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Claude Julien calls out his team: ‘Too many mediocre players’ 10.27.13 at 12:32 pm ET
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Claude Julien. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Claude Julien. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

The reaction of head coach Claude Julien was fairly predictable after his team blew a 3-1 lead to the Devils and lost, 4-3, Saturday night at TD Garden.

“Even when we had the 3-1 lead in the second there I thought we missed a couple of real good opportunities,” Julien began. “But I don’t really think that’s where the game was played. Had a good start compared to the other night; much better in the first. But we kind of faltered after that. I thought the second period we allowed them to get back in the game and they were a better team as well. They won battles and especially in our own end they had us bottled in there and were out-muscling us and coming up with pucks and they got themselves within a goal and that kind of gave them life for the third.”

The Bruins were not good on the penalty kill Saturday, an area of excellence late in the regular season and playoffs last spring. They allowed four power play goals, though one of them was a very rare 6-on-3 opportunity for the Devils, when Torey Krug was called for a double-minor high sticking and Patrice Bergeron was tagged with a delay of game. The Devils pulled Martin Brodeur and they finally got the 3-3 equalizer with under two minutes left.

“But our penalty kill obviously faltered and wasn’t good enough; when you allow four power play goals in a game that’s not a good sign for a win. So that certainly didn’t help. But again, I thought we had too many mediocre players tonight and those things kind of create those situations.”

As for the penalties themselves, Julien knows his team needs to be more aware, especially when clearing the puck out of their own end.

“It is a costly penalty,” Julien said of the delay of game calls on Bergeron and earlier on Zdeno Chara. “Both pucks over the glass ended up being a goal against and those are tough penalties to take, but rules are rules. At the same time, the high stick, it is a high stick. You have to be in control of your stick, so it was deemed a four minute, which I thought was the right call. So they scored on their opportunities that they had and unfortunately, like I said, our penalty kill wasn’t up to the task.

“To me, we had one line going and we needed more. Like I said too many mediocre guys whether it’s hitting a wall, whatever the case may be it just wasn’t good enough. We had the day off yesterday to give those guys a rest but three games in four nights isn’t always an easy thing to go through and you wish you could have pulled this one through and had a real good week but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. We have to regroup, and another back-to-back and another three in four coming up there next week so hopefully we learn from that.”

The Bruins have another three-in-four nights scenario this week when they play in Pittsburgh Wednesday night before playing Anaheim on Thursday and on the road against the Islanders next Saturday.

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Jarome Iginla on his slow start to season: ‘I’ve been here many times’ 10.15.13 at 1:57 pm ET
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Jarome Iginla

Jarome Iginla

The numbers are not pretty for 36-year-old Jarome Iginla to start the Boston portion of his career.

No goals, one assist in five games on 19 shots.

The effort is there, like the rest of the team. But like the rest of the Bruins, the finishing touch has yet to be put on his work. After failing to get the right winger at the trade deadline last spring, the Bruins signed him to a one-year, $6 million deal in the summer with the hopes of successfully replacing Nathan Horton and giving another right wing – 22-year-old Jordan Caron – more time to mature.

Last season, he had one goal in his first 16 games before finishing with 14 between Calgary and Pittsburgh. In 2011-12, he opened with two goals in his first 10 games and four in his first 15. The year before? Two goals in his first 17 games, before breaking out with a hat trick in Game No. 18.

“Unfortunately, I’ve been here many times,” Iginla said Monday. “It’s all part of the game and you just try to work hard and keep going and keep getting the chances and always keep saying that the next one is going to go in.”

Iginla is getting his chances with David Krejci and Milan Lucic and the general consensus is that he looks more in tune with with his linemates in his first five games than fellow newcomer Loui Eriksson on the second line with Patrice Bergeron with Brad Marchand line.

“Krech and Looch have been playing great and working hard and I’m trying to work hard with them and like I’ve said I’ve had really good chances for a number of games,” Iginla said. “Whenever you win you never feel as bad, you just shrug it off and say next time. But whenever you lose by a goal it always feels a lot worse when you know that one of those could have made a difference. But keep going and like I said I’ve been here before and you just keep working through it and stay positive and keep trying to get open and like I say, keep believing the next one goes in.”

In an attempt to get Iginla some momentum, Claude Julien placed Iginla on Boston’s 5-on-3 power play unit. Good chances, a couple of missed shots but still no dice.

“I think I had a few of them but two were good ones, one I just missed probably by a couple inches the top right corner, one I missed by a mile and that was just trying to hard and too excited and just missed it,” Iginla said. “But I thought – when you’re feeling it those go in and unfortunately they didn’t. It was an important time of the game, it could have been a big difference. And you get out there in those situations and you definitely want to help the team and feel responsibility, all of us out there. So when you don’t score when you have a two minute one it stings but at the same time I think the guys did a great job and just keep going almost to that last second and really we almost found a way to get it to over time there.

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Claude Julien: ‘We’re really struggling with our finish lately’ 10.15.13 at 10:19 am ET
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Claude Julien is trying to fire up his team to find the scoring touch. (AP)

Claude Julien is trying to fire up his team to find the scoring touch. (AP)

Claude Julien isn’t about to panic about his team’s lack of finish to start the season.

After all, the Bruins have been through this before in the last several seasons and eventually found their touch when it mattered most late in the season.

Still, Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Red Wings stung because the Bruins not only have five power play chances but a 5-on-3 for nearly a full two minutes and had good puck possession time in the offensive end but couldn’t get one past Jonas Gustavsson. The Bruins have just 12 goals in five games. Only Buffalo and Ottawa have scored fewer in the new eight-team Atlantic Division.

“We’re really struggling with our finish lately,” Julien said. “It looks like we’re feeling the pressure of scoring goals and they’re not coming easy. So it’s been like that. Even the game in Columbus, took us a while to get going there, obviously Colorado. So I think our goal scoring confidence is probably not where we’d like it to be right now but you have to work through those things.”

As for the experience of having gone through this before, Julien says there are similar tendencies he seen over the years.

“We go through that it seems like every year at some point,” Julien added. “You’re seeing guys either fanning or shooting over the net. There were some scrambles there today where everybody thought the puck was going in the net and whether the goalie stops it or pucks are bouncing it doesn’t matter; the confidence isn’t there right now. So wait on that when the confidence comes back; you’re going to see us score some goals because we feel we have some guys that can score goals on this team.”

The only player who seems to be gripping the stick tighter than anyone right now – by his own admission – is Jarome Iginla. The star forward is still looking for his first goal in a Bruins uniform. He had five more shots on goal on Monday and 19 for the season in five games and still nothing.

“I had some great looks,” Iginla said. “I’ve had great looks for a few games. And pretty much I’ve been getting more chances and you get to a five on three you get chances like that you want to score. I think I missed the net on a couple goals, I think it’s probably just being a little too anxious. Just lifting my head up and you want to get that goal for the team and just get one and get feeling it. At times you squeeze a little too hard, its all those clichés, sayings you hear, you try to swing a little too hard and lift my head a little bit. And just not in a grove there where you just want to kind of will it in the net as opposed to let it happen.”

“I think he can shoot the puck a lot better than we’ve seen him because we know he’s a good shooter,” Julien said. “So, whether that’s pressing or whether that’s circumstances I don’t know. But he’s been around the league long enough, he’s going to find his way and he’s going to score some goals for us and he’s going to be the player that we thought he would be for our hockey club. So right now it just isn’t there and I see maybe a little hesitation in shooting where, when a player has confidence, their release is a little quicker too.”

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Peter Chiarelli: Defensemen like Dennis Seidenberg ‘are hard to find’ 10.03.13 at 10:18 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron still has ‘lingering issues’ from his injuries 09.11.13 at 5:19 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron

Patrice Bergeron

No one could’ve expected Patrice Bergeron to be back at 100 percent so soon.

As it turns out, Bergeron himself admitted Wednesday that he’s still dealing with some aches and pains from the multitude of injuries he sustained in order to help the Bruins try to win the Stanley Cup in late June.

He was back in front of his locker Wednesday for the start of training camp and even passed the conditioning test that allows him to take part in full practices with his team.

To recap, Bergeron suffered a separated shoulder, broken rib, torn rib cage cartilage and, most serious of all, a punctured lung between Games 5 and 6 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Blackhawks.

To see him back on Wednesday for the start of training camp was a great sign but as Claude Julien cautioned later, he still hasn’t been cleared for preseason games.

“If I feel fine in the first couple of practices, and I feel like I can bang around and play physical in the 1-on-1 stuff on the ice, I’ll pretty much feel like I’ll be ready to get going and move forward,” Bergeron said, before acknowledging that he still has to be cautious early on in camp. “I guess the next couple of days will really tell me where I stand with the lingering issues.”

This summer, Bergeron spent most of his time rehabbing instead of traditional training.

“Honestly, I’ve been able to do most of my workouts,” Bergeron said. “It just took me more time to start that and get that going. So, I was doing a lot of rehab early on and after that it was more issues with core and reaching out on my sides too much so I’m not doing too many core exercises and stay away from that as much as possible but otherwise, I was able to do pretty much everything.”

And when he wasn’t rehabbing, he was busy getting married to his longtime girlfriend Stephanie Bertrand.

“It went well,” Bergeron said. “It was a fun day and everything went well.”

Bergeron and Gregory Campbell became icons for Boston sports in the spring when both played through remarkable pain to help the Bruins in the playoffs. Bergeron heard a lot of praise over the summer and offered perspective on it on Wednesday.

“I’ve been told that a few times and to be honest, I’ve talked to Soupy a couple of times already about it,” Bergeron said. “We don’t feel like it was anything special, anything extraordinary to be honest with you. We felt like we were just trying to do our job. Same thing for me, I was just trying to be out there and help the team as much as possible on the ice. I’m 100 percent positive that all the guys would’ve done the same thing, especially late in the season in the finals like that. You want to be out there, helping your teammates out.”

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Claude Julien: Patrice Bergeron and Gregory Campbell ‘cleared’ for practice, not games yet 09.11.13 at 1:02 pm ET
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Claude Julien speaks to reporters Wednesday at the opening of Bruins training camp in Boston. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Claude Julien speaks to reporters Wednesday at the opening of Bruins training camp in Boston. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

On the first day of training camp, Bruins coach Claude Julien announced what would likely be considered good news by all Bruins followers.

Patrice Bergeron and Gregory Campbell both passed their conditioning drills and have been cleared for full practice with the team. Bergeron suffered a punctured lung, a broken rib, a separated shoulder and damaged cartilage at the end of the Stanley Cup finals in late June. Campbell suffered a broken right leg blocking a slap shot from Evgeni Malkin in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

“They’re going to practice with us, they’re going to be on the ice,” Julien announced Wednesday afternoon during his first full press conference of camp. “When it comes time to play those exhibition games, it’ll be obviously a conversation again with our trainers, making sure that if they’re going to play, there’s not a risk factor.”

The Bruins open their seven-game preseason next Monday night in Montreal against the Canadiens, and it’s unlikely either player would be ready to play, though Julien did leave some wiggle room on Wednesday.

“Right now, I would tell you that they would not be cleared to play a game if we started today but that might chance in the upcoming day or in a week from now,” Julien said. “They can practice with the team. It’s just about playing in an exhibition game.”

Julien also confirmed that everyone who took the conditioning test on Wednesday passed. Julien said he took the excellent conditioning of his team as a sign of where they’re at as a group.

“I don’t think I’m going to need time in camp to assess [conditioning or mentality],” Julien said. “I feel it right now. I think our group is in the right place. I like the feeling of our hockey club right now. These tests today just kind of solidified what I thought. Guys are in great shape. It would’ve been easy guys, after finishing so late, to just kind of shut ‘er down for the summer. But they’ve kept themselves in great and they look excited to get off to a new start here.”

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Brad Marchand: ‘We had a good opportunity and it slipped through our fingers’ 06.26.13 at 10:45 pm ET
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Brad Marchand talks Wednesday during Bruins breakup day at TD Garden. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Brad Marchand wasn’t hiding much on Wednesday during breakup day for the Bruins at TD Garden.

Marchand made it clear that he’s still pretty depressed about what happened on Monday night, when a 2-1 lead with less than 90 seconds left turned into a 3-2 loss in the matter of 17 seconds.

While there will be several veterans departing (Andrew Ference, Jaromir Jagr, Jay Pandolfo), the core of a talented young team will remain intact. That was reassuring but only small consolation Wednesday.

“Well, it’s definitely a little reassuring that we know we could potentially have a good team,” Marchand began. “I mean, things always happen, trades and everything like that, but for the most part the foundation is there. But I don’t think it changes what happened, we had a good opportunity and it slipped through our fingers. That was a tough game to swallow.”

But with names like Tyler Seguin, Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Marchand himself, the team figures to make deep runs in the Cup playoffs a habit.

“I mean, you look at a lot of guys on our team are locked in here and they definitely did a great job of making sure were going to have a very good team for a while,” Marchand said. “And we’re very, very fortunate to be a part of this organization and this team. We definitely have a good group in here.”

With so much talk about injuries on Wednesday, did Marchand suffer any injury?

“Just my heart,” he quipped.

How is this year’s loss different that 2012 first-round exit to the Capitals?

“It’s definitely a lot better than losing in the first round, but it’s still disappointing,” Marchand said. “Whether you lose in the first round or the finals, you didn’t win. So it’s definitely different in ways where we made it here and had the opportunity but still didn’t win.”

Now Marchand and the Bruins begin a short summer break before September rolls around.

“It’s definitely going to be a little bit different,” he said. “We finished so late and we start a week early, so, I mean, were going to have to take a little bit less of a break and try to get back right into things quickly and get prepared for that training camp.”

Marchand was held without a point in the six games against Chicago and didn’t score a goal in the final eight games of the playoffs.

“They’re a good team,” Marchand said of the Blackhawks. “They were tough to play against, and things just didn’t go right. It would have been nice to contribute a little more.

“It was a different year. Missing up until Christmas time and coming back in, it was a different season. But you always want to try to improve in all areas of your game. I thought this year I was a little bit better defensively and tried to focus a little bit more on that, but definitely still areas to improve.”

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