As the Boston Bruins seem destined to miss the playoffs for the third straight year, the team fired head coach Claude Julien Tuesday morning.

Bruins Fire Coach Claude Julien

Julien will be replaced by one of his assistants, Bruce Cassidy, on an interim basis.

The Bruins made the announcement at approximately 8 am, in a written statement attributed to general manager Don Sweeney. Julien, one of the NHL’s most respected coaches, was hired in Boston in 2007, and led the franchise to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011, the Bruins’ first title since the Bobby Orr days of 1972.

Julien’s firing has been a source of constant speculation this season, after two years of the Bruins narrowly missing the playoffs, amid an ongoing changeover of roster personnel and the dismissal of then-GM Peter Chiarelli before last season.

Chiarelli, who became Boston’s GM in 2006, hired Julien, a former coach of the Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils, after first hiring Dave Lewis as coach to lead a team that only recently had traded Joe Thornton as its would-be franchise center.

With a 26-23-6 record and on the outside of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference, the Bruins will seek to avoid yet another failed playoff bid.

Many fans and reporters took to Twitter on Tuesday to decry the extremely poor timing of the team’s decision to fire Julien, which people noted comes the same day as the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl victory parade in Boston, among other reasons for the terrible timing. The Patriots won the Super Bowl on Sunday in Houston.

Clearly, fans and the media alike did not hold back on their criticisms of the team.

Perhaps the main reason for the outrage over the timing of the decision is the fact that Julien finished his career as the Bruins’ all-time coaching wins (419) leader. He compiled a 419-246-94 record and .614 winning percentage in 759 games behind the team’s bench. The Bruins also reached the playoffs in seven of his nine seasons, and he owns the club career coaching record with 57 postseason victories, including the Cup-clinching win in Game 7 of the 2011 finals against the Vancouver Canucks.

Julien is thought to have two years left on his contract, at upward of $3 million a year, and he will surely be pursued aggressively by other teams.

Like Julien, Cassidy, 51, was a career minor-league defenseman who was raised in the Ottawa area and first began coaching 20 years ago by heading the Jacksonville Lizard Kings of the ECHL.

Known by many as “Butch,” he was promoted to Julien’s assistant coaching staff this season after five years as head coach of Boston’s AHL affiliate in Providence. Cassidy was head coach of the Washington Capitals from 2002-04, where he helped lead the Caps to a 39-29-8-6 record and a postseason berth in his first season as an NHL coach.

Following his dismissal in Washington, he served as an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks for the 2005-06 season. The Bruins’ press release did not state whether the team will hire another assistant now that Cassidy has been promoted.

NEWARK, NJ – JANUARY 08: Claude Julien of the Boston Bruins instructs his team during the second period against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on January 8, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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