MONTREAL — Sheldon Souray is attending the NHL All-Star Game for the third time in his NHL career.
The Edmonton Oilers blueliner is back in Montreal, where he first came to prominence over the course of six seasons after a trade from New Jersey, for the 2009 edition of the game scheduled for Sunday. During part of his time with the Habs, current Boston Bruins and Eastern Conference All-Star head coach Claude Julien was the Montreal bench boss. And he left his mark on Souray.
“Claude was awesome. I liked him a lot,” Souray said today during the Western Conference All-Stars’ media availability. “He was a fair guy. One thing I can say about him, there was no gray area – it was black and white and he made things simple.
“And he expected a certain level of professionalism and performance and if you gave it, you were good with him. If you (didn’t), you weren’t going to be in the line-up … he was a guy who gave you the chance, and if you took the chance you were OK with him.”
In Boston, Julien’s had a hand in developing a number of young defenseman. Where Dennis Wideman and Matt Hunwick are now in their careers is where Souray was back when he was taking his orders from Julien.
“He was very communicative. … As a young player, as a defenseman, where you’re going to make mistakes, he lived with those mistakes as long as you made the effort,” Souray said. “But he told you what he wanted, and if you did it, you were good. … Look at the guys he’s helped out.”
So it’s no surprise to Souray that Julien, fired by Montreal in Jan. 2006, has found so much success since his departure from the Habs’ bench.
“As soon as he got fired here, I was probably the first one to call him and tell him, ‘See you soon.’”
Now they’ll see each other one more time, in an All-Star setting.