BOSTON – Unlike the last couple of rounds where Claude Julien had little more than a loose connection to John Tortorella and Dan Bylsma, the Bruins head coach has a relationship with Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville that goes back for some time.
In fact, during the 2011 NHL draft in Minnesota, Quenneville gave Julien a ride to the NHL hotel so that Julien could receive his congratulatory phone call from President Barack Obama after Boston won the Stanley Cup.
Perhaps Julien owes Quenneville a favor, but don't expect the Bruins coach to be doing his buddy from Chicago any favors when the Blackhawks and B's suit up for the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday night.
Right now, they're both vying for a call from President Obama.
“There are guys that you want to talk to, and certainly [Quenneville] expressed to me what he went through [after winning the Cup in 2010]," Julien said last season. "But most of all on that car ride back it was nice of him to offer me a lift. I was trying to get back to the hotel because President Obama was going to call me, and I was running late. [Quenneville] got [that call] the year before so he was pretty good about it. He said, 'Hop in with us and we'll give you a ride back.’ "
Aside from that professional courtesy among NHL head coaches, Quenneville and Julien also began their junior hockey playing careers with the Windsor Spitfires many moons ago.
“I’ve known Joel for quite a while. What we have in common is we played for the same junior team. He left. I came in. That was in Windsor,” said Julien. “I got a chance to know Joel throughout the course of [our] playing career and coaching careers and stuff like that.
“We have a good relationship, as far as respect goes. I don’t think we know each other extremely well. I don’t think we’ve spent any vacations together, if you want to put it that way. We know each other well enough. He’s been a great guy and a great coach for a long time.”
Quenneville may be a great option for an emergency ride in a pinch, but it’s highly unlikely there will be much fraternizing during the Stanley Cup Finals.