MONTREAL — Never one to be too sentimental — in public at least — Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien this morning admitted he was reflecting on his past when he returned to the Montreal Canadiens’ Bell Centre dressing room, which is doubling as the Eastern Conference All-Stars’ locker room during All-Star weekend.
“It’s the first time I’ve walked back in this room since I left Montreal,” said Julien, the Eastern Conference All-Star head coach, after he and assistant Guy Carbonneau of the hometown Canadiens addressed the media. “Obviously, it hasn’t changed that much. When you haven’t been here for four or five years and you start looking around, it brings back memories – there’s no doubt about that. You certainly turn the page, but that doesn’t mean that when you come back you don’t look back at things that happen here.”
A lot has been made of the rivalry that’s been reborn between the Bruins and the Habs, and in particular a rivalry within the rivarly between the two bench bosses. As expected, both men extinguished the notion that there’s any tension despite some incidents with shouting between the benches and verbal digs taken through the media.
“Speaking for myself, I think we have to leave the rivalry where it should be left – and that’s during the regular season. You know we both have a job to do and we do it to the best of our abilities,” Julien said. “And I think the rivalry that has been created between the two teams has been nothing but great for hockey. Having said that, if we’re here together, we’re both people that are extremely proud of our job and we’re really both competitors, that we’re able to put that aside and work together with no issues. I’d known Guy even before he became a coach here, so it’s not like the first time we’ve chatted together. I think it’s been blown out of proportion, to say the least.”
Added Carbonneau: “I’d say the same thing. It’s an interesting thing. We’re both competitors. I think during the game sometimes things happen, things are said. But I’ve done that as a player. I have no problem going out after a game and having a beer with a player. So this weekend’s going to be great.”
And Habs fans cab rest easy, Julien has no plans to wear out Montreal’s best players, including Mike Komisarek and Andrei Markov.
“We don’t play them for another week, so they’d have time to recover anyway,” Julien said.