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Julien fires back at Hunter: “Being accused of headhunting is ludicrous”

Claude Julien

Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien answers a question at a news conference in Boston Sunday, June 5, 2011. The Bruins and Vancouver Canucks play Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)


This postseason has seen players go after players, organizations go after the league and newspapers go after superstars.

As such, it’s about time we had coaches getting after each other.

That’s what happened in Washington today when Bruins head coach Claude Julien tersely replied to Dale Hunter’s allegations Boston was headhunting Caps center Nicklas Backstrom.

“Being accused of head-hunting is ludicrous,” Julien told “It’s ludicrous. It’s ridiculous. Okay? There’s always going to be emotions in games and these are things that are happening. There were three cross-checks and they penalized one and suspended one.

“But we’re not whining about the referees and what’s going on here. We need to win a game and we need to win a series and that’s where our focus is on. That’s what it should be.”

“There is not a coach in this league -- not one -- that is going to tell his players to target’s somebody’s head.”

/makes obligatory New Orleans Saints joke

Julien’s outrage stems from comments Hunter made yesterday, saying the Bruins were targeting Backstrom’s head.

“If you notice, every scrum Nicky comes out with no helmet on,” Hunter told CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley. “He gets a blocker to the head by [Tim] Thomas the game before [in Game 2]. He’s protecting his head. He just came off of 40 games.”

It’s tough to gauge if Hunter’s claims were legitimate. There are suggestions that Hunter used the “they’re targeting Nicky” angle to deflect attention/blame away from Backstrom, who was facing suspension (later received) for a crosscheck to the head of Bruins forward Rich Peverely.