Claude Julien planned to take some time off from coaching, but during that planned step away from the rink, he received a call he couldn’t refuse.
The former Bruins coach was hired again by the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, one week after he was fired in Boston. That dismissal came just a few days before he and his wife planned to get some rest and relaxation in Barnard, Vt., during what was the Bruins’ in-season bye week.
No longer the Bruins coach and with plenty of newfound time on his hands, Julien went to Vermont anyway for the start of what he figured would be a brief hiatus from coaching. And that’s when the Habs came calling.
“I said that very honestly when I was let go by the Bruins I really felt like I should maybe sit back and let the season finish,” Julien said Wednesday in an introductory conference call with the Montreal media. “That was my initial thought … unless something comes along I can’t turn down, that’s what I’d be looking for. Obviously, it happened quickly.”
Julien and Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin started to hammer out the details, eventually agreeing on a deal that will not only put Julien behind the Montreal bench for the rest of this season but also for the next five seasons, as the team then axed coach Michel Therrien.
“Had it not been an ideal situation,” Julien explained, “I think I would have refused or not taken it. But as I mentioned earlier, a great organization, great people, a great team … And everybody says they’re some of the best fans and everyone gets up to play Montreal.”
Thumbnail photo via Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports Images