Julien receives five-year deal from Canadiens worth at least $20 million

Julien receives five-year deal from Canadiens worth at least $20 million

Well, maybe now we have a better idea why Claude Julien jumped all over the job with the Montreal Canadiens. 

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.”

Video: Chara hits practice goalie in groin

Video: Chara hits practice goalie in groin

BRIGHTON, Mass -- Life as an emergency practice goalie can be pretty rough.

Take, for instance, Mass State Trooper Keith Segee, who has suited up a couple of times for the Boston Bruins this season during times of need, and did exactly that during Wednesday’s optional practice for the Black and Gold.

Segee got caught with a Zdeno Chara cranked slap shot right in the family jewels, and then had to walk…er, crawl it off like any normal human being would after getting bombed by a guy that can shoot it 108-mph.

“He’s got the hardest shot of anybody I’ve ever seen,” said Segee, with a smile. “I had to take two or three laps around the rink after that one and skate it off.”

Give Chara credit for moving right over to Segee and giving him a tap on the backside for skating it off, and risking life, limb and perhaps a lot more to stop a few pucks for the Black and Gold.

Segee played at Revere High and Salem State College before joining the Mass State Police, and got the emergency gig through Bruins goalie coach Bob Essensa when Boston needed a practice goalie at the end of last week in Tuukka Rask’s absence.

Let’s hope Segee is okay at this point, or the Bruins captain could be looking at a few more moving violations in his future. 

Wednesday, March 29: Oilers back in the playoffs

Wednesday, March 29: Oilers back in the playoffs

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while gearing up for the last couple of weeks.

*The Edmonton Oilers will return to the Stanley Cup playoffs this season as it looks like Canada will be well-represented once again after last year’s absence.

*Let’s meet the man behind the push to bring the NHL to China, and introduce the game to billions of people.

*Eric Staal is enjoying his second act with the Minnesota Wild, and even better he’s totally flourishing there as well.

*Let’s hear it for the US Women’s team that stuck to their guns and got an unprecedented deal with USA Hockey that will allow them to focus on winning for the next four years.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough has Steve Stamkos “really close” to a return for the Tampa Bay Lightning, in a concerning development for the Boston Bruins’ playoff hopes.

*Apparently things are getting a little heightened with the Los Angeles Kings as some of their prominent players skipped a media session in Calgary.

*For something completely different: Let’s hear it for the best news of the day, the Cash Cab is coming back.