BOSTON — There once was a time where Bruins coach Claude Julien couldn’t stand the team that now signs his paycheck.
It might be easy to forget given how much success Julien has had behind the Boston bench that he once served as the Montreal Canadiens’ head coach. Julien spent parts of three seasons with the Habs where he got a real good look at the historic Bruins-Canadiens rivalry. That run included a seven-game playoff win over the B’s in 2004.
He grew to hate the Bruins then, and now that he’s on the other side of the rivalry, he’s obviously singing a different tune.
“I hated Boston when I was in Montreal, and now I hate Montreal because I’m in Boston,” Juilen said after his team’s practice Tuesday.
Julien has seen plenty of the Habs since coming to Boston in 2007. Whenever the Bruins and Canadiens begin their 34th playoff series at some point later this week, it will mark the fourth time the two teams have squared off in the postseason since Julien took over. Of course, that doesn’t count the multiple regular-season battles the longtime rivals have fought.
“It’s a good rivalry,” Julien added. “I think it always has been a good rivalry. It’s a lot of fun and I think the players get up for these games. As a coach, you don’t have to do much of a pep talk when it comes to playing each other. It’s more about controlled emotions. The rivalry is what it is, but that your game still remains a game that’s under control. I think that’s going to be the big challenge for everyone in this series.”
The Bruins have had a good deal of success against Montreal with Julien leading the charge. The eighth-seeded Bruins lost to the top-seeded Canadiens in the first round in 2008, but the B’s have won the two most recent series with the Habs in 2009 and 2011.