NHL agent puts Claude Julien on blast over Galchenyuk situation

Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien was put on blast Thursday by a prominent NHL agent over his treatment of forward Alex Galchenyuk. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

A prominent NHL agent has taken the Montreal Canadiens coaching staff’s handling of Alex Galchenyuk as an opportunity to take a jab at an old foe.

Dan Milstein, who represents star players the likes of Nikita Kucherov and Artemi Panarin, unleashed a blow on Twitter at Canadiens head coach Claude Julien on Thursday after Galchenyuk was demoted to the team’s fourth line earlier this week.

Milstein is seemingly perturbed with how he perceives Julien treats many of his Russian players, especially since he arrived in Montreal last season. The premise and timing for this beef are exceptionally strange considering Galchenyuk is neither Russian nor represented by Milstein. The polarizing 23-year-old forward was born in the United States to parents of Belarusian descent (not in Russia), and his agent is Pat Brisson (not Dan Milstein).

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The often-outspoken Milstein later admitted to Sportsnet’s Eric Engels that he may have crossed a line and been speaking out of place when spontaneously commenting on Galchunyuk earlier in the day.

“I represent several Russian players, and I know Alex is not one of them and I’m out of line for commenting because I don’t represent him. But I’m just stating the facts.”

He doubled-down on his earlier comments, however, re-iterating his opinion on Julien’s handling of Russian players.

“I have nothing but respect for [Canadiens general manager] Marc Bergevin. But it seems obvious the coach doesn’t like Russians,” said Milstein.

Milsetin’s feelings may stem from the experience that two of his clients — Nikita Nesterov and Alexander Khokhlachev — experienced while playing under Julien. The latter was engulfed in a highly-publicized battle with a Julien-coached Boston Bruins club in 2016, while the former skated in 13 games for the Canadiens after arriving via trade from Tampa Bay last season.

Another day, another brash opinion on the seemingly never-ending Galchenyuk saga in Montreal.