Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Julien delights Habs fans as Galchenyuk skates as top center

Montreal Canadiens Practice Session & Media Availability

BROSSARD, QC - FEBRUARY 17: Head coach of the Montreal Canadiens Claude Julien chats it up with Brendan Gallagher #11 (L) Alex Galchenyuk #27 (C-L) and Torrey Mitchell #17 (R) during the Montreal Canadiens practice session at the Bell Sports Complex on February 17, 2017 in Brossard, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Now this is how you cement a honeymoon phase.

Plenty of Montreal Canadiens fans were frustrated with the way Michel Therrien handled certain players; those fans must be pretty happy after Friday. You see, Claude Julien delighted many by installing highly talented - and frequently stalled - forward Alex Galchenyuk as the first-line center.

You can tell it’s a big deal when his inclusion as top center gets ALL CAPS.

It’s not to say that Galchenyuk was totally neglected under Therrien. For all the moments where people wondered if Therrien trusted him as a center, the high-end prospect’s still progressed nicely at times in Montreal.

One just wonders if Julien might get even more out of Galchenyuk and some other players.


Julien is in a fascinating spot. He doesn’t get a training camp to install his changes, a matter to consider even while acknowledging the startling frequency of mid-season coaching swaps paying dividends. (Just ask Therrien about Dan Bylsma ... actually, maybe don’t.)

Is he really that different than Therrien? Maybe, maybe not. Giving Galchenyuk a boost here certainly would get him on the good side of plenty of Habs fans, either way.

(Plenty of people wonder if Julien struggles with young players, too, after all.)

In case you’re wondering, it doesn’t sound like Julien will pick Therrien’s brain about the Habs just yet.