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Report: Canadiens gave Claude Julien $25 million contract to coach their team

02.15.17 at 7:31 pm ET
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The Canadiens signed Claude Julien to a five-year contract. (Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports)

The Canadiens signed Claude Julien to a five-year contract. (Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports)

The Atlantic-leading Canadiens not only hired Claude Julien to coach their team, but they backed up the Brinks truck to make it happen.

Granted permission to talk with the recently fired Bruins coach of 10 years on Sunday, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin quickly fired Michel Therrien and replaced him with Julien on Tuesday, and awarded the 56-year-old an additional five-year contract worth a reported $25 million (which begins next year) to make it happen.

“I’m convinced that in hiring Claude, we are getting one of the best coaches in the NHL,” Bergevin said. “In my estimation, he’s the best man to reach our goal. Claude has proven his worth.”

Not only does that contract take the Bruins off the hook for Julien’s reported $3 million contract next season, but actually gives the 2009 Jack Adams winner a raise from his salary with the Bruins and moves him closer to the top of the league’s highest-paid coaches behind Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock (over $6 million per season) and Blackhawks boss Joel Quenneville.

Julien, who admitted that he did not expect to get fired in-season with the Bruins, likes what he sees in the Habs, too.

“They skate well, they’ve got a good balance of grit and skill and some size,” Julien said of the Habs at his introductory conference call on Wednesday. “We all know they’ve got the best goaltender in the world. They’re solid in the back end and there’s a lot of talent up front. That’s not to say that we don’t have to fix things and make them better. I’m here to fix and tweak and do things that will put this team back on track. The key for me is to maximize that potential and give the team the best chance to win.”

This is Julien’s second tenure as Montreal’s coach and the second time he’s replaced Therrien as the team’s coach.

Julien compiled a 72–62–10–15 record in his first tenure with the Canadiens (and his Habs eliminated the B’s from the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs) from 2003 to 2006, and comes back to the ‘CH’ with a 538-332-10-117 career record, including the most wins in Bruins franchise history (393).

The Bruins struggled and went just 26-23-6 record under Julien before his dismissal on Feb. 7.

Fired by the Bruins just games before the 1,000th game of his NHL coaching career, which oddly enough would have come against the Canadiens, Julien now gets a chance to do that with the team he grew up cheering for as a kid in Ottawa.

And is going to be paid handsomely to do so.

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