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Claude Julien: ‘There’s no doubt we’re hungry’

06.10.13 at 5:02 pm ET
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The Bruins were focused on head coach Claude Julien as they begin to install a game plan for Chicago. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

The Bruins have reached the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in three years. And being back so soon hasn’t diminished the thirst to drink from the Cup, some Claude Julien pointed out Monday after another practice at TD Garden.

“I would think so,” Julien responded when asked if the desire to win it all still burns. “There’s no reason why it wouldn’t. Anybody that makes it this far know how hard it is. There’s no doubt we’re hungry.”

That doesn’t mean Julien won’t press a few buttons, something he did mid-practice Monday when he brought all of his troops together for a high-spirited discussion.

Beyond that, Julien and his staff are busy right now trying to impart the right information on the Blackhawks to his troops without bordering on information overload.

“That part of it hasn’t changed for us. Even if we haven’t played them we’ve taken the same approach as far as giving information,” Julien said. “Same thing, even if you’ve played them you don’t want to give them information overload. Like I said, we do all the research as coaches and we have all that stuff for ourselves, so if we need it we can share it with the players. We give them the basics and you give them the things that you really have to be careful with.

“That way you don’t kind of handcuff your players not to play their games because they’re overthinking. It really is all about your team and how well you want to play, and whatever they do extremely well you try to adjust to that. Not anymore than that, even though we haven’t played them it’s really about us having confidence in our game and trying to minimize their strengths like we’ve done with every other team so far.”

Most importantly, Julien made it clear that despite the speed the Hawks possess through the neutral zone in players like Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, the Bruins have to stick to their game plan and have a strong forecheck in the offensive zone.

“Our forecheck has to be our forecheck,” Julien said. “It’s got to be efficient in order to minimize that. And that means putting pucks in the right places. If you don’t, they’ll have some easy breakouts. They excel at that area. They have a lot of D’s back there that can carry the puck and skate well, so there’s no doubt that that’s going to be a key. Some of our success will be how good we are in those areas.”



Here is the remainder of Monday’s Julien press conference at TD Garden:

On the emotions of trailing in Game 7 vs. Toronto to getting to the Stanley Cup Finals: Believe it or not, that seems like a long time ago. That’s the way we feel right now. That’s not because we don’t want to talk about it. We really feel like it was a long time ago. We’ve been through so much since then; those two rounds and then the preparation and everything else. It seems like a lot of work has been put into the follow up of that series. It’s hard for me to answer that question because of that.

On what makes the Blackhawks so effective on the penalty kill: Well, I think they do a good job of fronting shots. You really have to work hard to get the shots through. That’s what they are, they’re very patient; they’re very aggressive when you do lose, I guess, control of the puck and if they feel they can get on you, they’ll get on you quick. They’ve done a good job that way.

On if there is an appreciation among the young players how rare it is to play in two Stanley Cup Finals: Well, you hope so. I know the older guys always mention it. We’ve got a guy in our dressing room that’s the perfect example, and that’s Jags [Jaromir Jagr]. He’s won two Cups and that’s great, but he hasn’t been there in 20 years. So he’s got an opportunity to win another one 20 years later, so we can certainly share his wisdom when it comes to that. But I think our guys understand, even the young players that won it a couple years ago, know exactly what happened the following year. You can’t take anything for granted. We’re here and we worked hard to get here. The last thing you want to do is waste that effort by not being ready. We’re excited, we’re hungry, we’re whatever word you want to use here. I think both teams will be that way.

On his relationship with Chicago Head Coach Joel Quenneville: I’ve known Joel for quite a while. What we have in common is we played for the same junior team; he left, I came in. That was in Windsor. Got a chance to know Joel throughout the course of playing career and coaching careers and stuff like that. We have a good relationship, as far as respect. I don’t think we know each other extremely well. I don’t think we’ve spent any vacations together, if you want to put it that way. We know each other well enough. He’s been a great guy and a great coach for a long time.

On if there is a sense of calmness among the players heading into the Final this time around: Yeah, there is. But there was a sense of calmness going into the other ones, too. It’s about understanding what you’re going to be facing. We don’t want to waste our energy getting overly excited here a few days before. You’ve got to get yourself mentally ready first and then you’ve got to have the energy that is needed to win a hockey game. So I think our guys are focused and focus is probably what you need right now.

On if he can sense a different appreciation of being in the Final again, given the fact that the team is so close: They are. The other part is, too, I think we learned quite a few years ago, before we even won our first Cup, that being good friends is one thing, but being accountable to each other is another. We’ve been able to push each other in that dressing room, even if we’re friends. If someone’s not pulling his load, he gets told, ‘We need more out of you.’ Guys are able to do that and separate the personal feeling from the professional feelings. And I think that’s been a big asset to our team.

On the influence Jaromir Jagr has had on David Krejci: I mean, Jags [Jaromir Jagr] has come in and been a good influence on everybody. His work ethic speaks volumes. But for David Krejci, probably a little bit more special because he is a superstar in his country, a Hall of Famer, and probably the most famous Czech player ever. When David sees him coming in our dressing room, it’s pretty exciting. I think right now, Jags is pretty excited about David Krejci’s play, as well. It’s a good balance right there. But when you look up at people – I always said I was a big fan of Bobby Orr and to have Bobby walk into our office just to talk means a lot. Same thing goes for David with Jags right now. To have him in our dressing room and to look at him sitting near him and getting a chance to play with him means a lot. I think it’s certainly had some sort of an impact on him.

On Jaromir Jagr winning the Cup in the twilight of his career: There’s always that. Every year you’re going to hear something like that. Whether it was Ray [Bourque] going to Colorado or [Mark] Recchi with us here, there’s no doubt you love to send a guy at that age a good sendoff, or for us a Cup. Again, I think it’s going to take more than that to win. It’s going to take more than doing it for one person. I think it’s about doing it for each other and the team and all the right reasons. We’re here to represent the city of Boston and our fans, and I think that’s what you want to do first and foremost.

On monitoring the third and fourth lines more closely with Gregory Campbell out: I would say no more than what I had to do last game. We mix and match. As you saw, it wasn’t always that same line. I was able to move players from third to fourth, and depending if it was at the end of a penalty kill or after a power play and we needed to put some guys together depending on who they put on. So, sometimes it was putting three experienced guys out there against their top line. That’s going to continue to happen. Again, I call that coaching. It’s just having to be on top of your game and knowing what’s coming and what you want to get out of that next line. I have no issues moving guys around.

On killing penalties without Gregory Campbell: It just means some other guys have to step in and do the job. [Campbell] is an elite penalty killer for us. Like anything else, when you lose a player like that it certainly hurts your team. But at the same time, there’s also guys that come up and step up and do a great job just like our young D’s did when our three D’s were hurt. We didn’t miss a beat because they did the job. We expect people to do the same thing in Gregory’s absence.

On what winning the Cup in 2011 meant to him: I don’t know, I’m thinking [Shawn Thornton] is a brave man to say [winning was more special than his wedding day]. Anybody who says the Stanley Cup is better than their wedding day will have to see after the finals whether they’re still married or not. No, it’s great. We all dream about that stuff. We marry people who understand us extremely well. Otherwise we’d all be single. Growing up in Canada, as you know, it means a lot, and I think that’s what Shawn is saying. In his case, too, you got to remember where he came from—barely making it to the pros and being in the minors for so long. Guys that have played in the NHL forever are still looking for their first one, and he’s got two of them. There’s no doubt those are great days, but not only great days for us, that’s a great day for our wives and our families, too. They don’t mind it, either.

On Kaspars Daugavins meshing with Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley: Yeah, we’ll see. Again, it’s one of those situations where you see how he conducts himself in the games. To me, the game that he played against Pittsburgh, like I said, he hit a goal post, he did a couple of real good things. I thought for a guy that hadn’t played for over a month he had been pretty good. Again, sometimes lines are great in practice and they get to a game and not much happens. Or, something, lines in practice can be the worst and they make things happen in the game. You try not to read too much into that sometimes.

Read More: 2013 Stanley Cup, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Claude Julien Print  |  Email   | Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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