Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien was rushed to hospital Wednesday night after Game One of his team’s series against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Julien was suffering chest pains and underwent tests Thursday.
The team confirmed it was not COVID-19-related.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin stated that Kirk Muller will take over as head coach in Julien’s absence. Julien is being kept under observation and is not expected to return to the bench during this series.
“The chances he returns for this series are very minimal,” Bergevin said. “But outside of that, it’s a possibility, even with the rules regarding COVID. There’s a chance he’ll return with our team.”
Bergevin held a team meeting after the announcement of Julien’s hospitalization. Captain Shea Weber said he was told at practice.
There is naturally a lot of protocol to sift through given the bubble situation. Julien’s health is paramount, but the team has to consider quarantines and recovery options going forward.
Bergevin said that Julien might return home, depending on the outlook, but there’s also a possibility he returns to the team hotel.
“The other coaches know what our system is, they’ve put all this plan in place as well,” said Weber. “They’re going to do a good job leading us that way. We still have to compete the same way we’ve been going and accomplish the same things we’re trying to do. The biggest concern is obviously his health. We want to make sure he’s healthy first. That’s something for sure we can draw on and use that…we were motivated in the first place, but this could just draw a little bit more out of that.”
Julien is in his fourth season in his second stint of coaching with the Habs. He has 17 seasons as an NHL coach under his belt, including runs with Montreal, New Jersey, and Boston. He currently sits 13th in league history in wins and won the Jack Adams Award in 2009.
Muller is in his fourth season as an associate with the Canadiens. He served as an assistant coach with Montreal from 2006 to 2011 and coached parts of three seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.