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Marc Savard knows there’s nothing worse than being stale during the holidays 12.21.10 at 10:44 am ET
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It was supposed to be a festive night, featuring Rene Rancournaments handed out to 10,000 fans, the Bruins wearing their white home jerseys and the Bruins and Ducks on national TV.

Instead, it turnout out to be one big dud, filled with nothing for Boston hockey fans except the proverbial lump of coal in their stockings – and stale coal at that – which could never light a fire under the Bruins.

The Bruins got 45 shots on Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller but none of them found the back of the net. The Bruins were done in by the Jonas smother.

“You can say we had forty-something shots, but a lot of them were one shot and out,” B’s center Marc Savard said. “We’€™ve got to dig down. I think the intensity level was lacking tonight on a lot of us and coach switched the lines there for the third. We seemed to have some more jump a bit, just to try and get some energy on the team because like I said, we were getting stale there a little bit.

“We created chances, but bottom line is that you’€™ve got to come to the rink and want results and I think, including myself, I’€™m probably top of the list right now I’€™m not getting any and then therefore, that’€™s not helping the team at all. So we’€™ve all got to look in the mirrors here. We’€™ve got one more before Christmas, it’s huge, and we need it.”

While their coach was ripping them moments later, Savard acknowledged that Claude Julien can’t do much more screaming at them.

“Claude is trying,” Savard added. “I mean, he can’€™t yell at us every single night. It gets long on him too, so it comes with the guys in the room here to pick up the slack and right now, that’€™s what we’€™ve got to do. Like I said, this one more before Christmas here, we’€™ve got to have a huge effort.”

Savard agreed with Mark Recchi, who told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning that Thursday’s home finale before Christmas has turned into a must-win for the fragile psyche of the team.

Savard said he has no answers right now but knows they better appear Thursday against Atlanta.

“Well, yeah, I mean, I don’€™t have the answer for it,” Savard said. We’€™ve all just got to be that much more intense. Like I said, this one before Christmas is huge. We need it.”

Many people have been wondering about the near-term fate of Julien. But just as many – if not more – have wondered if the lineup and roster need a shake-up.

“No, I don’€™t think the lineup needs a shakeup,” Savard said. “We’€™ve got a good hockey club. We’€™ve just got to get it going here and work together as a unit and we’€™ll be fine. Our goalies are battling for us every night back there and we’€™ve just got to give them some support.”

Read More: Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Marc Savard
Claude Julien shows the desire he wishes he’d get from his team 12.20.10 at 11:19 pm ET
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Claude Julien had seen enough.

There was the back-to-back losses last week in Buffalo and Montreal. There was Saturday night when he watched his team get outshot on home ice, 38-10, after taking a 3-0 lead over Washington, barely holding on for a 3-2 win.

The Bruins were outshot by an amazing 26-2 in the third period and it was clear from Julien’s tone Saturday night that he felt his team was fortunate – if not lucky – to win. On Monday, there was no such luck. The Bruins fell behind 2-0 before having a breakdown on the power play in front of Tim Thomas, allowing a short-handed goal that all but cooked their goose in a 3-0 loss to the Ducks at TD Garden. Julien needed to let loose and let his team have the what-for.

“Our compete level needed to be better,” Julien began. “I’m disappointed. I’m really disappointed in our effort tonight and it’s not something we should be proud of and we should be willing to try to redeem ourselves next game and find some more emotion and more intensity in our game.”

That next game is the game before Christmas, Thursday night at home against Atlanta. In the meantime, there’ll be a pair of practices which should test the quality of the practice ice in Wilmington.

Julien said while it was good that his team put 45 shots on Jonas Hiller, he said his players “need to bury those chances.”

Julien even used a classic hockey expression to express his displeasure of the lack of desire from his team, particularly his forwards.

“It’s starts with the forecheck,” Julien said. “We had a lot of guys playing at the end of of their sticks. When you’re trying to move up five spots [in the standings], that’s unacceptable.”

The Bruins coach said he’s noticed a lack of emotion and energy in his team in the last week.

“Through the course of the season, certain things will creep into your game,” Julien said. “And that’s crept into our game and we’ve got to get rid of that. We have to get that emotion again, give yourself a chance to win. And we didn’t do that tonight.”

The Bruins entered the game with the same number of points (38) as their opponent but it wasn’t the Ducks they were chasing in the standings. With a win, the Bruins could have jumped from eight in the conference to tied for third, as they would have 40 points, matching the Canadiens.

“We had all the reasons in the world to want to compete tonight, an opportunity to move up five spots [in Eastern Conference] and we didn’t have enough guys going tonight, there’s no doubt there,” Julien said.

Read More: Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Montreal Canadiens
Tim Thomas saved the sleepwalking Bruins 12.19.10 at 1:21 am ET
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There was a great deal of irony in the words of Tim Thomas following his latest Houdini act on Saturday night at TD Garden.

The Bruins held on for a 3-2 win over the slumping Capitals, a win that snapped Boston’s three-game losing streak while extending Washington’s to an almost unbelievable eight.

But that hardly tells the story.

Thomas noticed early on the Capitals were asleep at the wheel. But it was the Bruins who nearly blew the game by sleepwalking through the final 20 minutes.

The Bruins ran the Capitals off the ice in the opening 20 minutes. They got goals from Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference and Blake Wheeler and Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau was in the midst of another breakdown for HBO’s “24/7 The Road to the NHL Winter Classic.” But Thomas figured it was too good to last.

“I didn’€™t know what we were going to get,” Thomas said. “They turned it up for a while in the second there and then they kind of went back to sleep a little bit and I didn’€™t know if… They looked like a tired team for the first two periods and I was hoping that was the case, but it turned out not to be.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Blake Wheeler, Boston Bruins, Bruce Boudreau, Claude Julien
Post-morning skate odds and ends 12.18.10 at 12:07 pm ET
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Tim Thomas was first off the ice for the Bruins following their morning skate, an indication that he’ll be in net when the B’s face the Capitals tonight. In three starts against the Capitals this season, Thomas is 2-0-0 with five goals allowed and a shutout. He was pulled from the team’s 5-3 loss on Nov. 5 after allowing three goals through two periods.

The Capitals aren’t exactly jonesing to face the early Vezina favorite in Thomas. Coach Bruce Boudreau said Saturday that “you just have to play really perfect hockey to beat [the Bruins] and then you have to play more perfect hockey to beat Thomas.

– If you’re surprised by how many minutes Steven Kampfer has been getting, you’re not along. Asked if he expected to play as much as he has, Kampfer honestly replied, “Uh, no. I definitely didn’t think I’d be getting that many, but I’m just trying to play well, trying to play simple and help the team get a couple of wins here.”

Kampfer said patience has been the biggest thing he’s picked up at the NHL level, which is quite interesting and a good explanation as to why he’s handled the callup and the minutes so well. Young players often try to counter the quick pace of the NHL game by hurrying things more than they need to, but it hasn’t seemed to be the case with Kampfer — at least not much.

Claude Julien knows the Capitals have been winless over their last seven, but he’s worried about his own guys, who have gone three without a W. Julien addressed the slump by saying “we’ve got to show some determination and resilience.”

– The Capitals have been followed by HBO cameras for the NHL 24/7 show that’s sweeping the nation. Have to admit I haven’t been able to see it (or this season of Eastbound and Down) due to my lack of owning HBO, but the hockey world has been going nuts over this show. One of the draws of the show is the prolific use of a four-letter word beginning in “F” by Boudreau.

“That goes on in every dressing room, in every team, in every sport at this level,” Boudreau said, noting that the team is so comfortable with having the camera around that it has become “second nature.”

Boudreau is by no means taking pride in the language aspect of it, but he said such talk “just comes out of your mouth when you’re mad,” adding, “my mom talked to me about it, so I’ll be OK.”

– Stay tuned for what came of an interesting chat with Tyler Seguin about Christmas, being a healthy scratch, and once again having something in common with Steven Stamkos. More to come later.

Read More: Bruce Boudreau, Claude Julien, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin
Claude Julien doesn’t think players will get too comfortable now that cap is sorted 12.14.10 at 2:57 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Bruins players can rest easy now that the team has trade Marco Sturm to the Kings. With the deal, which they made on Saturday, the team could go the rest of the season with it’s current squad and not have to worry about the salary cap, as they’re a little less than $300,000 under the cap.

Rumors swirled throughout the beginning of the season regarding the likes of Matt Hunwick, Michael Ryder, and Blake Wheeler. Of the three, only Hunwick was dealt, and the rest of the team can now breathe easy. Still, Claude Julien doesn’t see it as reason for complacency.

“I think for a player, it certainly has to give them a little bit of relief as far as saying ‘all these question marks have been answered,”’ Julien said Tuesday. “At the same time, I think players have to realize that just because we’re there now, that doesn’t mean we’re going to stay there if we don’t get the results we want.

“You’re always fighting for a spot in the lineup, you’re always fighting to keep your job, and you’re always fighting to stay on the team. I think that part should stay the same time, what’s been lingering over their heads now has more or less been taken care of.”

MCQUAID FEELING IT A BIT, PRACTICES

Julien seemed to suppress any opinions when commenting on the league’s decision to suspend Flyers forward Jody Shelley for two games. The league made the decision on Monday, and Shelley will lose nearly $12,000 in salary over the two contests.

“They obviously took it seriously enough to suspend him, and you’ve got to respect that,” Julien said.

The B’s coach was glad to have Adam McQuaid, the recipient of the suspension-inducing shove from behind Saturday, on the ice with the team as they skated Tuesday. McQuaid said on Monday that he was still sore, but his coach noted that he wasn’t limited in practice after simply having the wind out of him Saturday.

“He’s still a litte stiff, but not stiff enough to keep him out of the lineup or keep him out of practice,” Julien said. “I think he still feels the effect of that hit, but he’s a tough individual. He’s battling through it to the point where I don’t think it’s going to be a factor as far as affecting his game.”

POWER PLAY FOR KAMPFER?

If Steven Kampfer ends up seeing time on the power play, as he did on Tuesday, you can bet he’ll be in for even more comparisons for former Michigan teammate Matt Hunwick.

Kampfer has essentially stepped in to replace the skill-set of Hunwick since last week’s injury to Mark Stuart. He’s been compared to the now-Avalanche defenseman quite a bit, but he’s had a hardly robust six seconds on the power play in his two games since being called up.

The 22-year-old was told by the Bruins to watch film on Hunwick and study the types of things he does. Kampfer says he is flattered by the comparisons but feels that he is not yet the skater Hunwick is. He remains the Bruins’ best puck-moving option.

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Claude Julien,
Bruins hope days off pay off at 2:15 pm ET
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The Bruins had a rare two-day break from the ice after Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Flyers. The players’ time was their own on Sunday, while they spent Monday at Target in Woburn Christmas shopping for children who have to spend the holidays in the hospital.

On Tuesday, they returned to Ristuccia Arena, working on the power play and practicing for over an hour.

“The two days [off] is definitely nice,” Nathan Horton said. “I think we’re overall rejuvenated, and everybody’s ready to go. Everyone was excited to get back after two days. It’s been a while, and it’s nice to have a couple of days off.”

The B’s were preparing for their upcoming stretch of three games in four days beginning on Wednesday in Buffalo. After their bout with the Sabres, they’ll travel to Montreal to face the Canadiens on Thursday before returning home against the Capitals on Saturday.

Given how heavy the schedule has been, Claude Julien saw Sunday and Monday as a good opportunity to let the B’s rest up and let any aches players may be feeling work themselves out.

“I think so,” Julien said when asked if the time off was necessary. “It’s been a pretty heavy schedule for a lot of teams around the league. It’s an opportunity for us to keep them off the ice here for a little bit.”

With the return to the ice, Julien liked what he saw out of his guys. The break, which he hoped would allow them to “clear their heads a little bit and get ready for a big week,” seemingly paid off with a good practice.

“I think they looked like they had lots of energy,” Julien said. “Sometimes a couple of days off it good for you. When you say a couple of days off, I don’t think they really had days off. They were busy doing other things. It’s one of the few times that we’re able to help them out in a way where they can get their rest and get away from practice.”

Read More: Claude Julien, Nathan Horton,
Claude Julien, Adam McQuaid not fans of Jody Shelley hit 12.11.10 at 10:55 pm ET
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In his postgame press conference, Bruins coach Claude Julien called Jody Shelley’s hit from behind on Adam McQuaid “definitely uncalled for” and that he didn’t know what the intent of the play was. McQuaid and Shelley were racing after an iced puck when Shelley pushed the B’s defenseman. The momentum carried McQuaid into the boards head-first, and the 24-year-old blueliner remained on the ice as play was stopped.

“I looked at it again and personally, I didn’€™t think there was any need for it,” Julien said. “I don’€™t know what [Shelley’s] intention was, but certainly, there was no need for that at all and I think that’€™s one of the things we’€™re trying to get out of game.

“I know [Jody] Shelley a little bit from a long time ago and he’€™s actually a good person and, to me, he’€™s a tough guy. I don’€™t know that he’€™s purposely gone out there to injure people like that so I found that a little bit strange that he would do that. It’€™s unfortunate. … Hopefully the League deals with it the proper way and we’€™ll go from there.”

McQuaid said that he could hear Shelley saying he didn’t mean it while he was on the ice, but regardless of intent, McQuaid wasn’t a fan of the play.

“I mean, I didn’€™t go in on my own,” McQuaid said when asked if he felt it was a reckless play. “I felt like I got pushed.”

McQuaid said he got the wind knocked out of him, and after undergoing a few tests was allowed to return to the ice later in the period.

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Claude Julien,
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