BOSTON (CBS) — Head coach Claude Julien has been around the block a few times in the historic rivalry between the Bruins and the Canadiens, and the man knows the proper way to play the game.
Julien, who coached the Canadiens from 2003-06 and has been the Bruins’ bench boss since 2007, was asked to sum up his feelings heading into what should be another memorable playoff battle between the two Original Six franchises.
His response was right on.
“Yeah, it is [intense]. I hated Boston when I was in Montreal, and now I hate Montreal because I’m in Boston,” Julien said with a smile.
If Julien’s being completely honest, it’s likely that he hates Montreal a wee bit more than he ever hated Boston, considering the Habs fired him in January 2006, after he compiled a 72-62-10-15 record as head coach. In his lone full season as head coach, he led the Canadiens back from a 3-1 hole against the favored Bruins to win the first-round series in seven games. Yet in January 2006, he was fired.
With the Bruins, he lost his first playoff series to his former employer in 2008, but he led the B’s to a sweep over Montreal in 2009 and a seven-game series win in 2011, after which the Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Last December, Julien said of Montreal, “I don’t like them and I really don’t like them on that side because I’m a Boston Bruin.” On Tuesday, he took that strong dislike to the next level.
“It’s a good rivalry,” Julien said. “It is a lot of fun. 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, making sure the rivalry is what it is but that your game still remains a game that is under control. I think that is going to be the big challenge for both teams in this series here.”
Let the hatred begin.
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