Claude Julien returns favor on Bill Belichick: 'His preparation is second to none'

Mike Petraglia
December 31, 2015 - 9:36 am
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FOXBORO -- After getting off the ice following a morning skate with Bill Belichick, Claude Julien was asked what he thought of the football coach's glowing praise Thursday morning. On Thursday, Belichick said Julien was a 'great guy' and respected Julien's work since he arrived on the scene in 2007. "That'€™s why I like him better than you guys, because he gives me compliments," Julien said with a tongue-in-cheek jab at the hockey scribes assembled in the Patriots media work room for Friday's Winter Classic. "No, it'€™s always great, always great to catch up with Bill. I was fortunate enough to be a guest of his yesterday at his practice, and we walked through it, and it was nice to see him work with his team. I'€™ve admired him for a long time for how he handles his team, how he coaches, how prepared he is. "We play different sports, but as coaches, I think there'€™s a lot of things we can learn from each other and admire from each other. And that'€™s the one thing I have learned from Bill is his preparation is second to none." Belichick took to the ice Thursday morning on the Gillette field before putting his team through one final practice before taking off for South Florida Thursday afternoon. With some help from Julien, Belichick got on the ice. "Just we were talking [Wednesday]," Julien said. "We talked about how the ice was and everything else, and I hadn'€™t had an opportunity to go on there yesterday. So I asked him if he wanted to skate, and he said he'€™d love to. We set him up with a pair of skates, and he'€™s skated before. Obviously, we gave him a stiff pair of skates today that was different than he was probably used to, so it took him a little time to get more comfortable in it." Getting comfortable is up for debate, as Belichick fell three times on the ice getting accustomed to those stiff skates. "But it was an enjoyable, not just an enjoyable skate, but an enjoyable moment with him," Julien said. "In my book, it'€™s unique and a lot of fun. Like I said, there is a lot of admiration there for how he works. And to be able to spend some time with him on the ice on my terms where I looked a little better was nice. "He'€™s played hockey before, and I told him before I went out there, I said those skates are going to be a lot stiffer than what you'€™re used to. So it was just about getting used to it. From what I saw from him, to be honest, was the second he put his skates on to how he finished, he improved quite a bit. I wish my players could improve that quickly." For the second time in six years, the Bruins are playing on the biggest stage in the Boston area, beating the Flyers in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2010. "There are a lot of things that come to mind," Julien said. "I think one of them is being here in the home of the Patriots. As Bill told me yesterday: Welcome to our house. Obviously embracing us to come in here and play. I think being in a building of a team that you admire and watch all the time, I will tell you that probably 90 percent of our players are big?time Patriots fans. To be able to come here and be in the venue is great. "Second of all, to play a rival team like the Montreal Canadiens that these two teams have so much history between each other and to be able to bring it out to an outdoor game that has meaning to it is also very special. "I know that we'€™re enjoying the moment right now from the skate yesterday with the family to the practice today to everything that'€™s going on. But I can assure you from my past experience that when the puck is dropped, both teams will be focused on what they have to do here. We all know how tight the standings are and where we stand with each other, and that game has great meaning to it [Friday]." For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots. DraftKings DraftKings has your shot to play for FREE in the $1 Million Fantasy Football Contest THIS SUNDAY! First place takes home $100,000! FOR FREE ENTRY, CLICK HERE.