MONTREAL — In truth, had his shootout line-up been different in any way, Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who coached the Eastern Conference team in tonight’s 2009 NHL All-Star Game at Bell Centre, might not have been allowed to leave the building alive.
Even more than the 21,273 announced in attendance already had the batting order — Tampa Bay superstar and Montreal native Vinny Lecavalier, Canadiens sniper Alexei Kovalev, reigning league MVP Alexander Ovechkin — already written out. Julien had that same order worked out too, but he joked that the result depended on whether he would take the credit.
“We talked before the game and I told (assistant) Guy (Carbonneau), if we win, I put the lines together,” Julien said of his chat with the Montreal head coach. “If we lose, it was your job. And it was the same thing with the shootout. I picked them, and not Guy, but if we would have lost, it would have been Guy’s picks.”
Those picks didn’t work out perfect, as only Kovalev and Ovechkin scored. But they were effective enough for a 2-0 victory in the shootout and a 12-11 win in the game, whichcapped a great weekend for the Bruins’ bench boss.
“You can talk to any player, talk to any coaches. The way (All-Star weekend) has been organized by (the Canadiens) and the Montreal fans, and the way they’ve reacted to all this has just made this whole weekend outstanding. I know from the personal side of it, our players really enjoyed it. They had a great weekend. They represented us extremely well. And, again, I think this whole weekend has been a huge success.”