|Claude Julien feels his Bruins have been ‘a lot more consistent’ of late||10.21.14 at 9:03 am ET|
WILMINGTON — As his team prepares to take on San Jose, the Islanders and Toronto this week, Claude Julien can finally sense things coming together after a sluggish start.
The Bruins started 1-2-0, including an ugly 4-0 loss to the Capitals on home ice and a brutal 2-1 loss to Colorado in the final second. After beating the Red Wings in a shootout, the Bruins were embarrassed again in Montreal, featuring the emotional meltdown of Milan Lucic.
But things finally seemed to click in Buffalo, where Niklas Svedberg earned his first career shutout in just his third NHL start. The 4-0 win seemed to give the Julien and the team something to build on. Two wins in three games doesn’t classify as red-hot, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction the way Julien sees it.
“I don’t know if it’s how far we’ve come or how far we have to go,” Julien said. “I think it’s just a matter of us continuing to get better as a team. I think it’s still early in the season and I think there are a lot of teams that are probably saying the same thing. It takes certain guys a while to get going. It takes others even longer. Some guys get off to a good start and then they slow down.
“We’re just looking at our team as a whole. I think what we’re looking for is consistency and we’re looking for an identity. And that’s what we’re starting to get right now, more of an identity. I think we’ve been a lot more consistent in the last three games.”
What is that identity?
“Same as it’s always been,” Julien said, referring to his team’s tough, rugged style that relies on good defense, a good forecheck, stellar goaltending and opportunistic play around the net.
|Andy Brickley on MFB: ‘Expect further moves to be made’ by Bruins||10.08.14 at 1:52 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his first weekly appearance of the 2014-15 season Wednesday, hours before the Bruins drop the puck against the Flyers in the opener at TD Garden. To hear the interview, go the MFB audio on demand page.
Prognosticators think highly of the Bruins heading into the campaign, and Brickley explained there’s a good reason for that.
“I don’t know if they’ve gotten better in any one particular area other than a little bit more experience,” Brickley said. “I think they have the strengths that most teams that want to be an elite team have. You try to build teams from the goal line on out. So they have a goaltender that won the Vezina in the last year, obviously, Tuukka [Rask] is tremendously talented and calm and has that demeanor that everybody likes to play in front of.
“They have a real good defensive corps led by Zdeno Chara. They play a defense-first system. They play a backchecking formula that really, really pays off, which is one of the main reasons that they play four lines. The demand by Claude Julien and his coaching staff to have that back pressure to help out the team defense part of the game is almost unmatched across the league. And it really stands out when you break down tape just how committed the Bruins forwards are to get back and play defense and pressure the puck and try to turn defense into offense with turnovers and control the middle of the ice — that’s that straight-down-the-middle phrase that I use.
“And then try to have their offense be a balanced scoring attack along with quality special teams. They were the third-best power play in the league last year, that has a lot to do with the infusion of young talent that they got — like a Dougie Hamilton, like a Torey Krug, they both play power play on different units. Reilly Smith comes in in that deal for [Tyler] Seguin, he gives you a different element, a little bit more speed, a little bit more skill up front. It allows Chara to play the front of the net — whether you thought that was going to be a successful and productive experiment or not, it has paid off for the Bruins.
“So, that’s the formula for success. That’s why the Jeremy Roenicks and the Barry Melroses feel that the Bruins, relative to every other team in the Eastern Conference, that they’re right there at the top.”
|Claude Julien: Johnny Boychuk trade ‘stings for everybody’||10.04.14 at 11:06 pm ET|
“I don’t think my thoughts differ from anybody else,” Julien said after his team’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Red Wings Saturday night. “I think we’re all disappointed to see him leave. As I mentioned, Peter [Chiarelli] eluded to that in his press conference. It stings for everybody. He was a good player, he was a good person, very well liked.
“Unfortunately our game is in that position where sometimes we’re forced to make those unpopular decisions. For a coaching staff, we’ll miss him like everybody else. But we have a job to do, and we feel we have a lot of good players here that we can certainly overcome this. And that’s just the way it goes, and part of hockey, and part of a tough day. You hope we’ll be able to turn the page here and by the time we start the season we’ll be ready to go.”
That position, of course, is a result of a salary cap squeeze, brought on – in part – with the signing of David Krejci. Now, the 30-year-old Boychuk (due $3.4 million in the final year of his three-year contract) will head to the Islanders while Julien is left to find a replacement to pair with Dennis Seidenberg.
He has several options, starting with Matt Bartkowski. Adam McQuaid, Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug will also be asked to carry a bigger load.
“I think there’s no doubt that the experience those young guys got was valuable,” Julien said. “But at the same time, we’ve got to remember that we’ve got Seidenberg, we’ve got McQuaid back in our lineup, which is two more veterans. That certainly helps that youth maybe not be so young. So those are things. But the guys that got that experience ‘ you’re talking about Bartkowski, talking about Krug, you know Dougie Hamilton. I think those things will certainly pay off for us.”
|Ryan Spooner understands Claude Julien is trying to motivate him||09.24.14 at 10:48 pm ET|
Claude Julien has given more than a couple of … let’s say “motivational” quotes about Ryan Spooner the last couple of days, as the Bruins coach has answered questions about the 2010 second-round pick with some rather blunt responses.
So after Wednesday’s game, Spooner was asked straight-up: Does he think his coach is trying to motivate him with his public comments?
“Yeah,” Spooner said. “At the end of the day I think he just wants me to be a more all-around player. It’s something that I’ve been trying to improve on, so I’m just going to go forward with it like that.”
Here’s what Julien said Tuesday when asked about Spooner knowing he was blocked on the depth chart in training camp last year:
“Maybe that’s why he didn’t make it, if he thought he didn’t have a chance. We give everybody a chance that deserves to be here. I think it’s important that he keeps an open mind.
“As always, if he’s that good, we’ll make room for him. We’ve always done that in the past. I don’t think we’ve ever let guys rot in the minors when they deserve to be here. That applies to him; it’s up to him again to come in here in these preseason games and show that he’s an improved player and that he belongs on this hockey club.”
Then, after Spooner scored a goal and was on the ice for two against the Canadiens, Julien said this, per The Boston Globe:
“We love his game offensively. At the same time, you can score one goal, but if you give up two, you’re not helping your team. We need commitment from that part of his game. He said he’s going to work hard at it. But it’s a good start for him. The goal he scored was one we’ve asked him to do — take pucks to the net. That’s a step in the right direction for him.”
|Claude Julien calls out Habs for late-game antics, says he expects Bruins to win Game 7||05.12.14 at 11:08 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Claude Julien had a field day with officials in the final minute of the Bruins’ 4-0 Game 6 loss to the Canadiens Monday night, and that frustration carried over into his postgame press conference.
Julien was angry that the Canadiens were taking liberties and not getting called for dangerous plays. Julien was angry that what he believed to be a David Desharnais slew-foot on Brad Marchand went uncalled in the third period, with emotions boiling over after Andrei Markov put his stick between Zdeno Chara‘s legs and whacked the Boston captain in the groin.
Scrums ensued from there, and Julien said such things will happen when dirty plays go unpunished.
“Although we’re perceived as the bad guys and they’re the good guys, when Markov trips Chara and then he puts his stick between his legs and nothing’s going to be called, eventually somebody’s going to react,” Julien said. “Whether it’s right or wrong, Zdeno reacted and then everything else started.
“There was a slew-foot before — Desharnais on Marchand. It’s a slew foot. Those are things that we keep talking about that are dangerous in our game. It’s a rivalry and there are some things going on on both sides.”
The Bruins are considered to be the aggressors in pretty much any series they play given their physicality and a tendency to cross the line. Julien said that the Bruins have pulled their share of stunts as well this series, but that Game 6 should show that it isn’t one-sided.
“I’m not portraying ourselves as innocent here,” Julien said. “I’m just saying it takes two teams to [tango].”
Julien was asked one more question after that, with a reporter asking what he expects from the seventh game.
“I expect us to win,” Julien said.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Brad Marchand on Game 6: ‘This series has nothing to do with what happened three years ago’||at 3:05 pm ET|
MONTREAL — The marching orders have been delivered. The Bruins are not to talk or think about what happened in Game 6 in 2011, when they had a chance to close out the Canadiens but allowed a pair of 5-on-3 power play goals in a 2-1 loss that extended the series to the fateful Game 7, won by Nathan Horton in overtime.
“This series has nothing to with something that happened three years ago but Montreal always a great power play,” Brad Marchand said. “They’re always very dangerous and have been all series long and we definitely have to make sure we do a good job of staying out of the box.”
Head coach Claude Julien had the same reaction, beginning with forgetting about what happened in 2011.
“I don’t [remember],” Julien quipped. “No short-term memory.”
Of the 13 goals the Bruins have allowed in the series, seven have come on the power play, including the overtime game-winner in Game 1 and both goals in the Game 5 win over the Canadiens. Montreal is 7-for-19 on the power play this series. While the seven number is significant, the 19 might be more alarming since the Bruins know they need to avoid penalties at all costs to avoid a Game 7 Wednesday night in Boston.
|Shawn Thornton fined for squirting P.K. Subban with water bottle; Claude Julien ‘can’t support’ Thornton’s actions||05.11.14 at 11:21 am ET|
Thornton squirted Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban with a water bottle at least once during the game, with Subban complaining to the official and yelling at Thornton after the second occurrence in the final minute of the game.
“With Thorty, I don’t know if it was him, but somebody had squirted water twice at the end of the game there,” Subban said after the Bruins’ 4-2 win. “Hit me in the visor. I couldn’t even see the last minute and a half out there. I was pretty upset about that.”
After the fine was handed down, Thornton spoke to the media about it, taking no questions. Thornton seemed irked by the life the story has taken on and didn’t sound overly apologetic.
“I obviously got caught up in the moment. I’ll pay the fine. We obviously agree with what the league does there. I’ll pay the fine and move on. I’m sorry that the silly incident kind of overshadowed how my teammates played and the great win and how good the series has been.
“I think that there are definitely more important things to be focusing on. I got caught up in the moment. I probably shouldn’t have done that. I’ll move on, get ready for Game 6, pay the fine, and hopefully have a good showing.”
Claude Julien said Sunday morning that upon seeing the video of Thornton squirting Subban, he gave Thornton a talking to. Julien also made clear that he doesn’t support such behavior.
“As a coach, you always want to support your players, but there are certain things you can’t support,” Julien said. “I don’t think I can support Shawn on those actions. To me, I don’t think we like seeing our players do that. Whether he got caught up in the game or whatever, to me, he’s got to own up to it. That’s all I’m going to say about it.”
The fine was the maximum possible for unsportsmanlike conduct under the current CBA.
It’s been a costly season for Thornton, who forfeited approximately $84,615.45 earlier in the season during his 15-game suspension that stemmed from his Dec. 7 incident with Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik. This season is the first in which Thornton has made over $1 million, as he signed a two-year contract that would pay him $1.1 million both last season and this season, but he lost somewhere in the neighborhood of $456,000 during last season’s lockout.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.