WILMINGTON, Mass. — Just because the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens are mortal enemies doesn’t mean there isn’t room for some empathy between members of both organizations.
Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who is bilingual but was still once fired as coach of the Habs, can see both sides of the situation involving Randy Cunneyworth and the issue of him not speaking French. Cunneyworth was hired last month as interim head coach after the firing of Jacques Martin.
Montreal visits Boston tomorrow night.
“I feel for him a little bit because he’s been picked on for not being able to speak the language. And yet at the same time, I think the most important thing right now for him is to right the ship in Montreal,” said Julien after Bruins practice today at TD Garden. “I think the people, knowing them over there, will certainly appreciate him making an effort to either learn the language and do that. … And what people have to realize too, it’s important for them over there to have somebody that can communicate. And I’m not saying that that’s not Randy. If he makes an effort, they’re open to that.
“When you look at the province, and you look at the followers, a lot of it is about French. And media-wise, as you guys know, if I came here and couldn’t speak English, it’d certainly make your job pretty hard. So you’ve just got to reverse it a little bit. And if I had to speak French and somebody had to translate everything, it’s tough for you guys to sell the product. So you’ve got to understand both sides of it. But for Randy, I’ve known him for a while. If he says he’s going to learn the language, he will. I think they’re going to be open to that and all he’s got to do right now is right the ship for them.”
In any language, Julien is always diplomatic in matters like this. The most important thing for the Bruins is to make sure that ship righting doesn’t start tomorrow night at the TD Garden.