Claude Julien is in uncharted territory. Since his first full season as an NHL coach — with the Canadiens in 2003-04 — Julien has never had a losing season. But the Canadiens enter the new year with a 16-19-4 record and Julien is trying to put a positive spin on the challenge ahead. “Deep down it’s frustrating, but not to the point where it’s going to affect my work,” Julien said Monday after the Canadiens practised in preparation for Tuesday’s home game against the San Jose Sharks (7:30 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN-690 Radio). “The times when I’ve missed the playoffs, it’s been by a point or we were tied, but we were always in the hunt,” Julien said. “Right now, we have a long road ahead of us. We know that. At the same time, this is what makes you better in the long run. I’m not wishing for this; I’m just saying if you handle it the right way, it will make you better. “We’re gong to be stronger, we’re going to be able to handle more adversity as long as you deal with it the right way, ” Julien added. There’s no shortage of adversity. The Canadiens have lost four in a row and have dropped 12 points behind Toronto and Boston in the fight for third place in the Atlantic Division. They are eight points behind the New York Islanders in the race for the second wild-card spot and there are five teams between the Islanders and the Canadiens.
Habs begin new year dealing with adversity and swirling trade rumours
Montreal Gazette | Jan 2