Bruins Wednesday notes: D mix-and-match, Claude Julien gets shots in, tells players to soak in rays
|05.29.13 at 3:09 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It was another day of perfect attendance on Wednesday as the Bruins held their second day of practice in preparation for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference finals series in Pittsburgh Saturday night.
The news of the day was the minor juggling of the defensive pairings, as Dennis Seidenberg was moved to a pairing with Matt Bartkowski while Zdeno Chara was paired with Johnny Boychuk. Adam McQuaid remained paired with Torey Krug, Andrew Ference was with Aaron Johnson and Wade Redden remained with Dougie Hamilton.
The offensive lines were the same. Claude Julien downplayed the significance, saying he like what he saw in his team on Wednesday.
“It’s good,” Julien said. “You saw during the season, we mix and match. You guys kept asking a lot of questions about that and I said, ‘You know what? It’s important that we do that because at some point you’re all going to have to play with each other.’ Guys that can play right that are left shots and vice versa, or even playing with different players, knowing how to do that. During the game we mix and match pairs sometimes. It’s not necessarily set pairs that you see on the ice all the time. That’s not going to change.”
Julien also said Wednesday that he has really liked what he’s seen this week so far from his team in terms of focus and execution in practice.
“It’s basically what you’re seeing right now, the last couple of days we’ve had some good practices,” he told reporters in his post-practice media briefing. “It’s been good tempo, good jump, good focus. It’s about being able to handle yourselves at this time of year in these types of situations. What I mean by that, when you get to the rink it’s all about business. Leave the rink, relax, enjoy the nice weather that’s there for you. You know the sun gives you energy, and nothing wrong with being out.
“Really kind of relaxing and making sure you don’t waste your energy out there when you should be saving it for the game and the time on the ice. It’s about focusing on those little things. Our guys have done a good job of taking care of themselves, eating properly, getting their rest. Right now I have no issues with where our team is based on what I see in practice.”
Other Wednesday tidbits: Doug Houda spent time with the defensemen working on skating drills at center ice, spending particular attention on Andrew Ference, who is coming back from a left foot injury. It was the second straight day of practice and sixth day on the ice since he was cleared to resume skating. … Julien took a hands-on approach in drills with his forwards on one-timers, standing in a corner and feeding a group that included Rich Peverley, Shawn Thornton, Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly. He then worked with the likes of Daniel Paille and Thornton on working on re-directs in front of the net. … Both practices this week have lasted approximately one hour. … The Bruins will be at it again at Ristuccia on Thursday before leaving on Friday for Saturday’s Game 1.
Here are other highlights from Julien on Wednesday:
On the positives of waiting until Saturday for Game 1: Well, we know where we’re going now. At one point you want to show some video. You want to do different things. You don’t want to do it too early. You want to do it at the right time. What was tough was that we weren’t quite sure when we were going to start. We had an idea, but nothing was confirmed. At least with a schedule you know what you can do on every single day and you’re certainly able to prepare a little bit better. Nonetheless, both teams are in the same boat and you try and project what is going to happen. You base your decisions on that.
On how he would assess Tyler Seguin’s game right now: Yeah, I think Tyler’s [Seguin] been fine. If anything, he’s competed a lot harder. He’s battling, he’s in there. I think on the power play he’s made some good plays and he’s done a good job. I think right now, to me, that line in the last two games were better. They’re kind of, I think, getting to know each other a little bit better and finding each other on the ice a little bit easier. Today in practice, same thing, I saw the same thing. We know that that line is going to be an important line for us in the next round. But right now I see that line improving.
On if playing on that line changes the way Seguin plays: I don’t know. I think Richard [Peverley] can, offensively, have better numbers, there’s no doubt there. And so can Kells [Chris Kelly]. They’ve shown that in the past. Basically, when you look back at a couple years ago, it was those two with [Michael] Ryder as an offensive guy. Tyler’s [Seguin] very capable of producing like Ryder did. It’s just a matter of getting that magic together and doing the stuff that they need to do to be better. Like I said, I thought the last couple games they started showing some things. They didn’t necessarily show up on the scoreboard, but I though even Game Five they spent a lot of time in the offensive zone, making some plays, making things happen. I’m encouraged by the direction that line has taken. If it mean that they become extremely good in the third round then that will certainly be a big boost for us.
On how the team maintains the consistent surges it had during the New York series and if it is a sense of pride for the players: It is. At the end of the day, it is. You don’t want to be the individual or to be the line that’s dragging the team down. That’s what you hear all the time about accountability. When you’ve got 20 guys dressed, everybody at this stage of the season can’t afford to be the weak link. It’s about pride. When we get into those situations like we did in the third period, I thought it was important to play all four line because all four lines were doing a good job. To maintain that energy and that attack and forecheck that we wanted to get, I thought it was important not to shorten your bench. There’s going to be games where you may not have that choice. As long as you have that choice and as long as your players are going, you utilize them.
On lines having to bring effort to sustain energy: Well, it has to be a good line. A line can’t spend a whole shift in their own end. You’ve got to work hard and you’ve got spend as much time in the other team’s end. And if you’re in you’re own end, you don’t want to give the other team much. If you’re giving them the outside, that’s one thing, but if you’re giving them opportunities then it becomes a liability.
On what he has seen in Jarome Iginla’s game and how he’s been successful in Pittsburgh: I don’t think Jarome’s [Iginla] changed much about his game. He’s the same as he was in Calgary. Probably has some players that can certainly feed him a little bit more. On the power play that’s one thing, but also five-on-five he’s playing with some pretty good players. But I don’t think his game’s changed at all, I don’t think he should’ve changed his game. I think he’s well-respected for the way he plays; he’s a real good power forward, strong individual that goes up and down the ice, can shoot the puck extremely well. His game hasn’t changed.
On advice for Torey Krug off the ice: Stay calm and stay out of trouble. Not much of a difference, is there?
On sensing frustration from Zdeno Chara due to his offensive struggles: During the season, I would say maybe a little bit. Not because he wants to be perceived as an offensive defenseman. I think for him, he feels the responsibility to be able to bring a little bit of everything, and he puts a lot of pressure on himself to bring that year after year. That’s why he’s such a good player. But I think if anything, everything is falling into place with him. It’s not so much that you see him rushing the puck. A lot of it is about his decision making with the puck. He’s moving it quick, his shots are getting through, his quick releases against New York really helped him a lot. When things start going your way the confidence certainly plays a big role in that. It’s a function of a lot of different little things.
On Jaromir Jagr facing the Penguins 20 years later: I don’t think that’s going to have an impact.
On if he’s ever seen a player in Jagr’s situation: Yeah, but you know, everybody is talking about that. Did he not face them last year with Philly [The Flyers]?
On the stakes being higher this year: Well, yeah, I would like to hope they were high for him last year, too—even if it was the first round. Nonetheless, I think he’s been through it before. I don’t think that I need to kind of talk to him about how he feels or what he’s been through. First of all, this team is definitely not the same team in Pittsburgh that he had. He’s experienced what he’s going to experience last year. I don’t know to be honest with you. To me, I don’t see any reason to even go there with him unless I’m not understanding your question properly
On Jagr’s situation being unusual: Yeah, I think that would probably be left to the players to do that. They’re usually pretty good at that, at getting on guys for that kind of stuff. As a coach, I don’t even want to go there.
On the importance of playoff experience for goaltenders: I know I’m going back a ways, but you can ask that question to Ken Dryden or Patrick Roy, and a lot of those young goaltenders. Even Jonathan Quick didn’t have a ton of experience before last year. To me, it’s more about the confidence that you have in yourself, the ability that you have, and how you face that challenge. To me, in our situation, our goaltender has been around. Even though he was behind Tim Thomas, he’s been around for quite a few years with us. He has been in the playoffs before this year. To me, he’s got experience enough to know what to do, and I think he showed that especially in Game 5. That Game 4 could’ve been a lot more devastating than it was, but how he rebounded in Game 5 shows me that there’s no issues there.
On the condensed regular season helping players prepare for the playoffs: Every time you go through—and I’m not going to use the word ‘negative’—some challenges during a season and adversity, it makes you a better team. We experienced it—I know we keep going back—a coupe of years ago because that’s the example you have to use. When you win you say, ‘was your whole season an easy year’ and it wasn’t. We had adversity, but whenever it got a little bit dicey or whatever in the playoffs, we’d been through it before. Nothing rattled us. I think that’s the good thing about going through adversity during the season. You want to make the playoffs, you want to have the best year you can, but adversity is never a bad thing to go through during the season if it’ll help you in the long run.
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