Canadiens fire coach Claude Julien

The Montreal Canadiens fired head coach Claude Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller on Wednesday.

Through the first 18 games of the season, the Canadiens have a 9-5-4 record (22 points) and are in fourth place in the North Division. They have lost five of their past six games.

Dominique Ducharme was named interim head coach.

"I would like to sincerely thank Claude and Kirk for their contributions to our team over the past five years during which we worked together. I have great respect for these two men whom I hold in high regard," general manager Marc Bergevin said. "In Dominique Ducharme, we see a very promising coach who will bring new life and new energy to our group. We feel that our team can achieve high standards and the time had come for a change. "

Ducharme, 47, joined the Canadiens coaching staff in April 2018 after spending 10 seasons in the QMJHL, leading the Halifax Mooseheads to the title in 2012-13. He also guided Team Canada to a gold medal in 2018 in the IIHF World Junior Championship following a silver medal in 2017.

Julien, 60, began his coaching career with the Canadiens in the 2002-03 season when he took over for Michael Therrien. He was fired halfway through the 2005-06 season, then went on to coach the New Jersey Devils (2006-07) and Boston Bruins (2007-17) before returning to Montreal in 2017.

He led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup in the 2010-11 season and won the Eastern Conference championship two seasons later.

Over 1,274 career games, he has a record of 667-445-152 plus 10 ties.

The Canadiens also announced the appointment of Alex Burrows to the coaching staff. Luke Richardson and Stephane Waite will retain their jobs on the staff.

(Field Level Media)