BOSTON – Claude Julien is an old hat at the outdoor hockey spectacle at the NHL level.
The Bruins coach was the Habs bench boss when they took part in the very first Heritage Classic with the Edmonton Oilers back in 2003, and, of course, was coaching the Black and Gold when they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime at the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park.
Who could ever forget the image of Julien in the fedora and old school letterman jacket behind the Bruins bench as Marco Sturm celebrated his overtime game-winner?
Despite the warm hockey memories from those very chilly days, the B’s coach was very mixed on the prospect of the Bruins once again getting involved in the Winter Classic in the near future.
“It was exciting. I did the first one with Montreal in Edmonton, and this one here [in Boston] at Fenway,” said Julien, while watching on TV as the Maple Leafs defeated the Red Wings in snow globe conditions in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Tuesday. “I’m willing to share with others, and let others have the opportunity to do it if that answers your question.
“I can say it definitely wasn’t a bad experience, and, win or lose, it’s something pretty special. But it is time-consuming with the trainers for different gear, and all of the adjustments that need to be taken. It’s a lot of work when it’s all said and done. When it’s all done, there is a breath of relief, and then it’s about getting back to normal.”
In the same breath, Julien lauded the Premiere Games experience in the Czech Republic as one of the NHL centerpiece events that helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in that very same 2010-11 season.
Rumors have the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers potentially poised to play in Washington next season in the Winter Classic. Others already are vying for the 2016 Classic.
So, the Bruins aren’t likely to get the call as a host for the Jan. 1 jewel anytime soon, and it’s more likely they’d be involved in one of the other outdoor games proliferating all over the NHL landscape following the Classic. League sources had indicated to CSNNE.com in the past that Gillette Stadium has been scoped out as a potential setting for an outdoor game in the next couple of seasons.