|Claude Julien still has confidence in a ‘more poised’ Tomas Kaberle||05.20.11 at 8:43 pm ET|
TAMPA — No one in black and gold felt the heat more late in the season and during the first two rounds than Tomas Kaberle. But the Bruins and Claude Julien believe the 33-year-old veteran blueliner has turned a corner – with his confidence.
The Bruins coach knows his players better than anyone and he could see that the defenseman obtained at the trade deadline to bolster a lagging power play was pressing and struggling.
Julien tried everything. He sat him more. He played him more. Finally, last week, Julien took some of the burden off his shoulders by talking to him and letting him know that he and the team still believe he will help the team at critical times and that there was no reason to be putting the struggles of the Bruins power play unit on his shoulders.
It was during Tuesday night’s 6-5 shootout win in Boston that Julien could really start to sense that Kaberle was heeding the message. Ironic that Julien would see Kaberle start to shine in a high-scoring game, of all things. On Thursday, during a more typical 2-0 shutout win, Julien could see the confidence growing in the veteran defenseman as he and Bruins’ D cleared lanes for Tim Thomas to see and stop all 31 shots.
“I don’t know if it was our best but obviously, it was good enough to win a hockey game,” Kaberle said of the Bruins’ team D effort. “And Timmy behind us was playing pretty well and he saw a lot of shots and we spent a lot of time in their end. When we do that we have a good chance to win a hockey game.”
“I think he’s played really well in the last couple of games,” Julien said Friday. “And we had a conversation about maybe taking some pressure off his shoulders about everything that wasn’t going right about the power play. Fingers kept pointing at him.” Read the rest of this entry »
TAMPA — Despite a dominating defensive perfomance in Game 3 and watching his team record its first shutout of the playoffs, Bruins coach Claude Julien isn’t letting his team think about what could be if they win their next two games. Julien was asked Friday if being two wins away from the team’s first Stanley Cup finals appearance in 21 years provides motivation.
“We don’t even talk about that, honestly,” Julien said. “Right now, all we’ve talked about is how important a game tomorrow is for us. We don’t want to live in the past. Yesterday was yesterday. [Saturday] is what we want to talk about. We want to live in the present. And today is about getting some good rest and making sure that tomorrow we’re well rested, we’ve got the energy and the focus to do a job. That’s what we’ve been doing since the start.
“And that’s what’s helped us get through it. The same thing in Montreal. We lost the first two games. We went to Montreal not thinking about the two losses but what we had to do that night. It’s really helped us get through things, and that’s what our guys are all about right now. So I don’t have to worry about what you just asked, because we’re not thinking that way.”
The players would certainly appear to be heeding the message.
“You can’t take any situation for granted,” Milan Lucic said after Friday’s mainly optional skate at St. Pete Times Forum. “You can’t take any team for granted, and that’s what we’ve done so well. We’ve got to keep being determined to push for more.”
“At this point, there’s not much you can say,” Lucic added. “You’ve got to know what needs to be done, and when they speak, you can learn a lot from them. They’ve done a great job leading the way so far, and hopefully they keep leading the way and staying vocal and getting us ready for every situation.”
The Bruins play Game 4 against the Lightning Saturday afternoon at 1:30 at St. Pete Times Forum before returning to Boston for Game 5 Monday night in Boston.
TAMPA — Three key stars of Thursday night’s 2-0 win over the Lightning in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals were given the day off on Friday from the team’s brief practice at St. Pete Times Forum.
Captain Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas and David Krejci were all absent as the team skated and went through drills for about 40 minutes in preparation for Game 4 Saturday afternoon in Tampa. Krejci scored the game’s first goal 69 seconds into the opening period Thursday while Tim Thomas turned away all 31 Lightning shots in recording the team’s first shutout of the 2011 playoffs.
Veterans Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Recchi were also given the day off. The Bruins will be looking to take a 3-1 series lead before the series shifts back to Boston for Game 5 Monday night at TD Garden.
The Bruins will be looking to take a 3-1 series lead before the series shifts back to Boston for Game 5 Monday night at TD Garden.
TAMPA — When doctors gave Patrice Bergeron the go-ahead, he was 100 percent confident that he would be 100 percent when he stepped on the ice Thursday night for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning.
“I was confident that I was ready, and the doctors and trainers were in the same boat as me,” Bergeron said. “So, it was time for me to be out there.”
Most importantly, there was zero hesitation from his coach.
“Not at all, as far as the hit was concerned,” Claude Julien said. “If that would have been a concern, I don’t think we would have dressed him tonight. When we decided to dress him, he was 100 percent. And we felt confident about that.
So that hit certainly wasn’t a concern, and when I spoke to Patrice today, when he was cleared, my first question to him was, ‘Are you comfortable coming back?’ And there was no doubt in his mind. He said, ‘I’m fine, I’m ready to go.’ And that was something that was important, I guess, for everybody.” Read the rest of this entry »
TAMPA — Tim Thomas recorded his first shutout of the playoffs Thursday night as the Bruins beat the Lightning, 2-0, Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals. Afterward, Thomas credited the result on a return to the defensive system the team has played all season.
“It was kind of a product of the way the game goes in front of me,” Thomas explained. “So I was able to play more under control tonight, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that we played the way that I’m used to. So I felt comfortable in a game like that.”
Thomas turned away all 31 shots in posting his second career playoff shutout. Thomas said David Krejci‘s goal just 69 seconds into the game helped him and the whole team relax and settle into a defensive mindset.
“I think getting the first quick goal definitely helped the whole team,” Thomas added. “And then not just sitting back in the third but going out and getting that second goal made us able to stay relaxed and calm throughout the whole game.”
TAMPA — After his team recorded its first shutout of the playoffs, Bruins coach Claude Julien said the the 2-0 win was more like the defensive battle everyone was expecting between the Bruins and Lightning in the Eastern Conference final. He added that he was also happy his team came out on the right end.
“I think tonight’s game probably resembles a lot more of what I think everybody expected from this series, two teams that make it hard for you to score, and I thought our team tonight was very good in regards to that,” Julien said. “We made some stronger plays, some better decisions, and seemed a little bit more aware out there of what was going on. So comparing it to last game where I thought it was pretty sloppy, I thought we bounced back well tonight.”
“I really liked the way he played,” Julien said. “Obviously, you see the difference he can make for our hockey club faceoff-wise, but also his responsibility at both ends of the ice. His line was definitely better. His linemates obviously felt comfortable because they’ve been with him all year. So there was some chemistry there. And that certainly helped us tonight. I liked the fact that we had our four lines that were pretty stable and pretty good for us and very reliable.”
|Don’t expect more ‘pond hockey’ between Bruins and Lightning for Game 3||05.19.11 at 1:19 pm ET|
TAMPA — Steven Stamkos may only be 21 years old but he certainly can articulate like a crafty and well-versed veteran in the ways of winning playoff hockey.
He also proved Thursday morning in the hours before Game 3 at St. Pete Times Forum that he was playing close attention to what his coach was preaching and teaching during film analysis of the Game 2 loss to the Bruins Tuesday night at TD Garden.
After the game Tuesday, Guy Boucher spoke of how his team got into pond hockey and lost the race. He told his players in film study that he didn’t want that to happen again, even if it means giving up some scoring chances that came from desperate hockey in the third period.
“I don’t think for us there is a fine line,” Stamkos said. “I think that line doesn’t exist. We don’t want to play that run-and-gun pond hockey. That’s not our structure. That’s not how we’ve won games this year. At the end of the day, we had a lot of scoring chances, probably moreso that any other game we’ve played, maybe all year, but we didn’t win the game. Read the rest of this entry »
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