For the second time in his coaching career, Claude Julien has been fired by the Montreal Canadiens, as the team dismissed both Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller on Wednesday.
The decision to move on from Julien came with the Canadiens in the midst of a three-game slide, and with the team sitting at 9-5-4 (22 points) and in fourth place in the North Division.
Julien’s second dismissal from Montreal comes just after his four-year anniversary of joining the Habs following his firing from the Bruins in Feb. 2017.
With Julien and Muller out of the picture, the team has promoted assistant coach Dominique Ducharme to interim head coach, and added Alex Burrows to their coaching staff.
“I would like to sincerely thank Claude and Kirk for their contributions to our team over the past five years during which we worked together. I have great respect for these two men whom I hold in high regard,” Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said in a statement. “In Dominique Ducharme, we see a very promising coach who will bring new life and new energy to our group.
“We feel that our team can achieve high standards and the time had come for a change.”
And not that it was much of a debate, Julien’s firing from the Canadiens probably makes the Bruins feel even better about their decision to move on when they did. While the 60-year-old’s second Montreal run comes to an end with the Canadiens posting a 129-113-34 record under his watch, Bruce Cassidy’s Bruins have hummed along to a 172-69-36 record since the move.
The Bruins also went 10-2-1 against the Canadiens during Julien’s Montreal sequence.
With the league temporarily realigned due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Boston and Montreal will not face each other during the NHL’s 56-game division-only regular season schedule.