Julien/By S. Bradley

Bruins head coach Claude Julien obviously knew he’d be granting his team this morning off when he spoke via phone with Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette yesterday.

He obviously also felt more comfortable expanding upon his thoughts about whether the Canadiens will seek revenge on Zdeno Chara tonight when they visit TD Garden for a game scheduled for 7 p.m.

At first Julien gave Stubbs the same answer he offered after yesterday’s practice to the assembled media: you have to ask the Habs if they’re going to try for retribution.

But then he went on to point out to Stubbs that the Bruins have been in Montreal’s place in the past and handled themselves differently.

Julien told Stubbs:

“No one wants to see a player hurt. We have (concussed Marc) Savard now who might be done for his career. Nobody wants to see that on your team or another team. Certainly (Pacioretty’s injury) was unfortunate. I said it from the day it happened – rivalry or not, you never wish that on anybody.

“You’re asking me if (retribution) is going to come and I’ll tell you, well, it’s going to come from the other side. You’ll have to ask them that question. I don’t think that’s the way they handle things, I’d be very surprised.

“The last hit Savard took from Matt Hunwick (Jan. 22) in Colorado was deemed a clean check and it was. We didn’t turn around and start chasing Hunwick down the ice. Those kind of injuries happen.

“If the Canadiens see things differently, I guess that’s their way of seeing things and they can deal with it the way they want.”

Now the first humorous scenario in your head right now has to be of the Bruins, who took months to replace Hunwick’s speed after trading him, trying to catch the player they dealt away whose only redeeming attribute in his game is his skating.

But on a serious note, Julien has a point. And I’d suspect the Habs will take a similar tact. So far, the quotes out of their locker room have been all about hockey and not revenge.

“If you ask Patch, the biggest thing right now is for us to win,” Canadiens forward Ryan White told the Canadian Press about Pacioretty yesterday. “We’ve given ourselves an opportunity to catch these guys and tomorrow’s a big four-point night.”

TSN writer Darren Dreger presented another reason there won’t be any dirty tricks tonight, when he wrote:

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman met with Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier last week in Florida and made it clear to both that Thursday’s game between Montreal and Boston had better not result in a gong show.

When it comes down to it, we’re probably going to witness a playoff hockey game three weeks early tonight. There might be an early 1-on-1 fisticuff, but then it’ll just be high-paced, hard-hitting rivalry hockey. That’s the way it should be.