Canadiens coach Julien returning to Montreal to rest after coronary procedure

Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien. (Graham Hughes/CP)

Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien is returning to Montreal to rest following the stenting of a coronary artery, the team announced Friday. Doctors expect a full recovery.

On Wednesday night, Julien experienced chest pains and was rushed to the hospital. The 60-year-old coach underwent testing and observation, after which it was determined one of his coronary arteries would have to be stented.

Coronary arteries deliver oxygen-rich blood to the heart, allowing it to function. There are two main coronary arteries — one on the left side of the heart and one on the right — and when one becomes narrowed, blocked, or compromised in some way, a cardiac stent can be used to remedy its functionality.

Stents are expandable coils made of metal mesh that support the walls of the artery, helping to keep them open and improve blood flow to the heart.

Julien’s return to Montreal was one of the possible outcomes of his hospitalization that Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin outlined yesterday when announcing the situation.

During that announcement, Bergevin described the chances of Julien rejoining the team for its first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers as “very minimal” and there is no update on how this procedure has impacted that possibility from the team at this time.

Associate coach Kirk Muller was tasked with taking over head coaching duties in Julien’s absence.

“Claude is a guy who works closely with his assistants. For our series against the Penguins and for our game yesterday, I thought, sincerely, our team was ready,” Bergevin said. “For sure we’ll be missing Claude, but our three coaches have experience as head coaches—Kirk in Carolina, Luke [Richardson] in Binghamton, and [Dominique Ducharme] at the world junior championships. So we have experienced guys who will work together.”

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