had the "greatest hands (he'd) ever seen" - as well.
At best, he's equal to Dino Ciccarelli, Alexander Mogilny, Steve Larmer, Owen Nolan and Theo Fleury, which means slightly superior to Claude Lemieux, Mike Gartner, Brian Bellows, Glenn Anderson and Brendan Shanahan (in that order, probably).
Because he came before the likes of Keith Tkachuk, Éric Dazé, Tony Amonte and Todd Bertuzzi, I will gladly slot him ahead of them. Later, however, Jarome Iginla, was much more dominating at his position (right wing), as was Daniel Alfredsson.
Here he is wearing the Bs' classic 1980s black (away) uniform with the alternate captain's "A" on card #WM-CN from Upper Deck's 2010-11 SPX set and Winning Materials sub-set: