Claude Julien Recalls Getting Call From Barack Obama With Assist From Chicago Coach Joel Quenneville


Sometimes only another person who's been in a particular situation can fully understand your plight.

Having coached the last two teams to win the Stanley Cup, Bruins bench boss Claude Julien and Chicago counterpart Joel Quenneville can each relate to the issues that come with winning a championship. Things like dealing with the dreaded Stanley Cup hangover, playing with the bull's-eye on your back and, of course, scrambling to get to a phone in time to take a congratulatory call from the President.

As his club prepared to take on Quenneville's Blackhawks on Saturday night in Chicago, Julien recalled the encounter at this year's draft in Minnesota that left him needing a bit of help from Quenneville to get his chance to chat with President Barack Obama.

"There's guys that you want to talk to and certainly [Quenneville] expressed to me what he went through last year, but most of all on that car ride back it was nice of him to offer me a lift," Julien told reporters after Friday's practice in Chicago. "I was trying to get back to the hotel because President Obama was going to call me and I was running late. [Quenneville] got [that call] the year before so he was pretty good about it. He said, 'Hop in with us and we'll give you a ride back.'"

The two coaches eventually talked about what to expect as a reigning champion, but that day Quenneville's greatest service was simply providing transportation.

"That was at that point I think the thing I was most nervous about was about missing [the president's] call," Julien said. "But Joel's been great. I think we go back many years together."

The Bruins have opened the season a disappointing 1-3-0 as they struggle to shake off the Stanley Cup hangover, a phenomenon that also helped Chicago get off to a slow start last season.
"I know that the team here went through a little bit or a lot of what we're going through right now," Julien said. "It's certainly for a lot of people it seems unavoidable, but for us, we don't want to be accepting that. If anything we'd like to be the exception to the rule and try to battle ourselves out of it.

"That's the biggest challenge," Julien continued. "I think right now our mental state is probably what's hurting us the most right now. It just doesn't seem to be clicking right now, whether it's the transition game or the forecheck. But I think the intention and the will is there. We've just got to find a way to push ourselves past that zone and find our game again."

Julien also noted that there are differences between the Bruins' situation and what Chicago faced last year. Boston has nearly its entire roster back from their Cup run, while the Blackhawks were forced to part ways with nearly half of their lineup due to cap issues.

"For Joel last year, probably half of his team was going through that [hangover] and the other half he was trying to get them used to playing in his system, so there was probably a bigger challenge there, no doubt," Julien said.

So far, Quenneville's advice this summer hasn't helped Julien navigate his charges around the effects of the hangover, but did he at least deliver Julien back to his hotel in time to talk to the President? 

"[The president] called me," Julien said. "At that point I must have been pretty important. I made it back on time and thanks to Joel for that."

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