- Big Bad Blog - http://bigbadblog.weei.com -

Andrew Ference on D&C: Claude Julien has fiery side

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference [1] appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the upcoming series with the Lightning. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page [2].

Ference said the Bruins are itching to get back to game action after having an eight-day layoff but that they haven’€™t gotten too restless in practice this week. ‘€œThis week’€™s been handled well. We’€™ve had a couple of good practices,’€ Ference said. ‘€œIt actually doesn’€™t feel overloaded. I think it’€™s been just the right amount.’€

Ference said there were still some good battles in practice, though. ‘€œWe had some stitches yesterday,’€ he said. ‘€œYou get battles because you have to stay sharp. … If one guy’€™s going at 95 percent game speed and the other’€™s at 80 percent, it doesn’€™t always work out. That guy at 80 percent gets brought up to speed fast.’€

Ference also talked about matching up against the Lightning and which players he’€™s been focusing on the most.

‘€œI know Johnny [Boychuk] and I are probably going to be up against their second line a lot, so [Vincent] Lecavalier is obviously a guy we’€™re going to have to key on,’€ Ference said. ‘€œHe’€™s been a good player for a long time. But honestly, I’m not big on studying the guys I’m playing against. I just concentrate on myself and what I have to do.’€

As many others have already noted, Ference said the Lightning play more like the Canadiens than the Flyers, especially when it comes to neutral-zone play. ‘€œWe’€™ll have to line up kind of like we did with Montreal,’€ he said. ‘€œWe’ll have to have patience in our game. They can be aggressive, but more often than not, they’€™ll fall back and frustrate teams with their defense and clogging up the neutral zone.’€

Ference said the key to breaking the Lightning’€™s much-discussed 1-3-1 scheme is just to play smart and not make it easy for them to retrieve the puck. ‘€œObviously good dump-ins, coming with a lot of speed, crisp passes, not forcing plays’€ he said. ‘€œWashington did a lot of crossover dumps and bad dumps. … They showed what not to do.’€

When asked why more teams don’€™t use the 1-3-1 after seeing how successful the Lightning have been, Ference noted that it’€™s not so much the system itself as it is everyone just being committed to it.

‘€œIf everybody buys into it and everyone’€™s on the same page and you have a real commitment, any system can work,’€ Ference said. ‘€œThere’€™s no secret formula that’s going to win all the games. The Stanley Cup’s been won by so many different types of systems, but it’s always by a team that plays a team game.’€

Ference also talked about coach Claude Julien [3]. A lot of people thought he would’€™ve been fired if the Bruins lost in the first or second round of the playoffs. Ference said he heard some of the criticisms, but he said Julien has done a good job all along.

‘€œHim and his staff have been a good coaching staff since they’€™ve been here, and they haven’€™t changed or done anything different,’€ Ference said. ‘€œConsistency is what makes them good, and they’ve just kept with the same message and the same philosophy. … I think that’s why you’ve seen consistency from the team in making the playoffs over and over and having success. That’s a real credit. That’s hard to do.’€

One of Julien’€™s biggest strengths is that he’€™s able to keep everyone calm and collected, something that was made evident after the Bruins fell into an 0-2 hole in the Montreal series. Ference said Julien can be fiery sometimes, though.

‘€œHe’s got fire, yeah. You don’€™t get to this level as a coach and not have a fire in your belly,’€ Ference said. ‘€œBut you have to be honest with it. You can’€™t just pretend to be angry or pretend to be fired up. You have to have an honesty about you and a fairness about you.’€