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Some thoughts from Julien

01.06.09 at 7:18 pm ET

Here’s a few thoughts from Claude Julien prior to tonight’s game against the Minnesota Wild, which has turned into the defensive, low-scoring, trap-happy snoozer that many thought it might. Thanks to the Bruins’ media relations crew for sending this along.

On how he feels about his team…
We obviously feel pretty good with the season we have had so far. It’€™s been a fun year so far and I think that little setback last game will hopefully bring some attention back to our game as well. As much as you hate losing sometimes those things are going to happen and you hope it works in your favor down the road.

On how he feels when he hears ‘€˜can you believe the Bruins lost a game?’€™
Well, I think that’€™s how our players felt after the game too. They weren’€™t very happy with that loss and I thought that was a good sign. It’€™s not like we didn’€™t have the attitude ‘€˜well it’€™s only one loss in the last X number of games’€™ It was like the guys are disappointed, ticked off to say the least and that’€™s a good sign. I like that. We don’€™t like to lose and hopefully we will show that tonight.

On Aaron Ward
He’€™s out there. He is skating right now and until he is off the ice I can’€™t tell you much more than that right now.

On Andrew Ference
Yeah, no he won’€™t be in tonight.

On how the Minnesota Wild have changed since the last time they played them…
I don’€™t think you can really pinpoint it at one player. I think you look at their team; they are a lot like us. We play a certain way and it doesn’€™t really matter who’€™s in the lineup. We don’€™t change our game plan and neither do they.

They have good speed, they’€™re a hard working team and as I mentioned yesterday, they take away your space pretty quickly if you don’€™t move the puck quick. You run out of space fairly quickly and they create turnovers so obviously they are going to tell you they’€™re lacking a good goal scorer and rightfully so [in Marian Gaborik]. Offensively this guy [Gaborik] is an excellent player, but nonetheless watching them play the last few games I think they found their groove again.

On the key to beating a team like the Minnesota Wild…
You really want to know all those secrets, right? I think it is just the matter of limiting mistakes. They play so well, again, the way they close gaps on you quickly and they put you in positions where sometimes players will panic. I think it’€™s important not to create turnovers and make strong plays and you got to be willing to grind it out with them.

Again, they’€™ve got speed, their penalty kill is excellent and they are always a threat on the power play as well. You know there are a lot of good things going good for them. Their goaltending has been outstanding as well, so this should be a good showdown tonight.

On Minnesota Wild’€™s head coach Jacques Lemaire’€™s style…
He always has. Every team he’€™s coached he’€™s had his fingerprints on and he’€™s done a good job throughout his career. I know I’€™ve learned a lot just from watching him over the course of my career and trying to watch how he does things.

We actually have a pretty good relationship as well so we have a chance to chat and I think he has done an excellent job. Every year his team is competitive and he gets the most out of his players.

On Jacques Lemaires’€™ background…
I don’€™t know exactly. I think a lot of it too, in Europe he learned a lot in the little bit of time he was there and he brought some things along. He is an intelligent coach. He figures things out pretty quickly. He fine-tunes things to what he believes in.

There are a lot of things he has kind of indented some of the things to fine-tune, some of those things that he liked and again, you watch his team play and it’€™s just when they are out on the top of their game they don’€™t give you much. They’€™re a real hard team to play against.

On having a target on the Bruins’€™ backs…
No doubt, no doubt. We’€™ve noticed even teams, they come out so strong against us now because they want to get that early jump and I think this is where we have to be able to respond. We have been on the other side of the coin and we know what it feels like and we know how we got motivated when we played the top teams in the conferences and stuff like that.

 So I think we remember that and we probably know now how it feels to be other the other side of it. Teams have really been coming out hard at us and I think that helps us improve as a team. It keeps us on our toes all the time and you can’€™t have a slow start, you can’€™t have a mediocre game anymore because teams are gunning for you.

On the forecheck…
A good forecheck creates turnovers. A good forecheck means you get on them quick, you get a chance to finish your checks, like I said, you create turnovers. Right now, we are a fraction of a second late everywhere. Teams are breaking out of their own end too easily and I think that’€™s where our forecheck has faltered a little bit.

On being late on reaction or not going in deep enough on the forecheck…
Those kinds of things always relate, they never relate to one thing, they relate to a lot of different things. It’€™s about the effort. It’€™s about reading off each other. It’€™s about a lot of things, the timing and sometimes it’€™s even the kind of dumps that you put in there.

Or [it’€™s about] do you give your forechecker a chance to get there [or] is it a bad dump where the guy gets there where he has a lot of time to make a play. It’€™s a combination of a lot of things and those are the kind of things we touched on yesterday.

On importance of getting the first goal…
It’€™s always important to get the first goal. I think every team that starts a game wants to get an early lead and get control of that, but and I’€™ve said that all along’€¦ the good thing about our hockey club is our record is extremely positive even when other teams score first.

 It certainly doesn’€™t put us in a situation where we haven’€™t been able to rebound, but nonetheless I think for every team, every game, we talk about that and getting an early lead and taking control of the game. I think that’€™s an area that we will hopefully get better at tonight, starting tonight.

On Manny Fernandez
Well, last year was a wash for him. He was never 100 percent and it was just one of those things were he needed surgery. This year he came in and when you haven’€™t played in almost a year and a half because he didn’€™t play half, almost half, the year before that so it takes a while to find your game.

So we started him off slowly, we put him in games here and there and Tim (Thomas) was taking the majority of the games early on. Then once we saw that he was feeling pretty comfortable and pretty good and then playing some solid games, we started using him a lot more, but he’€™s been outstanding. There is no ifs or buts our goaltending this year has been one of the key points. We have been able to use both guys which has allowed them to stay fresh and when you are fresh, obviously you compete better. So those two guys have been great together and very supportive as well of each other.

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