|Claude Julien grateful and honored to follow Pat Burns’ career path||11.20.10 at 1:10 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien took a few minutes to reflect on the late Pat Burns, who died on Friday after a lengthy battle with cancer. The three-time Jack Adams award winner and Stanley Cup Champion in 2003 was 58.
Julien knew Burns while Julien was still playing in the AHL and Burns was coaching, but it wasn’t until the two were both “in the same coaching fraternity” that they got to know one another best.
“The one thing everybody knows about Pat was he was sincere and direct and there was no beating around the bush with him, but the part that people didn’t always see was that away from all of that was that he was a really good guy. I know that I was fortunate enough to kind of follow his path. It certainly wasn’t done purposely, but I was fortunate enough to follow his path and maybe part of that has helped me become a better coach because I had some big shoes to fill along the way.
“When Pat leaves somewhere, he’s obviously left his print. As I said, when I won the Jack Adams I was so honored to receive it from him because I consider him a friend and at the same time, my comment was ‘if I could even accomplish what you’ve accomplished, I’ll be a really happy coach.’ I mean he’s got three Jack Adams, he’s got a Stanley Cup, you know, he’s done so much.”
A former police officer, Burns was a fiery coach whom Julien said had a touch for turning teams into contenders by getting everything out of his players, no matter what the cost.
“He was a guy that didn’t always get along with every player, but every player liked him and respected him. Even the guys that he had his little run-ins with, I think eventually they came around to understand where he was coming from and that’s what you do as a coach, you do what you think is best for the player, whether it makes you popular or not.
“Sometimes it might take a player five, 10 years to realize what he was trying to do, but eventually they do and as a coach like him, all he could do was ‘I could live with the situation for now, as long as at the end it’s understood that what I was trying to do was the best for the players.’ That to me is what Pat was all about.”
Many fans who once rooted for Burns later found themselves rooting for Julien. Burns had coached all three teams Julien has coached in his career: the Canadiens, Devils, and Bruins. Julien said that his employment with former Burns’ teams isn’t as much a coincidence as one may think, as Burns esteemed Julien wherever he went.
“At one point, Pat, when he was here [in Boston], I think they were looking for a coach in Providence and Pat asked them to interview me,” Julien said. “I think Pat always had a good word. I went to New Jersey and there’s no doubt that Lou [Lamoriello] talked to him at some point, and so I had Pat’s support, obviously. He always had a good word to say about me, which certainly helped to make me follow his path, to a certain extent, so that’s why I guess, I’m grateful to him. I think, at the same time, I’m grateful to him also for leaving such big shoes to fill to push me to be the best coach I can be.”
|Is Tuukka Rask snake-bitten? It sure looks that way||11.12.10 at 10:19 am ET|
It must be hard for Tuukka Rask right now.
His Bruins teammates got off to a red-hot start and his fellow netminder one stall over in the dressing room was off to one of the best starts in team history.
But after Thursday night’s 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Rask stands with an 0-4-1 record. How bad is it? He has more losses than games started.
When the Bruins came back to tie the Washington Capitals last Friday night, he came on in relief of Tim Thomas, only to allow the go-ahead goal and get charged with the loss. He has a 2.75 goals against average but his coach hasn’t lost faith because he believes Rask deserves a better fate.
“I don’t know if it’s at home, but I think it’s just overall,” Claude Julien said after Thursday’s latest setback. “It’s unfortunate, because so far, I don’t think we’ve played great in front of him. That first game in Prague, I think was our worst game ever so far this year. Tonight we weren’t a very good team in front of him. I thought he played well in St. Louis and took us into a shootout. But I don’t know that I would go after him and say that he’s not playing well. I think we need to help him out a little bit. When goalies find their groove, it’s because the team in front of him play maybe better than we have.”
He was respectable again on Thursday night, stopping 25-of-26 shots before a power play goal inside the first minute of the third period gave the Canadiens control.
Rask, who was the starter in the playoffs last year and figured to be this season after surgery to Tim Thomas, can’t seem to catch a break.
“Well, I think pros are pros and you can’t do everything for them,” Julien added. “That’s part of being a pro. You’ve got to be mentally strong, and you’ve got to fight through those things and the coach will always more or less always help them out, but he’s got to do his share to work through those things if confidence becomes an issue, but I don’t think he’s there.”
What does Rask think?
“That’s hockey, you know,” he said. “Try to do your best and save every puck and if you don’t get the bounce, you don’t, and if you do, just that’s great. Today there was more unlucky bounces again.”
Can’t blame him if it seems like he’s seen more than his fair share so far this season.
|Claude Julien: Bruins need to freshen up||11.11.10 at 11:56 pm ET|
Bruins head coach Claude Julien admitted that his team didn’t have fresh legs against Montreal, one night after scoring five goals in the third period of a 7-4 win over the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
Former Boston College and New Jersey Devils star Brian Gionta scored the go-ahead goal on the power play just 29 seconds into the third period as the Canadiens beat Tuukka Rask and the Bruins, 3-1, Thursday night at TD Garden. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara took an interference penalty in the final eight seconds of the second period to give the Canadiens the man-advantage to start the third.
On Wednesday in Pittsburgh, the Bruins trailed, 4-2, heading into the final period. This night, the Bruins were tied but had no jump in the final 20 minutes and it showed.
“Probably the first half of the first period, we were fine,” Julien said. “I think what happened tonight was totally different. We just, we ran out of legs. We just didn’t have the legs and progressively our game got worse. We looked more and more tired and got a fresh team waiting for you here at home in a divisional game.
“It’s a big game, they’re ready for us,” Julien said of the Canadiens. “I’m going to stand here and say our guys really wanted it bad enough, but when you don’t have your legs, the rest of your game kind of falls apart as well. A big part of your game looked bad. That’s what it is. You can try and push your players all you want, but if they don’t have the legs, they don’t have the legs. So that, to me, is what I saw happening tonight. You got a couple of tough penalties that we took, put us in trouble as well. And you know, sometimes when you’re tired, not only your legs, but your mind maybe doesn’t work as well.”
The Canadiens scored their first two goals on the power play and got an insurance tally from Scott Gomez midway through the third as the visitors peppered Rask with 41 shots on the night. Chara took a perfect pass from Milan Lucic and scored the only goal for the Bruins at 15:49 of the first to tie the game. It was his fourth of the season.
Rask, who was making his fourth start, remains winless this season with a record of 0-4-1. The win gave the Canadiens 21 points, four more than the second-place Bruins in the Northeast Division.
|What to expect without David Krejci in the Bruins lineup Wednesday||11.09.10 at 2:50 pm ET|
WILMINGTON – With David Krejci still out because of a concussion that was suffered in overtime of the Bruins 2-1 shootout loss to the Blues on Saturday, the Bruins did some work with their power-play prior to the official start of practice Tuesday morning. They plan to have Nathan Horton fill in for the injured Krejci on the No. 1 power-play unit, assuming the left-side half-wall position.
“I think he’s one of those guys that can take that step on the half wall and then shoot the puck very well,” coach Claude Julien said about the switch after practice. Julien also said he’s been impressed with the improvements Blake Wheeler has made on the goal line position.
“So we thought that was for now the best way to kind of stabilize our power-play and hopefully keep it going in the right direction,” Julien said.
The lines otherwise remained the same in practice today as yesterday, with Patrice Bergeron centering the first line between Milan Lucic and Horton. Here’s how the other lines were organized:
Mark Recchi-Blake Wheeler-Jordan Caron
Daniel Paille-Tyler Seguin-Michael Ryder
Brad Marchand-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Julien says he feels confident with the line decisions that have been made for the game against the Penguins on Wednesday, but that he also won’t be afraid to shuffle it up some more if it doesn’t work. “That’s part of the situation that you’re in at times,” Julien said. “You have to be open minded about maybe moving some guys around.”
|T.J. Oshie defends hit on David Krejci||11.06.10 at 11:43 pm ET|
The Bruins are awaiting further word on the health of top-line center David Krejci after his head collided with the far center boards on a check by St. Louis center T.J. Oshie with 4:15 left in overtime on Saturday night at TD Garden. He was on the ice for a minute before getting to his knees and then his feet. He was helped off the ice by Zdeno Chara and Andrew Ference and then headed directly to the dressing room and did not return.
“Not yet,” Julien said when asked if he had any word on Krejci’s condition. “Obviously, he got his bell rung there We don’t know what the severity is yet. I didn’t see the replay. He’s here and he’s being evaluated.”
Krejci, who was knocked out of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers last spring with a dislocated wrist, leads the team in assists (8) through 11 games and is tied for second with Milan Lucic in points (10), one behind Nathan Horton.
Oshie defended the hit, which was not penalized.
“Just two guys going at the puck, Oshie said. “I tried to get low and get a good center of gravity. He was coming at me. From what it looked like, he was coming to hit me as well. It was a had battle tonight, a physical game. I certainly hope that he’s ok and he’ll be back.”
|Video: Claude Julien after Bruins morning skate Thursday||10.28.10 at 12:58 pm ET|
Claude Julien had plenty of media on hand for his press conference Thursday from both the Boston and Toronto outlets. The Maple Leafs are in town as Phil Kessel tries to notch his first goal against his former club, while Tyler Seguin, a player chosen with one of the picks received in the Kessel deal, will play against the team he grew up rooting for. Seguin grew up in Brampton, Ontario, about 40 minutes away from Toronto.
“I am not going to stand back here and deny that this is a pretty special game for Tyler. … I mean his emotions are going to be running high tonight, there is no doubt about that,” Julien said of the second overall pick in June’s draft. “There’s a certain extent that [if] you see that as becoming an issue, you’ve got to address it, but heis a pretty level-headed individual that’s been able to handle situations pretty well so far and I don’t see it being an issue tonight.”
Asked by a Finnish reporter about the team’s goaltending situation, Julien adressed it as such: “Plain and simple, I don’t have a No. 2 goalie. That’s the dilemma I have right now. I don’t have a backup. I have two No. 1′s.”
|Bruins see improvement in Maple Leafs||10.27.10 at 3:57 pm ET|
The Bruins are preparing for their first match-up against the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday night, in an always-anticipated clash of original six teams. In the 2009-10 season, the Maple Leafs were nothing special, finishing at the bottom of the Northeast Division with a 30-38-14 record. Now, eight games into 2010-11, it seems the Leafs have turned things around. Toronto won its first four starts, then dropped three games in a row before picking up a 3-1 victory over the Panthers Tuesday night. The Leafs’ 5-2-1 record currently has them sitting atop the division standings.
“They’re a good team, they’re a young team,” Patrice Bergeron said after practice on Wednesday. “Their players have developed into good players so I think that’s why they’re improved.”
Right wing Nathan Horton said he knows the Leafs have shown plenty of reasons for other teams to fear them thus far.
“Their defensemen are big, strong, physical, and their forwards are quick and fast,” Horton said, adding the Bruins will need to be prepared to work for 60 minutes on Thursday. Coach Claude Julien seemed to agree, noting that the B’s are “facing a team that’s coming in with lots of confidence, lots of speed and lots of energy.”
Speaking of energy, it has seemed to be just that the B’s have lacked early on in each of their losses this season. On Saturday, the Rangers put up a quick 2-0 lead on the Bruins in the first period, and the Bruins, despite getting goals from Zdeno Chara and Horton, were never quite able to make a full comeback.
“I think it’s just about making sure we have a good first couple shifts and be good on the forecheck right away,” Bergeron said. “If we get scored one goal against, we’ve got to make sure we keep our balance instead of just getting back over our heels for a couple shifts and letting them score another one.”
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