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Claude Julien on Carl Soderberg tinkering: ‘Because I’m the coach and because I can’

06.22.13 at 2:53 pm ET
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Carl Soderberg skates Saturday morning in Chicago before Game 5. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

CHICAGO — Maybe it was as innocent as Claude Julien showing his game face but when he was asked why he would bench Kaspars Daugavins and consider inserting Carl Soderberg into the lineup for his first playoff game in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals, he defended his turf in no uncertain terms.

“Why? Because I’m the coach and because I can,” Julien began. “You guys ask me why I make those changes. I didn’t spend three days thinking about that. It’s a situation that I can do. If I do that tonight, we’ll see where it goes. I may just go back to Daugavins, because again I’m tinkering between those two like I have from the beginning of the series.”

Julien admitted that he has only seen him play in six games toward the end of the season with the Bruins, which might factor into whether he plays in Game 5.

“Well, I haven’t seen him that much,” Julien said. “He’s only played a few games, and that’s probably the main reason he hasn’t played in the Playoffs is we went with some experienced players. Injuries have forced us to kind of look elsewhere, and that’s the injury to Gregory Campbell. So Daugavins, we’ve looked at Carl Soderberg, Jordan Caron, and there’s Jay Pandolfo. So there’s situations there that we can look at. We’re trying to find the best fit possible.

“I have to look at whether I feel comfortable staying with Daugavins, or as you know right now, it’s been between Soderberg and Daugavins. But they’re two different players. Size-wise they’re different. One is obviously real gritty along the walls, and the other one is probably more of a play maker. So, there’s a difference there, and that’s where I have to make my decision what I feel I may need for tonight.”

Here is the rest of Claude Julien’s pregame press briefing Saturday morning in Chicago:

Q. What is it about your sport that allows guys like Shaw to score the game winner in 1, Paille in 2 and 3, sort of the bottom six guys making major impacts on huge games like these?
COACH JULIEN: Well, because I don’t know that we should always expect it to be the top line players that do all the work. I think when you look at your teams and you hear coaches in an organization talk about depth, that’s what they mean. You don’t want to just rely on two, three guys because if you do, you’re not going to last very long in the playoffs. Every once in a while other guys have to come up big. Whether we’re taking about Shaw or Paille, they’re good players. They bring an element to the game that’s important to their teams, so why shouldn’t they be allowed. When you look at Shaw’s goal, he went to the front of the net. You look some of Dan Paille’s goals, he’s got a great shot and he’s used it. I don’t see it being something that’s a surprise, let’s put it that way, to us. I don’t think that we should be surprised if that continues.

Q. Do you expect a high scoring game again or a low scoring game or do you have any feel for how it’s going to go?
COACH JULIEN: Well, I guess the only way to answer that, I expect a real good game. Obviously 2-2. Do we know how it’s going to go? I don’t think either coach could have told you before last game it was going to be a high scoring game. I think we were surprised. Will that continue? I don’t know, I really don’t know. Again, it’s how well the teams play, how good the goaltenders are, and everything else. It depends on a lot of things. Is it going to be penalty filled, it is going to be five-on-five? I think it’s really hard to predict this time of year. The only thing I’m capable of saying here is based on the first four games, they’re all tight and they’re all close and they’re all exciting.

Q. Just your thoughts on what makes Zdeno Chara a good captain?
COACH JULIEN: All the right reasons. From the people that watch him play, I think that’s self-explanatory. I think he’s one of the best D-men in the league, shut-down D’s, and still able to contribute point-wise, and at the same time he’s a great example off the ice. His conditioning, his training, his example of how to conduct yourself as a pro. I don’t think there’s anything that’s negative about Zdeno. Obviously when you’ve got a guy that’s so imposing, what better to use him as a great captain and a great example for your team.

Q. Not specific to this series, but just in general, there’s a lot of information, scouting reports, types of things on players throughout the league over the course of a season. How do you go about distributing that information to your players and not overloading them so maybe they’re thinking too much at not playing the way they should?
COACH JULIEN: Well, I think now everybody kind of knows what everybody brings, but at the beginning it’s just about scouting reports. We have pro scouts that scout throughout the whole league, so they have a pretty good grasp on every player. A lot of that stuff is available for them. But we certainly don’t push it on them, so if they need to know, it’s on a need-to-know basis, and it’s available for them.

Q. How challenging has it been for you to deal with and gauge the momentum swings, not only game to game, but within the game?
COACH JULIEN: I think if anything, they’ve had some great starts to their games, all the games, and I think that’s where our team has to get better. There’s no doubt there. But there’s been swings back and forth. Sometimes they’ve been created by penalties. I thought Game 3 in our building, we had a pretty decent start actually, and we were pretty good. Then we ran into a couple of penalties and they picked up the momentum there and we had to get it back in the second period.

That’s momentum that happens throughout the game. It happens for different reasons. Some of it can be penalty. It only takes a couple of bad shifts from your team to lose it and then the other team gains it. As a coach you try and manage your bench and push guys to maybe have a real good, I guess, presence on the ice, which you saw again I think it was in Game 3 where our guys did a great job in the second period of probably spending a minute or so in the offensive zone. It kind of gave us some life again. You saw that again even in Game 4. At the end of the second period, we had a little bit of a flurry. Gave the game a little bit of life. We came out in the third and scored. Those are things you hope will swing your way as much as possible, but they do go back and forth in a series because you’ve got two good teams playing each other.

Q. How often do you see five goals go in the same spot on a goaltender, and is that something that we’re making too much out of from the last game?
COACH JULIEN: Well, I think this is probably going to be the third or fourth time I answer that same question. To me it happened to be on that side. Does it mean we’re going to score all our goals there? I don’t think so. But we shot where we thought we had an opportunity to shoot. Zdeno was minus 5, and we scored five goals on this goaltender. Are we blaming Zdeno? I don’t think so. Do you want to blame that goalie? Well, you can ask them because our goal is to score goals, and we’ll score them from anywhere we can.

Q. What is the fine line, especially this deep into a series, this deep into the Playoffs, between chemistry, keeping a line together, and looking for a spark?
COACH JULIEN: I mean, the fine line can happen between games, it can happen during a game. Both coaches, I think, and I’m looking at Joel, the moves he’s made, changes. We’re both trying to kind of try and get the edge on each other, which is what coaches should do in these Playoffs. You know, sometimes it’s tweaking lines, sometimes it’s putting certain players against certain players. I’ll tell you what, by the end of the game, I’m exhausted because of having to keep up with him. Again, I can’t answer for him, but that’s the way it’s gone, and it’s been a good battle there between the two of us.

Q. Kind of piggybacking off my first question, going forward you feel like stars need to be stars and play to the level that you’ve come to expect over the course of the season and for the better part of the post-season?
COACH JULIEN: Well, I think the one thing I would say is you can’t have passengers on your team. Everybody has to come into this game wanting to be the best players they can be because I don’t know if the top players are going to score or whether, like you said, the role players, the third, fourth liners are going to score. But in order to give yourself a chance, you’ve got to have everybody going. If the top players are going and they’re scoring, that’s great. But if they’re not, then you need secondary scoring. To me I can’t afford to have passengers. That’s what I tell the guys. I can’t afford to have guys that aren’t going to contribute to our game tonight, and that’s a responsibility that each individual has to bring to tonight’s game is their best. That’s all I can ask. What happens afterwards, I don’t know, and I don’t think anybody in here knows.

Q. Is overtime hockey second nature for these guys having played so much of it, and how much work do you have to do in an overtime when you guys get there?
COACH JULIEN: Well, as I say, practice makes perfect, right? So I think both teams are getting better at it and used to it. I don’t think anybody is shocked going in after the third period, having to play at least another one. But I think the adjustments is probably as a coach you want to try and score as early as you can, and when you don’t, you’ve got to kind of look at your bench and try and give these guys an opportunity to catch their second wind. So you try and utilize your whole bench a little bit and give those guys an opportunity, then you shorten your bench up again. I think that’s what we’ve tried to do on most occasions. Yeah, you think more about face-offs and the offensive zone and who you put out there, absolutely. I think the goal is to get that next goal, so it’s not so much about line matching than it is creating that opportunity to end the game.

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