|Claude Julien still sees plenty of room for improvement||01.26.13 at 10:46 am ET|
The Bruins have started out 3-0-1 and have looked impressive in the process.
But for 40 minutes Friday night, Claude Julien watched as his team was sluggish, falling behind 2-1 to the Islanders before recovering to tie the game, 2-2, before the third period.
“Obviously happy we haven’t lost in regulation yet. But, I don’t think we’re extremely happy with our game [Friday],” Julien said. “For 40 minutes, I didn’t think we were on top of our game, we didn’t seem to be in sync, we didn’t seem to have the energy that we usually show. So, it was a struggle for us tonight, but the last 20 were a little bit better, we found a way to win. A lot of times, that’s what you’ve got to do, you’ve got to push through those kind of nights and we did. So, you take the two points and you move on.”
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|Do the Dougie: 19-year-old Dougie Hamilton is a Bruins sensation||01.25.13 at 10:32 pm ET|
He’s only 19 but defenseman Dougie Hamilton is already showing why the Bruins’ management felt comfortable putting him right into the fire of the NHL.
Hamilton had two assists as the Bruins defeated the New York Islanders 4-2 Friday night at TD Garden. The crowd began to chant his name in the third period after his outlet pass set up Patrice Bergeron‘s insurance goal. The players are already singing to him in the locker room, asking him to — as the song says — “Teach me how to Dougie.”
Claude Julien noted Hamilton work in juniors that prepared him for his debut early on in this shortened season.
“There’s a couple of things that’s happened to help him along the way here,” Julien said. “He’s been playing since September with his junior team, he’s gone to the World Juniors, so he’s played in high-caliber tournaments. So, he’s got that experience and he’s come in here with a good jump, having played four months of hockey and right now he’s playing with a lot of confidence. The guys that he’s playing with have been extremely helpful with him on the ice.
“I think that’s why our [front office] guys drafted him, because they saw a lot of things we’re seeing right now. We liked his size, we liked the way he moved on the ice, but at the same time, we thought he had real good hockey sense. He sees the ice well, he finds the passing lanes and you saw on that goal, breakout out of our own end. You see the guy scoring, but it all starts from our end, and that was from his pass to [Brad] Marchand and to Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] for the breakaway. Those kind of things is what our scouts saw in him and those kind of things he’s demonstrating right now. You have to be pleased and impressed with a young player playing the way he has been.”
|Late charge: Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron lift Bruins to win over Islanders||01.25.13 at 9:35 pm ET|
Zdeno Chara fired a wrist shot past Rick DiPietro with just under 13 minutes left in the third period to break a 2-2 tie, as the Bruins bounced back from their first loss of the season with a 4-2 win over the Islanders Friday night at TD Garden. Rookie sensation Dougie Hamilton added two assists and set up Boston’s fourth goal with a pretty outlet pass as the Garden crowd began to chant his name.
The Bruins overcame a two-goal night from Waltham and Chelmsford, Mass. native Keith Aucoin to improve to 3-0-1 in the young season. With seven points on the season, they also have gained a point in all four games.
Tuukka Rask has started all four games and stopped 24 of 26 shots on the night to record his third win.
The Bruins jumped on top just under five minutes into the game when Shawn Thornton collected a loose puck and put it past DiPietro. Hamilton set up the goal when he took a shot from the right point that deflected off the stick of Daniel Paille. DiPietro couldn’t control the shot and Thornton was in the right spot on the doorstep for his first goal of the season and Hamilton’s second NHL point.
The Islanders tied it six minutes later when the red-hot Aucoin took a pass from Colin McDonald from the side of the net and put it past Rask.
The first period featured a fight between Milan Lucic in which the Bruins leveled Matt Carkner with a right cross, getting the Friday night Garden crowd into the game.
The Islanders opened the second period on the power play. While they couldn’t score, they used the advantage to gain momentum of the game. That proved productive when Rask and the Bruins allowed a loose puck to bounce uncontrolled to the high slot. Aucoin was in the right spot at the right time again and blasted a slap shot past Rask at 9:50 of the period for an unassisted goal, his second of the game and third in two nights.
The Bruins used good fortune to gain the equalizer four minutes later when David Krejci threw a puck on net from the far boards. The puck glanced off the skate of Islanders defenseman Joe Finley and onto the stick of Gregory Campell, who put it past DiPietro to make it 2-2 after 40 minutes.
With just under 13 minutes left, the Bruins regained the lead when Lucic took a pass from Nathan Horton and fired a pass from the right circle to the tape of Chara. The Bruins captain snapped a wrist shot from the slot past DiPietro to give the Bruins the lead with 12:53 remaining. It was his first goal of the season and he pumped both hands in the air in relief after the goal. Read the rest of this entry »
|Why Claude Julien is a perfect fit for the Bruins||07.24.12 at 3:49 pm ET|
There are plenty of reasons Peter Chiarelli and Bruins management decided to extend the contract of Claude Julien this week.
First of all, his contract was expired after last season.
Secondly, no one else since Harry Sinden has been behind the bench as the Bruins won the Stanley Cup.
And thirdly, no one is more respected for his ability to blend character, discipline and humor the way Julien has since taking over for Dave Lewis after the 2006-07 season.
There’s another much more subtle reason to keep Julien behind the bench for the Black and Gold – stability. Should the Bruins and the rest of the NHL not figure out their pending labor issues by the Sept. 15 deadline, the season could easily be shortened, and like the NFL and NBA in 2011, teams may have to wing it to get their teams ready for competition.
No one knows more what he wants or expects from the Bruins than Julien.
“The one thing you try to do as a coach is keep things fresh,” Julien said at his contract extension press conference at TD Garden Tuesday. “Every year you try to attack certain areas that will maybe change just a little bit that will give guys a fresher look. That’s how you keep your team interested, intact and hopefully competitive.”
To Chiarelli, what he sees is a coach over five years that hasn’t just won a Stanley Cup, he’s instilled just the right amount of discipline, walking that fine line between motivation and expectation from his players.
“Leadership in a coach manifests itself different ways with different people,” Chiarelli said. “To me, I like to talk about a coach’s persona. His person in a venue like this [press conference] and his persona in the room. It’s about commanding respect. It’s about motivating the players in a respectful way and a professional way. It’s about the ideas, the formats, the approaches. It’s all professional, it’s all to an end. There’s a plan.
“Claude’s ability to have that persona and have players respect what he stands for and to be able to deliver that message in a way that engages them, that’s what I see as leadership and that’s what Claude has, and a large part of that leadership is character.”
For Julien, there have been rocky times to be sure. Remember the May 13, 2010 when the Flyers completed their comeback from 3-0 down to eliminate the Bruins? Remember in their Cup run of 2011 when P.K. Subban scored to force overtime in Game 7 in the first round. If the Bruins don’t win that game, it’s a near certainty that Julien is not up on the dais Tuesday talking about his vision for the Bruins. Even this year, when the Bruins were fading a bit in the final two months of the season, falling from first to third in the East, there were whispers that players were tuning out Julien. Read the rest of this entry »
|Patrice Bergeron and Bruins powerless to stop Caps when it mattered most||04.26.12 at 11:52 am ET|
It was as if the hockey gods were sending a message to the Bruins.
Jason Chimera hugged Johnny Boychuk ever so briefly, as the two went to the ice in the Bruins defensive zone. Chimera was called for a highly suspect and questionable holding penalty with 2:26 left in regulation of a 1-1 contest in Game 7.
If the Bruins could muster simply one power play goal, they almost certainly would be headed on to the second round and have escaped a first-round scare like they did in 2011.
But all the Bruins could muster was a harmless shot from the high slot from Brian Rolston as the power play dwindled to a precious few seconds. As was the case for most of the series, the Bruins could even get the puck on the sticks of the playmakers to organize a threat.
One shot on the season’s most important power play chance. Scoreless in three chances in Game 7. Two goals in 23 power play chances in the series.
Even when the hockey gods tempted, the Bruins could not control their own fate.
No one felt the pain more than Patrice Bergeron, who was playing with an arm/shoulder injury so bad he couldn’t take faceoffs in Games 6 and 7.
“It’s obvious that we had to better on the power play and we didn’t do that and at least create some momentum out of it and I don’t think we did that,” Bergeron said. “But, more than that I think it’s about especially Game 7, you have to find ways.”
The Bruins were very, very lucky last year to win the Stanley Cup with an inept power play for three rounds. This year, it would be why they are eliminated after one round.
“When you talk about [the game], that’s probably the most frustrating part of our game, was that power play that could have ended the series and the game,” added Bruins coach Claude Julien. “But, I guess, when you look at the whole picture, I think it was more than that. At the end of the series, you look at their team, and you look at ours, and they were the better team. They had more guys going than we did, and they played us tough. It was unfortunate that we’ve got to look at this one incident because it did play a big role in, but a lot of the damage had been done before that as well.”
It was Bergeron who had the series-winning shot on his stick 40 seconds into overtime, only to have Karl Alzner come over and interrupt glory, knocking Bergeron and the puck off target.
“It kind of exploded ‘ just rolled on my stick and the puck was bouncing I just tried to go quick because obviously there wasn’t a lot of time and the puck wouldn’t settle,” Bergeron said.
“You look at all the overtime goals in this series, it’s always like that. It’s a tough break or a lucky bounce and the other team doesn’t get that and I think that’s what it is. It’s overtime, it’s one shot so yeah.”
Bergeron is captain material.
All you have to do is listen to him not address the seriousness of his arm injury following the toughest loss of the year to appreciate his leadership.
“I don’t want to use that [excuse],” Bergeron said. “I’ll let [media] know, I don’t want to talk about it right now if you guys don’t mind. Obviously on the checkout day so I’ll let you guys know.
“It’s there, it was a little better but not much better but like I said I don’t want to use that as an excuse right now. It’s a tough one to swallow and I really don’t want to put that on an injury. I’m not the only one that goes through that stuff.”
|Dennis Seidenberg: ‘We didn’t play our best hockey’||04.26.12 at 1:49 am ET|
The best player on the ice for the Bruins in the seven games against the Capitals couldn’t make up for one huge deficiency — the Bruins couldn’t defend home ice.
“I mean, no, last year it was [an advantage] for us, this year not so much,” defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. “We just, when first stepping into this didn’t seem to have our legs on. We just didn’t get anything going, it was more like a ping-pong match going back and forth until we found our rhythm in the second period, but the home ice wasn’t really there.”
Indeed, in the 2011 the Bruins went 10-3 on home ice in winning their first Stanley Cup in 39 years. One year later, they barely won 1-0 in overtime in Game 1 at home and lost the next three at the Garden to see their dreams of back-to-back Cups come to a crashing halt.
“It was a long year,” Seidenberg said. “We had a few ups and downs, longer ups than downs. At the end, we came out of it strong and we seemed to find our rhythm going into the playoffs. But then again, we didn’t play our best hockey in this series. They played us well. It was tough.
“It’s definitely a weird feeling. It’s an empty feeling. You’re wondering what’s going to happen. You don’t really realize it’s over. It’s summer now. It’s going to be a long summer. A couple of bounces here or there, it could’ve gone the other way. You always have to look at it from a different perspective. The next couple of days, it’s going to sink in, probably.”
Seidenberg gave props to the seventh-seeded Capitals for hanging in as long as they did to have the chance to land the knockout punch on the champs.
“Well, they played us very well,” Seidenberg said. “They never really gave us momentum, they played very patient defensively and always used their chances to their advantage, I guess, in overtime. They just played a great series and their goalie played well and now it’s just a really weird, empty feeling, I guess.
“I mean, we totally took them serious. We knew how explosive they are offensively and how solid they are defensively. They were set to play a solid game, they seem to take our speed away pretty well all throughout the ice, and that’s what made it hard for us to penetrate on the outside or even to the middle with speed into their offensive zone.”
|Tim Thomas: ‘Our guys … are still champions’||04.26.12 at 1:28 am ET|
Just minutes after letting in the series-deciding goal three minutes into overtime, Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said he couldn’t believe the team’s chances at a repeat had ended so suddenly.
“I’d have to say I’m probably in shock,” Thomas said after Joel Ward tapped in Mike Knuble‘s rebound at 2:57 of overtime. “I really believed that we were going to win tonight. I thought that, I really had a deep feeling that this wasn’t the end of the road for us tonight, that this wasn’t going to be the last game of the season. And so that’s my first reaction.”
The Capitals broke out on a 2-on-1 on the game-winning rush when Benoit Pouliot couldn’t dump in the puck deep on an attempted Bruins’ line change.
“Well obviously you see Knuble coming down with the puck and coming to the net hard,” Thomas said. “He had himself in a position, he’s a big strong guy where it looked like to me where he could cut across the net or he could go both ways. So I had to play him straight up, and he got, when he got in closer to me it got stuck on his backhand there, so I was just trying to play him honest and wait for him to take the shot. I didn’t want to go down until after he took the, released the puck because I didn’t want him to be able to go up and over my pad.
“And then he threw, they he put it at the net backhand and his momentum continued into me. I’m not, I’m not calling sour grapes, but it’s reality and it pushed me out of the way just enough to open up the net for Ward to put it in. I didn’t even see [Joel] Ward put it in. I knew the rebound was going that way but I had guys, well my head was probably in about his stomach, right. I don’t have a picture of it in my head even because I couldn’t, so, it’s, you just hear the crowd and you see them going crazy so you know something happened.”
For the first time in Stanley Cup playoff history, all seven games were decided by one goal.
“I think both teams battled very hard,” Thomas said. “They stuck to their game plan. They made it very difficult for us to generate any offense or any momentum with the style that they played. What it says about our guys is that they’re battlers and they’re, well they’re still champions. And they gave everything they had to the bitter end. Unfortunately this is sports and they fell short this time.
“Well, it’s obviously a very difficult thing. That’s why nobody’s done it in a long time. But having said that, I thought we had a better chance than most. I thought that if we could get past this first round hurdle that we would pick up some energy and momentum. I mean, I had the picture in my head of holding the Cup again this year. And I thought, I believed in that this team still had what it took to get it done, even with that short summer and everything else.”
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