Team Canada clearly views Claude Julien highly, and with NHL personnel not taking part in the Olympics, it’ll be the ex-Montreal Canadiens boss behind the bench in Beijing.
Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper was tabbed to coach the Canadiens in the tournament, but when the NHL backed out, it left Canada with a vacancy to fill. According to NHL Insider John Shannon, it’ll be Julien taking over.
Julien coached Team Canada in the Channel One Cup, and was supposed to coach them in the Spengler Cup later this month before they elected to back out over COVID-19 concerns.
The 61-year-old was fired by the Canadiens in February. He started his head coaching career in Montreal, then went to New Jersey before spending his most successful years with the Boston Bruins, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2011 and made it to one more in 2013.
If Julien is indeed the one coaching, it’s possible the Canadiens roll with some of the same players from their Channel One Cup team, which was largely comprised of veteran players who are playing outside the United States, like Jason Demers. That’s still to be determined though, and likely won’t be figured out for at least a few more weeks.