Saturday, January 10, 2009

Claude Julien to coach Eastern All-Star team


NEW YORK (Jan. 10, 2009)—Under the selection process for All-Star coaches, the head coach and assistant coach for the Eastern Conference All-Stars are the head coaches of the two teams with the top points percentages in the Eastern Conference through games of tonight, the halfway point of the 2008-09 regular season. The head coach and assistant coach of the Western Conference All-Stars are the head coaches of the two teams with the best points percentages in the Western Conference.

Julien has guided Boston to its best start since 1929-30 with a points percentage of .780, posting 64 points in 41 games (30-7-4); the Bruins are assured of having the Conference’s top points percentage through Saturday. Julien will make his first career NHL All-Star coaching appearance in the city where he coached the Canadiens for 159 games over three seasons from 2002-03 to 2005-06.

Head coaches Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals (27-12-3, .679) and Guy Carbonneau of the Canadiens (24-10-6, .675) still are in contention for the Eastern Conference assistant coaching berth, which will go to the winner of tonight’s game between the clubs at Montreal.

McLellan, who has guided the Sharks (30-5-5, .813) to the League’s top record in his rookie NHL season as head coach, clinched the West head coaching berth with a 4-1 victory at Edmonton Friday. He becomes the first NHL rookie head coach to garner an All-Star Game head coaching position since Florida’s Doug MacLean in 1995-96.

Head coach Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings (28-7-5, .763) will serve as McLellan’s assistant, reversing their roles with the Red Wings from 2005-06 through 2007-08 when Detroit won 50-plus games for three consecutive seasons and captured the Stanley Cup last June.

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