Babcock weighs in on Julien: 'Hell of a coach'

Justin Cuthbert
Eric Hartline / USA TODAY Sports

In the mind of their direct competition, the Boston Bruins aren't likely to upgrade from dismissed head coach Claude Julien.

Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock - who hasn't shied away from offering his opinion on circumstances outside his own this season - vouched for Julien and perhaps questioned his rival's decision-making shortly after news of the firing broke.

"Good man. Even better coach. Someone out there is happy today," Babcock told the media with a smile Tuesday morning. "I mean, you ain't getting better. When you make these decisions, you better have a guy in line that's better than that guy. There's not too many, I can tell you that.

"And a good man. But, enjoy some time with your bride and your kids, get freshened up, call the U-Haul business, get ready to go. Sometimes, to be honest with you, it's time to move on.

"(Julien's) a hell of a coach."

Babcock has gained an appreciation for Julien's ability and learned a thing or two from the former longest-tenured coach in the NHL at recent international tournaments. Julien worked on Babcock's staff during Canada's triumphs at the Sochi Olympics and 2016 World Cup of Hockey.