Claude Julien: ‘Average isn’t good enough at this stage’
|06.20.13 at 4:54 am ET|
Claude Julien has always had the pulse of his team.
Right or wrong, no one gets more credit when things go right, or more of the blame when they don’t. Such was the case Monday when he gave his credit to being fully committed after a 2-0 win. But on Wednesday, the Bruins allowed 47 shots and six goals in nearly 70 minutes of hockey, Not the kind of defensive-minded, puck-controlling play he wants to see out of his five-man skating group.
“Not really, not really,” Julien said. “I mean, we tied it up. I thought our guys battled hard enough to get us back in the game and create an overtime. I don’t think we played our best game tonight. A lot of different reasons. I think our decision making wasn’t very good at times. Didn’t think we were moving the puck as well as we had been in the past.
“It was certainly a tough outing for us tonight, They came out hard, played extremely well. Somehow, again, they had the better of us for the first half of the game until we got ourselves going here a little bit. Again, those are things that happen in the Final where you don’t feel like you played well enough to win. That’s what happened tonight.”
In the second period alone, the Hawks outscored the Bruins, 3-2, as they seized control.
“I just think we weren’t very sharp in our decision making,” Julien said. “Where we talked about we have layers, our D’s were pinching, our forwards were not really covering up, weren’t totally committed to that part of the game. That’s when you saw two‑on‑ones. Sometimes caught a little bit low. We were through the neutral zone, weren’t very aggressive. There was a lot of our game tonight that was just average, and average isn’t good enough at this stage of the season.”
“It wasn’t a Bruins’ type of game, but at the same time you have to get yourself back into it, Our guys worked hard to score goals. Probably got ourselves out of what our normal game plan is. So we opened up and we scored goals, but we also gave them some goals, like the game‑winning goal. Too many times where they had an opportunity to tee it up. We’d come back in our own end and make the big circle. When you make the big circles, you open up the middle of the ice. Just things that don’t characterize our team.
“Like I said, it was an average game. But give the guys credit. We battled back and gave ourselves a chance to win, even though it wasn’t our best game. Sometimes you got to do that. We tried to do that tonight. But at the end, you know, it didn’t happen.”
The Bruins will practice at midday on Thursday while the Blackhawks are headed back to Chicago.
Here is the rest of Julien’s post-game press conference in the moments after Game 4.
Q. Claude, how would you evaluate Tuukka’s play tonight? Do you think the goals‑against were a product of what happened in front of him?
Claude Julien: I don’t evaluate the players publicly here. I look at our whole team and tell you our whole team was average tonight. You can take what you want from that. I think we can be a lot better. We have an opportunity to be better next game. Hopefully, if anything, that makes us even hungrier for the next game.
Q. What do you personally feel was the difference in this game for your team?
CLAUDE JULIEN: They were better than we were.
Q. In the second period after you went down two goals, you called a timeout. Seemed like you were the only person talking. What was your message?
CLAUDE JULIEN: Just that we had to kind of get ourselves back into our game. I thought we were frustrated. Instead of focusing on what we had to do, we were complaining about calls, non‑calls. We got ourselves away from our game. Just about refocusing our guys. They’re good about it. All I talked about was, you know, there’s half a game left, we have lots of time to get ourselves back into it. That’s what we did. We did get ourselves back into it.
Q. Can you talk about Patrice Bergeron’s effort in the second and third period, and also Jagr, seemed hungry to get the team back into it.
CLAUDE JULIEN: Patrice has been extremely good for us throughout these playoffs. He’s been good for us forever. He’s a guy that comes to play hard every time. Nice to see him having some good success in the playoffs and being rewarded that way. Jag has always been a guy that can find players that are open. The more they play together, the more chemistry they have. So it should make them a better line.
Q. You mentioned the team battled back and stayed in the game. Are those things that are positives that you can build off of?
CLAUDE JULIEN: Too late in the season and too late in the playoffs to start criticizing your team. You look at what you did well. It’s a 2‑2 series. I think before it started everybody knew it was going to be a tight series. I don’t think anybody that is a fan of hockey is disappointed right now. We as a hockey club went into Chicago and won Game 2 and had a chance to win Game 1. We had to go in there and win Game 5. We have the ability to do that.
Q. Claude, third period, Johnny Boychuk seemed to be throwing himself all over the ice. How important was he in the team’s effort to keep the game from getting away from you?
CLAUDE JULIEN: Well, Johnny is a good player. Not only was he doing what he could to prevent goals, but he did a great job at scoring that tying goal. He’s got a great shot. Had a great playoffs. I think he’s up to six goals now. Good hockey player. Like I said, he’s done a great job in the American Hockey League of being one of best scoring defensemen before he came to us. Now it’s nice to see him utilize that shot and showcase his game knowing that he’s become a pretty strong and reliable defenseman in this league.
Q. Is it going to be difficult to wipe away the negative of this and remind your team that you’re going in with an even slate?
CLAUDE JULIEN: Not really. I think if you look at what happened the last game, it didn’t stop them from bouncing back. At this stage of the year, you have to kind of push the games aside, win or lose, and you got to focus on the next one. We know we have to be better and we know we can be better. It’s just a matter of getting yourself ready for that game.