BOSTON — The NHL today officially announced what thebruinsblog.net already told you a week ago — Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien will be the head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Star team in Montreal Jan. 25.
The All-Star coaches are selected from the teams in each conference with the best points percentage. San Jose’s Todd McLellan will be the coach for the West.
Prior to the official announcement, Julien had refused to comment on the inevitable All-Star berth. Today he couldn’t avoid reacting to the honor.
“I think it’s a great honor obviously,” Julien said before the game today at TD Banknorth Garden. “Those kind of things, honestly, it’s a great honor but it’s caused by the people around you. It’s the players. The head coach always gets the credit, yet his assistant coaches around him do an unbelievable job. And they make him look good as well. I think going there and representing our team is actually the right term – because it’s about everybody around me that I got the opportunity go to that game.”
The assistant coach slot on Julien’s staff will be filled by either Montreal’s Guy Carbonneau or Washington’s Bruce Boudreau, whose teams face one another tonight. The winner earns the berth. Either way, it’s hard to imagine the NHL not recognizing Carbonneau, of the host Canadiens, in some way.
And in some way it’ll be a homecoming for Julien, who started his NHL coaching career in Montreal before he was fired in the winter of 2006.
“I know for a fact that I left there on good terms with everybody and whether it was the organization, the media, everything else, it was just one of those situations where you walk away from one job and jump into another one,” Julien said.
Detroit’s Mike Babcock, McLellan’s former boss with the Red Wings, will be the Western Conference assistant coach.