Breaking news from Montreal Canadiens insider Arpon Basu of The Athletic, Canadiens head coach Claude Julien has reportedly been rushed to a local Toronto hospital after suffering from chest pains. He's not expected to re-join the team for their Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers. Assistant coach Kirk Muller will fill in while Julien recovers.
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More details to come, but suffice it to say that our thoughts are with Julien and the entire Habs family right now.
For what it's worth, Sportsnet hockey insider Elliotte Friedman reports that Julien's condition is NOT COVID-19 related.
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The 60 year old Julien has no history of health issues and, at this point, it's unclear exactly what his condition might be. All we can do for the time being is hope that this is nothing too serious and that Julien is able to full recover in due time.
Meanwhile, Muller will have his work cut out for him in the Habs' first round playoff series against the Flyers. The Habs are down 1-0 in the series after a heartbreaking 2-1 loss last night in Game 1. Habs goaltender Carey Price was incredible and gave his team a legitimate shot of besting the top seed in the East last night, but the Habs simply couldn't muster the offense. As for Muller, this isn't his first time behind an NHL bench as head coach. The 54 year old former Habs player and Stanley Cup champion had a three year stint as the Carolina Hurricanes' head coach from 2011 2014. He's been an assistant/associate coach with the Habs since 2016 and was previously with the organization in the same role for five seasons in the mid 2000s.
Julien, of course, is one of the most accomplished coaches in NHL history and has a Stanley Cup championship on his resume thanks to some incredible coaching with the Boston Bruins. When the Bruins elected to move on from Julien in 2016 he was quickly snapped up and hired by Habs GM Marc Bergervin. In his first two seasons back as the Habs' bench boss, Julien was unable to deliver a playoff appearance... until now. Again, here's hoping that he's in good health and he can cheer on his team from afar while resting and recovering from this health scare.