|Claude Julien in closeout state of mind: ‘We’re going to do whatever it takes’ to win Game 4||05.23.13 at 1:22 pm ET|
NEW YORK — Short and sweet.
That’s the way both coaches kept their press conferences on Thursday before Game 4 and that’s the way the Bruins would like to wrap up their Eastern Conference semifinal series tonight at Madison Square Garden.
“We’re here to win a hockey game tonight,” Claude Julien said at the beginning of his 98-second press briefing. “We’re going to do whatever it takes.”
Julien’s press conference was about a minute longer than John Tortorella‘s press briefing with reporters, that was limited to two questions.
Speaking of Julien, the Bruins coach was asked about the importance of the home crowd at MSG, and keeping the New York fans on their hands.
“As important as it has been in every game,” Julien said. “Whether at home or away, you get the crowd in or crowd out. That’s not going to change.
“I think we want to play a 60-minute game. That just shows the character of our guys playing hard right ot the end. It’s a great thing to have and you hope you can keep it.”
Brad Richards has been informed that he’s been benched for tonight as a healthy scratch and Aaron Asham is likely to sit out as well.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Julien said.
“I think it’s going to be more difficult just because they’re going to have two players who are going to step in there and want to change the game and they’ll probably be their two best players tonight,” Daniel Paille said. “It’ll most likely going to be a low-scoring game and make sure we’re not panicking out there and stay focused on our system and things will go well for us.”
As for Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden, both of whom skated with the team Thursday, Julien said he won’t reveal anything until game time.
“Our lineups will be on the ice tonight for warmups and that’s all I’m going to say about that,” Julien said.
As for the players, they’re taking the typical one-game-at-a-time approach.
“I don’t think we focus too much on sweeping,” Paille said. “We focus more on today. Obviously, it’s great to look at on paper but there’s a lot that goes into that. Everyone is in a confident, positive attitude and we want to continue that trend today.”
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NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to preview Game 4 of the Bruins-Rangers playoff series.
The Bruins are looking to close out the series with a sweep, but Brickley said he does not expect the Rangers to lay down.
“They’re not going to want to lose on home ice,” Brickley said. “They’re not going to want to go down four straight to this Bruins team. They want to force a Game 5. They absolutely have a lot of pride. They’re professional athletes. They’re a team that was expected to do something this year, and the opportunities are sliding away quickly. So, I expect them to bring their ‘A’ game, and I expected their goaltender to play as well as he did in Game 3.”
The Bruins are coming off an impressive win in Game 3, as they delivered a solid effort for 60 minutes and scored two third-period goals to pull out the win.
“The thing I loved about the Bruins in Game 3 was no Jekyll and Hyde persona that Claude [Julien] likes to talk about; far more consistent,” Brickley said. “The best measure is quality scoring chances given up, and you can count them on one hand against [Tuukka] Rask in Game 3. Even though they needed two goals in the third period, the Bruins were never in any real trouble despite the one goal that beat Rask through a whole bunch of bodies from a screen on that shot by [Ryan] McDonagh from the point.
“The only thing that concerned you a little bit was the scoring chances that they had in the first period and were unable to beat [Henrik] Lundqvist. But their mentality coming into the series was that’s what they expected from Lundqvist all along, even though they didn’t get it in Games 1 and 2. So, I think the Bruins mentally and emotionally were prepared for that kind of performance. And they just try to stay on the attack and play to their identity, which was to roll those four lines.
“What they’ve shown us in this series is incredible depth that they have. No [Dennis] Seidenberg, no [Andrew] Ference, no [Wade] Redden. You get [Matt] Bartkowski, [Torey] Krug and [Dougie] Hamilton, and that gives you a different dynamic to your team — that speed, quickness and mobility on the back end. But I think you also saw their depth in Game , with your fourth line and the matchups you get with that fourth line and how good they played, with experience and with familiarity and their forechecking game — simple, fundamental and effective. And they end up being difference-makers on the scoresheet.”
The Bruins’ lack of success in non-Game 7 closeout games over the past three years has been well-documented. Brickley said the B’s appear to be better equipped to provide a finishing touch Thursday.
“I still have memories of Game 5 on home ice against Toronto, up 3-1,” Brickley said. “The way [the Bruins] responded in Game 3 [vs. the Rangers] makes me think that they’re far more prepared — mentally, physically, emotionally — for a closeout game situation. They needed three closeout games to beat the Leafs. You hope it’s a lesson learned. I expect the Bruins, since they’ve found some consistency now in their game, that they’ll be far better tonight.”
|Wednesday practice notes: Claude Julien likes where his team is right now||05.22.13 at 4:49 pm ET|
NEW YORK — The Bruins have the look of a very confident team right now, as well they should being up 3-0 in the Eastern Conference semifinals and getting stronger and stronger with each game.
But Claude Julien knows full well he’s going to hear plenty about being up 3-0 in 2010 against the Flyers and 3-1 against the Maple Leafs last round, showing incredible difficulty in closing out in both cases.
“I think we live in the moment,” Julien said, sounding a highly philosophical tone. “You learn from the past but you live in the moment but you don’t live in the past. So, right now, we’re living in the moment. I like where our team is right now.
“The attitude, the approach and we’re certainly not looking at it the way all the people are going to look at it and try and find reasons to give New York some hope and say, ‘Look these guys have done this and these guys have had trouble doing this.’ We’re certainly not even going there. We’re looking at the present right now and the present is getting prepared to play a real good game [Thursday], kind of like we played [Tuesday].”
Julien, repeating the theme of taking nothing for granted, said a closeout of the Rangers will require an effort as good – if not better than – Tuesday’s performance in Game 3.
“I think if we don’t take the same attitude as we took [Tuesday], then we shouldn’t expect to win the hockey game,” Juilen said.
Other notes from Wednesday’s practice:
It was a light turnout for a laid-back practice on the ice as Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference, Rich Peverley, David Krejci, Daniel Paille, Adam McQuaid, Johnny Boychuck, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic all had the day off from skating. Bergeron and Marchand were among those working on their hand-eye skills with a soccer ball in the hallway outside the Bruins dressing room.
The Bruins skated for about 40 minutes before calling it a day.
Claude Julien said both Seidenberg and Redden are making significant progress each day and their status will be evaluated Thursday. Meanwhile, Ference (lower body), who hasn’t played since Game 5 against Toronto, is still nursing an injury that has put him on the sidelines indefinitely.
“He’s doing OK,” Julien said. “He’s improving although you haven’t seen him on the ice. Better. I haven’t talked to our trainers about his return date to the ice but I think it’s getting closer all the time.”
|Claude Julien: ‘We’re a very focused group right now’||at 12:06 am ET|
In the wake of a 2-1 win in Game 3 that leaves them one win from the Eastern Conference finals, Bruins coach Claude Julien says he can sense his team has found its groove.
‘We’re a very focused group right now, and the challenge is to stay there.’ Julien said. ‘After the second period, we’re playing a good road period. I thought with a couple of breaks in the first period, we could’ve been ahead. We didn’t care if we had to go to overtime, we just wanted to get that first goal.
‘There’s no doubt. I don’t only see it on the ice, I feel it in the dressing room everywhere else. The Jekyll and Hyde thing I haven’t seen since midway through the Toronto series.’
Since falling behind 4-1 with 11 minutes left in the third period of Game 7 against Toronto, the Bruins have outscored the competition 14-3 while winning four straight games.
The Bruins also handed New York its first home ice loss of the playoffs after the Rangers won Games 3, 4 and 6 on Madison Square Garden ice in the first round against Washington.
‘You have to be proud of your team,’ Julien said. ‘[Playing] a Rangers team that hadn’t lost here in a long time, playing well here in the playoffs. We had to be better. We’re playing well and eventually get that goal and it came.’
|Claude Julien on Game 3: ‘It’s what we expect from ourselves’ that matters||05.21.13 at 10:15 am ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien is convinced that the outcome of Game 3 won’t hinge on the desperation of the Rangers as much as it will from the execution of his own team.
The Rangers are in the same 0-2 hole heading into tonight’s Game 3 at Madison Square Garden that they were in the first round against the Capitals, while the Bruins find themselves two wins away from a trip to the Eastern Conference finals.
“Doesn’t matter, I think it’s what we expect from ourselves,” Julien said. “That’s the thing, we always worry about the other team; we need to worry about ourselves. When we play well, we’re a good team and we give ourselves a chance to win. It’s more about our expectations right now, that has to be the important topic for us. We need to, obviously, understand they’re going to be better; we also need to be better. We’re on the road, we don’t get the last change, so it will be a tougher situation.”
One thing the Bruins know they must cut down is the number of turnovers. They committed 16 on Sunday in Game 2, and two of them led to New York’s only two goals of the game. The Rangers committed just one, and still the Bruins dominated in a 5-2 win.
“Oh, I think it was us,” Julien said when asked if the turnovers were self-inflicted. “When you look at some of those turnovers, David Krejci, just inside the blue line, turns around and it’s intercepted; you could see it coming from the bench. You could see the passes from our end on their sticks. A lot of that stuff was of our own doing. I think we can be better in that area, although we played a pretty game, I think most of those things came in the second period. We just have to be a little bit better. I thought our third period was much better in regards to puck management.”
“I thought our transition game has been better,” Julien said. “Obviously, the young guys have been doing that, but so have our veterans that were in our the lineup the last couple of games. That’s been pretty consistent from our back end, so that’s helped a lot. Those guys are part of that group; they seem to have enough poise to make the right plays, so it’s helped our game a lot.”
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|Claude Julien: ‘Possibility’ B’s start getting defensemen back Sunday||05.17.13 at 1:21 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien said Friday that there is a possibility the B’s could start getting some of their injured defensemen back as early as Sunday’s Game 2 against the Rangers. Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden all missed Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals due to undisclosed injuries.
The Bruins did not practice on Friday, but Seidenberg did walk through their dressing room without a limp during media availability.
“It’s a little early to say,” Julien said of his injured defensemen. “It is two days [of rest] and two days in the playoffs makes a big difference as far as getting guys back. So, there’s a possibility, that much I can say. Whether it will or not, too early to say right now.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Here comes John Tortorella||05.16.13 at 1:47 pm ET|
Rangers coach John Tortorella grew up around these parts. He went to high school at Concord-Carlisle and played college hockey at Maine. Now the Rangers’ head coach is back in New England to coach against the Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals, so how does he —
“Don’t ask me questions about me,” Tortorella said. “Ask me about the team, please.”
And we’re off.
Tortorella is known for his unusual dealings with the media. Like Bill Belichick, he doesn’t have much interest in divulging information or patience for questions he doesn’t like, but unlike Belichick, he can be confrontational about it. That’s not a knock on him; it’s just the way he is with the media.
On Thursday, Claude Julien‘s press conference concluded with Channel 7’s Rhett Lewis asking if the Boston coach had any pointers for getting reporters to answer their questions.
“I’m sure he’s excited about answering your questions,” Juien said with a grin. “Good luck, guys!”
And then Julien, almost in drop-the-mic fashion, got up and left. Then Tortorella came in, and things weren’t so funny.
On both Wednesday and Thursday, Julien had some nice words for Tortorella, saying Thursday that even though he didn’t plan on talking to him during the series, he can appreciate him as a coach.
“I certainly respect him for what he’s done and who he is,” Julien said. “He has his own personality and I’m one of those people that respect people for who they are. I’ve had some good chats with John in the past.”
Tortorella didn’t exactly return the favor.
“I’m not going to talk about him,” he said. “I’ll talk about the Rangers.”
“I don’t coach him,” he said. “I’ll answer questions about the Rangers.”
Tortorella was then asked about getting more zone time on the power play as the Rangers’ first-round series against the Capitals went on. The Rangers were 2-for-28 on the man advantage against the Capitals over the seven-game series.
“Eh, it still wasn’t good,” Tortorella said of the power play.
The Rangers’ coach isn’t a man of many words, but this will certainly be an interesting series with him around.
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