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What you need to know about COVID-19: September 18, 2020
TORONTO — Suddenly, whether the Canadiens win or lose their playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers doesn’t seem so important.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin announced during a video conference Thursday afternoon that head coach Claude Julien was taken to hospital by ambulance late Wednesday night after suffering from chest pains following his team’s 2-1 loss to the Flyers in Game 1 of their best-of-seven first-round series.
“A little shock and concerned,” Bergevin said when asked about his reaction to the news. “But after talking to Dr. (David) Mulder (the team physician) there is some good news early this afternoon. So moving forward, I met with the coaches this morning. I have faith in them.”
Bergevin added that Julien’s situation has nothing to do with COVID-19.
“He’s in good hands at the hospital here and everything should be fine and we hope for the best,” the GM said. “There was some positive news, so hopefully he could be ready shortly and go back home.”
Bergevin doesn’t expect Julien to return behind the bench for the duration of this playoff series with Game 2 slated for Friday afternoon at the Scotiabank Arena (3 p.m., CBC, SN, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio). Associate coach Kirk Muller will take over the head-coaching duties with help from assistants Dominique Ducharme and Luke Richardson.
“We beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, it’s not the coaches that beat them, it’s the players, and we have the same group,” Bergevin said about the Canadiens’ qualifying-round victory. “I thought last night our game, without going into details, we were a little maybe nervous in the first 20. But after that, I felt our team was coming and we played hard, we competed hard, and I expect the same thing tomorrow. We shocked a lot of people in the first series and I expect them to raise to the occasion and keep on going.”
Said captain Shea Weber: “I think the other coaches, they know what our system is, they’ve put all this plan in place as well and they’re going to do a good job leading us that way. I think that my role is not really going to change much. We’ve still got to compete the same way we’ve been going and accomplish the same things we’re trying to do. So I don’t think it’s going to change a whole lot that way.
“I think in these situations there’s always a little bit of an emotional factor and, kind of like Marc said, a shock factor, obviously,” Weber added. “Everybody learned about this this morning. The biggest concern is, obviously, his health and we want to make sure he’s healthy first. But I think that that’s something that for sure we can draw on and use that … we were motivated in the first place, but this could just draw up a little bit more, even more out of that.”
Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault and Julien have a long history together. They were teammates — both defencemen — for two seasons in the early 1980s with the CHL’s Salt Lake Golden Eagles.
“There’s no doubt when I found out about it 20-somewhat minutes ago a lot of things go through your mind,” Vigneault said during a video conference Thursday afternoon. “Especially, I’ve known Claude since I’ve been 20 and we’ve been through different things, without a doubt, in our relationship. So right now I want to get this press conference done to go see if I can reach out to maybe Berg to find out the latest development.”
Julien turned 60 on April 23 and is in his second stint as head coach of the Canadiens after replacing Michel Therrien on Feb. 14, 2017. He has been a head coach in the NHL for 18 seasons and won the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011.
Rick Green was an assistant coach under Julien during his first stint behind the Canadiens bench.
When asked what he admires most about Julien as a coach, Green said: “His organization. I think that everybody on his staff knows what their job is. Everybody is prepared each and every day as far as what needs to be done so you can give yourself a chance to win. So I would say being organized and being the kind of guy that’s on top of a lot of details in every part of the game on and off the ice.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020