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Claude Julien has a message for his team: Stop being ‘cute’ with the puck 04.15.12 at 9:04 am ET
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There’s a four-letter word in hockey – especially during the playoffs.

C-U-T-E

It’s what players hate to be called and it’s what coaches hate to see from their players.

Saturday, Claude Julien saw a bit too much of it from his Bruins in a 2-1 double-overtime loss to the Capitals in Game 2 of their Eastern quarterfinal series.

“They play a patient game,” Julien said. “They sit back, and they get into their 1-4, and if you want to get cute in the neutral zone, then you’re not getting pucks in, but it took us two periods to get ourselves going and get some more opportunities, and instead of using our outside speed and everything else, we just kind of made it easy on them. And, you know, at this stage of the year, you would like to see more net-front traffic, and you would like to see that puck going to the net a little bit more with guys heading in that direction, and we don’t have a good enough commitment in that area right now to win hockey games.”

Julien has seen the commitment from the Chris Kelly line, with Benoit Pouliot and Brian Rolston again combining for the only Bruins goal – as was the case in Thursday’s 1-0 OT win. Now, Julien wants to see Patrice Bergeron‘s line of Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin do the same. Same goes for David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley. Read the rest of this entry »

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Claude Julien and the Bruins can joke about the power play – for now 04.13.12 at 12:58 am ET
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Maybe Claude Julien thought he was going to get out of the 10-minute post-game session with reporters in the press area without being asked the question that hounded the Bruins like a hungry bear last spring.

But then it happened.

How concerned is the Bruins coach about going 0-for-4 on the power play?

“You’re right, it was asked a lot,” Julien joked, responding to the reporter who prefaced the situation in the 2011 playoffs. “So, uh, probably a little bit too much.”

Julien, of course, is referring to the fact the Bruins actually found a way to win the Stanley Cup with an anemic power play for three rounds before actually producing against the Canucks in the finals.

But Thursday, it was back to old – and bad – habits.

The Bruins had six consecutive minutes of power play at the end of the first and beginning of the second. Yes, they got eight shots on Braden Holtby but really no sustained pressure in terms of scoring chances. Jay Beagle took a double-minor for high sticking and Troy Brouwer was called for delay of game.

Fortunately, the Bruins scored the only goal of the game or the second-guessers would be out in force.

“We talked about that,” Julien said. “Our guys weren’t seeing much tonight. There was some openings we could have used, and we were dusting the puck a little bit too much versus shooting it, and, you know, when we made some of those passes, some of those guys should have ripped a shot right way, and instead, we stopped and we started looking for another play.

“You know, it’s unfortunate, because at practice this week, I thought our guys were moving the puck well, and they were finding the openings that we didn’t find tonight. So, we’ll keep working on that and hopefully make it a better situation because there’s no doubt, if we don’t win the game tonight, we’d be talking a lot about that being the reason that we lost. We found a way to win it. We turn the page and work on the things you need to work on.”

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Claude Julien hopeful Johnny Boychuk (knee) will play in Game 1 04.12.12 at 1:17 pm ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien would only say he “hopes” defenseman Johnny Boychuk will be in the lineup Thursday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Capitals.

Based on this week, it would appear that Boychuk should be ready to return after missing the last two games of the regular season with a sprained knee. He participated in Thursday’s morning skate, marking the fourth straight day he’s been on the ice with the team. In practices and line drills, Boychuk has played on the second pairing with Andrew Ference.

Julien would not reveal the healthy scratch among forwards, but it should be either Jordan Caron or Daniel Paille, as the two have shared the left wing on the fourth line this week in practice.

Adam McQuaid (upper-body) and Tuukka Rask (abdomen/groin) will not dress. Anton Khudobin will serve as the team’s backup to Tim Thomas.

Here are the Bruins’ lines:

Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot – Chris Kelly – Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille/Jordan Caron – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara – Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference – Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon – Joe Corvo

Tim Thomas
Anton Khudobin

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Adam McQuaid to miss Game 1 vs. Capitals with upper-body injury 04.11.12 at 12:36 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — The Bruins finally gave a little more news on Adam McQuaid.

McQuaid missed practice for the third straight day Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena. After the skate, B’s coach Claude Julien announced that McQuaid, who is dealing with an upper-body injury, will not be in the lineup for Game 1 against the Capitals Thursday.

Johnny Boychuk and Tuukka Rask practiced for the B’s once again, with Julien saying the team will make a decision on Boychuk’s status Thursday

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Looking to avoid another postseason power outage, Bruins work on man advantage 04.10.12 at 5:23 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — What is the key to Claude Julien‘s power play finding success this postseason?

“Not waiting till the finals, that would be one key,” Julien said Tuesday.

Julien was, of course, referring to last season’s power-play struggles. The 2010-11 Bruins were many things, including the team that got to the Stanley Cup finals without a functioning power play.

They didn’t score a single power-play goal in the first round (0-for-21 over seven games), and the B’s went 5-for-61 on the man advantage in the playoffs before waking up with a 5-for-27 showing against the Canucks.

This season, the Bruins finished the regular 15th in the league on the man advantage, converting 17.1 percent of the time. However, the man advantage crawled to the finish line, going converting on just two of 21 power plays in the last 10 regular-season games.

On Tuesday, the Bruins worked on their power play, with the first unit consisting of Zdeno Chara, Joe Corvo, David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Brian Rolston, while the second unit featured Dennis Seidenberg, Rich Peverley, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin.

“This is a little bit of I guess touchy subject for everybody for quite a while now,” Julien said. “I think we finished 15th so we finished in the middle of the pack this year, but again, when you look at our team and you say well we’ve got one guy with 29, 27 goals our scoring is spread we don’t have those [Steven] Stamkoses. We don’t have those kind of guys.”

Regardless of where the Bruins’ man advantage finished in the regular season, the B’s know that it’s all about the playoffs now. Just as the Canucks, who finished the 2010-11 regular season with the best power play in the league (24.3 percent) but went 2-for-33 in the Stanley Cup finals against the Bruins.

“Back in the finals, we played a team that had the number one power play but then they ran into a gritty group of penalty killers and at the end of the day we were able to win that match up,” Julien said. “It goes hand and hand, and we keep working on it everyday because we know that’s an area becomes a challenge for us.”

The Bruins could exceed last season’s first-round power-play performance with a tally on the man advantage Thursday.

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Claude Julien on Tyler Seguin: ‘He knows everybody on his team has his back’ at 2:01 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Moments after captain Zdeno Chara was pointing with his stick and barking at Tyler Seguin Tuesday morning on a power play drill, coach Claude Julien and assistant coach Doug Jarvis came over and had a heart-to-heart with the Bruins’ leading goal scorer this season.

They were simply reminding him to play hard on the power play and play with a “heavy stick” – Julien’s way of saying scoring on the power play and scoring in general, requires more will power in the playoffs than in the regular season.

“Playoffs, a lot of times, it’s all about little details and that’s why we’re going over video,” Seguin said Tuesday. “Even on the ice, obviously, coaches see stuff that they want you to improve on or little details they want you to fix and sometimes, as a player, you see something different. You just compare notes without crossing the line and just get prepared.”

Julien knows that Seguin – with his 29 goals – will be a marked man by Dale Hunter‘s Washington Capitals much more than he was at the start of the Stanley Cup championship run 12 months ago. Julien and Chara just want Seguin to be ready for that hunt beginning Thursday night in Game 1 at the Garden.

“I think he knows everybody on his team has his back, and all he has to do is go out there and compete and be ready to face that kind of challenge,” Julien said. “If we want him to be a better player, he has to be able to face those kind of challenges and face them with a positive result. He has to be able to work his way through and we expect him to be able to do that.”

For his part, Seguin downplayed being a focal point of Washington’s defensive game plan.

“I don’t really know about that. If you look at our team, there wasn’t exactly much gap between [players],” Seguin said. “We’re pretty close. We had [six] 20-goal scorers. That’s what makes our team pretty dangerous.”

“I don’t think he’s been bad at that this year whenever things were a little tough,” Julien added. “We’ve always kept a close eye on him. He’s a young prospect that we want to make sure that he continues to go in the right direction so we’ve taken time to bring him in and talk to him. Players have done the same thing. When it comes to a situation where you haven’t scored in a while or you’re a little frustrated, you go back to basics, and you stop looking at the big picture and just take a step back and keep your game maybe a little simpler but more efficient, and eventually, things come back.

“We’ve done a good job with him as far as the whole coaching staff, the players, to help him through those things. And he likes his teammates, he likes our coaching staff, he has a lot of trust in all of us where he’s not afraid to come up and say, ‘Listen, this is what’s happening here.’ Or whenever we suggest something, it’s nice to see a guy with that much talent and skill be so open to suggestions and help, as well.”

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Secretive Claude Julien says Adam McQuaid’s status is ‘up in the air’ 04.09.12 at 1:03 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid did not participate in Monday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena, the only notable absence for the B’s as they prepare for the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

McQuaid went into the end boards head-first in the Bruins’ March 29 game against the Capitals, with the Bruins defenseman cutting his eye, which led to swelling. He tried to return last Thursday against the Senators while wearing a visor, but left the game in the second period.

The plot thickened a bit regarding his actual injury after Monday’s practice, as Claude Julien would not term McQuaid’s injury an eye injury, but an “upper-body injury.” Asked whether the team was treating the injury as a concussion, Julien declined response.

Peter [Chiarelli] addressed [McQuaid's status] yesterday, and every day we keep going back to the same guys,” Julien said. “It’s day-to-day. It’s playoff time, and it’s day-to-day, so that’s all I’m going to say about it.”

Both Johnny Boychuk and Tuukka Rask returned to practice Monday. Rask faced shots, while Boychuk took regular turns in line rushes and took physical contact. Julien feels the two players are headed in the right direction, but noted it’s a tougher call with McQuaid.

“His situation is up in the air,” Julien said. “It could be resolved soon or later. Right now, as I told you guys the other day, we’re use being cautious. He’s day-to-day, and cautious is the approach we’ve taken.”

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