Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien hospitalized for chest discomfort, will miss the series
MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien,60, was rushed to hospital after suffering from chest discomfort following Wednesday night's game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
General Manager Marc Bergevin announced the news Thursday afternoon.
"Claude felt chest pains during the night," said Bergevin. "We immediately consulted our doctors and it was agreed to quickly transfer him to the hospital by ambulance."
Julien will not be back behind the Habs bench before the end of this series, and as a result assistant coach Kirk Muller will be called upon to take on this role.
"We don't expect him to be back in this series against the Flyers," said Bergevin. "Kirk (Muller), Dominique (Ducharme) and Luke (Richardson) will share the responsibility."
Bergevin said Julien spoke to his wife Thursday morning, and she likely won't travel to Toronto.
"There was some positive news (from team doctor David Mulder) so hopefully he can be released soon and go back home," said Bergevin.
Captain Shea Weber said Bergevin told him the news at breakfast, and the general manager met with the players at the practice rink. Weber said the plan remains the same and he is confident the Habs' assistant coaches will be able to transition seamlessly to the bigger task.
"The other coaches know what our system is, they put all this plan in place as well, and they're going to do a good job leading us that way," said Weber. "My role's not going to change much. We're going to keep going and accomplish the things we want to do."
Weber added that the team now has extra motivation to beat the Flyers for their coach.
"In these situations there's obviously a little bit of an emotional factor and a shock factor," said Weber. "That's something that for sure we can draw on. We were motivated in the first place, but this can draw up a little bit more of that."
Flyers coach Alain Vigneault is a longtime friend of Julien and looked shaken about 20 minutes after he heard the news.
"A lot of things go through your mind, and especially I've known Claude since I've been 20 and we've been through different things without a doubt in our relationship," Vigneault said. "Right now I want to get this press conference done to go see if I can't reach out to (Bergevin) and find out the latest development."
The Canadiens, the lowest-seeded team in the NHL's post-season, upset the Pittsburgh Penguins in four games in the qualifying round.
A native of Blind River, Ont., Julien has been an NHL head coach since 2002 when he began his first run as coach of the Canadiens.
Julien guided the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 2011. He returned to coach Montreal midway through the 2016-17 season.
- With files from The Canadian Press
This breaking news story will be updated.