Well, maybe now we have a better idea why Claude Julien jumped all over the job with the Montreal Canadiens.
Bob McKenzie just told us he believes Claude Julien will be making at least $4.1 million, for as much as 5 years. #TSN690— Conor McKenna (@mckennaconor) February 15, 2017
The just-fired Bruins coach confirmed that he’s signed a five-year contract with the Habs that doesn’t begin until the start of next season. According to reports, he'll be paid an annual salary of at least $4 million per season. That’s not the kind of money Julien was going to command from most of the other potential landing spots that figure to be open in a few months -- like Florida, Winnipeg or Las Vegas -- and the commitment to him, plus the franchise prestige and proximity to his Ottawa-area family, made it pretty close to a no-brainer.
"I’m not going to lie about it," Julien told reporters Wednesday on a conference call. "Had it not been an ideal situation, I would have refused or not taken it."
Julien called his dismissal by the Bruins "not a shock, but I don’t think I was necessarily expecting it." After receiving the news, he and his wife went to Vermont for a pre-planned vacation -- the Bruins are off on their bye week -- and it was there that we was contacted by the Canadiens.
“[We] were getting some rest and enjoying a little time off, but shortly after I got there I got a message," he related. "The few days I spent there I spent trying to finalize things [with Montreal]. So it happened quickly."
The Canadiens made a hard push for Julien, whom GM Marc Bergevin describes as “a superstar”. And Bergevin made a Godfather-like offer that Julien simply couldn't refuse.
"[It's] a great organization, great people and everything else." said Julien. "There’s a lot of potential for a great team. What can I say? They are also some of the best fans in the world. Everybody gets excited when they’re going to play Montreal.
Julien will have plenty of building blocks in place to quickly install his defensive system with goalie Carey Price, rough-and-tumble No. 1 defenseman Shea Weber and a number of willing and able D-men like Alexei Emelin and Andrei Markov.
"It was something that appealed to me, although it was quicker than I expected," he said. "But I’m ready for the challenge and looking forward to it.”