Claude Julien on D&K explains comment about 'pulling myself out' of NHL playoffs

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Former Bruins coach and current Canadiens coach Claude Julien made some waves in hockey circles this week when he told Pierre LeBruin in a text message that he would consider "pulling myself out if I feel a real danger" when the NHL returns.

"My family and life are more important than my job at that point," Julien added.

The discussion was about the safety of older coaches (Julien turned 60 in April), but some twisted it into Julien not wanting to come back.

Appearing on Dale and Keefe Friday morning (listen to the full interview here), Julien clarified and expanded on that comment.

"I think the NHL is really doing a good job of preparing for us to come back and making sure it's safe," Julien said. "I know from Day 1, they've said that if it's not really a safe enviroment, we can't go ahead with it. There's going to be an element of trust from us to wait and see what the NHL is going to be doing. We've had some information from them telling us a little bit of what they intend to do. I think right now I would feel fairly safe.

"...I think the comment that really got people talking a lot was where I said that if at one point I don't feel safe and I feel it's dangerous for myself, then I need to pull myself out because my family and my life is more important than my job. It was misinterpreted in certain ways that I didn't want to come back. But I'm definitely looking forward to coming back."

Julien also said that he thinks that if things were starting to go down a bad road in terms of health and safety, that the NHL would step in and act before he'd even need to make a decision about stepping away.

"I think before I decide to step away from it, I think the league will have made a decision before that," Julien said. "Their plan is to keep everything safe. They definitely have that as the priority. If anything gets a little bit dangerous, they're going to obviously make some moves or make a decision based on that. I'd be extremely surprised that I would have to pull myself out on my own before the league did anything about it."

Julien and the Canadiens are the No. 12 seed in the Eastern Conference and are set to face the Penguins in the best-of-five play-in round. If they win that series and the Bruins win the round-robin seeding tournament to get the No. 1 seed, Boston and Montreal would meet in the conference quarterfinals.

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