Julien all positivity upon joining Habs: 'We're in first'

Minas Panagiotakis / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Claude Julien was talkin' 'bout practice.

The new Canadiens head coach - returning for his second tour of duty - held his first practice Friday with his new club, and then met with the Montreal media for the first time since ditching Boston Bruins black and gold for Montreal bleu, blanc, et rouge.

His message to his new team, fresh off its bye week, was simple.

"I wanted them to know how good I think the team is. We're in first place," Julien said, according to NHL.com's Arpon Basu.

"Guys needed to go on the ice feeling good about themselves, and I made sure that happened," he added, according to TSN's John Lu.

"Guys want hope, excitement, and a positive message," he continued, La Presse's Marc Antoine Godin tweeted. "There's no need to panic. There's a need to fix."

For all the "Sky is falling!" talk in Montreal, the Canadiens are indeed in first place in the Atlantic, and have the division's best goal differential (plus-15). While the Habs are certainly struggling, and Ottawa's on their heels at only four points back, the Senators' three games in hand only matter if Ottawa wins them.

And make no mistake, Julien isn't worried about Carey Price's form.

"I have no doubt that Price is one of the best goaltenders in the world," Julien said. "He'll bounce back, and it could be (Saturday)."

That'd be one way for Price to welcome his new bench boss.

Montreal will play six times before the March 1 trade deadline, games Julien and general manager Marc Bergevin will certainly use to evaluate the roster.

Julien all positivity upon joining Habs: 'We're in first'
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