Ottawa ASG homecoming for Julien, Chara

OTTAWA -- Boston Bruins captain -- and NHL All-Star captain -- Zdeno Chara expressed excitement Friday for Bruins coach Claude Julien, who's back in his hometown to coach Chara's All-Star squad.

“I think it’s an honor for him to be coaching in his own backyard like this,” Chara said. “It’s an honor for players and coaches to be at the All-Star Game and meet the players and coach them and I’m sure he’s happy.”

Chara is experiencing his own homecoming of sorts, as he played for the Senators for four years before coming to Boston.

“It’s definitely emotional and brings back many memories,” Chara said. “I grew up as a player and a person here and I am who I am thanks to my time here. I really did want to stay but things happen for a reason and I am happy where I am. But it’s always great coming back here and now to be an All-Star captain here playing against Alfie (former teammate and Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson) is so special. It’s been a great time and it should be a lot of fun at the skills competition and game.”

Julien said that, in some ways, it's easier to return to Ottawa for the All-Star Game than it was after winning the Stanley Cup.

“Well, you know it was really a blur and I really didn’t have much time to enjoy it when I came back with the Stanley Cup because everything goes so fast and you have to go see so many people and make so many stops,” Julien said. “Don’t get me wrong, it was so much fun but this is much more laid-back. I get to see my family for quality time and have home-cooked meals and visit friends in a laid-back atmosphere and even talk with you guys [media] just as friends and kind of talking shop with no hard questions. It’s really nice. I’m proud at how far I’ve come and grateful for the people here, my family, my friends, that made it possible.”