Julien works to keep Canadians ready during NHL season break


He may not be behind the Montreal Canadiens bench these days, but coach Claude Julien continues to look for ways to improve his team.

Julien takes advantage of this unexpected break in the NHL season to “try to stay up to date with what is going on”. He admits he has no idea what the rest of this season is going to hold up after the NHL broke the season on March 12 due to concerns about the coronavirus. He is therefore preparing for all possibilities.

The Canadians are 31-31-9, 10 points behind the Carolina Hurricanes and the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference joker race.

“I do a little bit of everything to stay on top of our team, to stay on top of our game,” he said. “I chatted with a few players. This is how I stay in touch with things right now. I don’t just want to totally disengage from it. If I do, I will not be prepared if at some point, be it May, June, July, I don’t know when, they decide to come back and end the season or prepare to do something different.

“I have to be ready. What we are doing right now as staff continues to work on our team game. As coaches, we watch the video, watching different things that we need to watch. We keep going to try to improve our team and at the same time keep ourselves mentally informed about what’s going on.

“I don’t want to jostle myself. I want to be ready, so I told our staff to make sure that we stay sharp, that we continue to watch the video, that we continue to attack the areas we talked about attacking. “Us better. “

Julien said he is mainly preparing for a comeback this season. If this does not happen, he will change his goal to prepare his team for 2020-2021.

“I’m not going to think too much about next season until they tell us that this season is over and over,” he said. “I really need to have this approach. Throughout the year, we look at different scenarios. We are not only looking at the present but the future. “

Julien coached Hamilton, then an affiliate of the American Hockey League of Canadians, in 2001 when the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States changed the world landscape. He coached the Boston Bruins in 2013 when the city’s historic marathon was fatally bombed. Now he is with Canadians during the global coronavirus pandemic.

“It is very different,” he said. “It is not to minimize other things, these are huge events. They changed the world, but now we’re talking about a spreading virus. It’s not a kind of thing when you try to attract people who create these situations. We’re talking about a virus here. There are many unknowns, many question marks. “

Julien has not yet reached out to a large group of his players, saying that he understands the huge adjustment faced by everyone, including those with young families.

“There are a lot of new things to digest for everyone right now,” he said. “My priority has been:” Take care of yourself first of all because if you don’t … I want to see you again when we start. “

“I come from where the League comes [with the pause]. There is no doubt that people will starve to sport at some point. [but] I will respect and support any decision they make. At the end of the day, I have to be ready for any scenario proposed by the NHL. They have a hard job ahead of them trying to understand this because it changes every day. ”


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