Bruins

Julien: Bruins 'focusing on the moment'

Julien: Bruins 'focusing on the moment'

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The tests just keep on coming for the Bruins in the final weeks of the regular season as they face a Chicago Blackhawks team desperate to cement a playoff spot just a year after winning the Stanley Cup.Tonights game against Chicago ends a stretch of seven games where the Bs had played five playoff-ready opponents as well as games against teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils that were hungry to force their way into the postseason conversation.Bruins coach Claude Julien is attempting to get his team into the playoff mindset over the final three weeks of the regular season, and a pretty meaningful 2-1 win over the Flyers last weekend was a good start.That continues against the Blackhawks with the very-same lineup that Boston featured against Philly in an impressive effort.I think for us right now its focusing on the moment, said Julien. From here on in we have to maintain our play, our level of play that weve had lately and continue to try and even improve that.Theres no room for complacency right now, and we have lots of players. If were going to move some players in and out from here on in its because were taking it easy. Its because we want everybody ready to go. Thats kind of the message we gave to the players.For the Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews has 12 goals and 12 assists in his last 18 games for Chicago and goaltender Corey Crawford has played in 20 straight games for the Blackhawks and may play tonight after the Hawks beat the Red Wings in overtime last night in Detroit. Tuukka Rask, Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin, Michael Ryder, Steve Kampfer, Adam McQuaid, Shane Hnidy and Tuukka Rask were among the Bruins players that skated during an optional on-ice workout at TD Garden.Julien indicated hes going to get some of the extra players into games soon, but that probably wouldnt be happening against the Blackhawks on Tuesday night. Expect to see Hnidy in at least a couple of games prior to the playoffs in case injuries or slumps make his presence mandatory in the lineup. That also means Steve Kampfer and Michael Ryder are once again Boston's likely healthy scratches for tonight.Not tonight, but I think as we move on here theres certainly going to be guys moving in and out of the lineup here, said Julien, when asked about lineup changes. Were certainly preparing for that. With Rask on the ice for the optional skate, its likely that Tim Thomas will again get the start for the Bs against Chicago. Thomas is 3-0-0 with a 0.67 goals against average in his last three starts against the Devils, Canadiens and Flyers, and has been every bit as good as he was in the first three months of the season.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Sounds like some Bruins players suffering from Claude fatigue

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Sounds like some Bruins players suffering from Claude fatigue

BRIGHTON, Mass – The resume for Claude Julien speaks for itself in terms of greatness in Boston, so he certainly will get a warm ovation from the TD Garden crowd in his first visit back to Boston since getting fired last February. Julien coached the Boston Bruins for 10 years, won a franchise record 419 games over that time span, made it to the Cup Finals twice and of course hoisted the Cup in 2011.

It won’t matter that he’s now the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens when Julien gets his video tribute, and basks a long ovation similar to the one he received when he was recognized for passing Art Ross on the B’s all-time wins list a couple of season ago. The warmth will be a little weird in the middle of a Bruins/Canadiens rivalry game, but it’s clear that Bruins fans appreciate the job done by Julien for such a long period of time.

The mutual respect was also clear when players like Patrice Bergeron spoke warmly of their coach ahead of last weekend’s showdown in Montreal, which the Bruins eventually pulled out in a shootout at the Bell Centre.

But it would seem the Bruins are starting to get a little tired of tossing verbal bouquets at the guy that’s now behind the Habs bench. It all started with Tuukka Rask’s postgame reaction on Saturday when asked if there was any extra emotion going up against his old coach for the first time.

“He was not playing a shift on the ice, so it doesn’t really matter. He was coaching, so it was nothing special,” said Rask, matter-of-factly.

So there wasn’t any added emotion for Rask going up against Julien’s new team for the first time?

“Nope,” said Rask.   

That line of questioning continued again after Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena with Julien coming back to the Garden for the first time.

“Well, I can tell you what’s going to happen,” said Rask. “We’re going to start the game, at some point there’s going to be a video montage, we’re going to tap our sticks and the crowd is going to clap their hands and give him a warm welcome. Then the game is going to continue.”

Does Rask expect either he or some of his longtime teammates will get emotional if they see Julien showing some emotion during his ovation?

“No,” said Rask.

Is it really that cut-and-dry, the Bruins goaltender was asked?  

“It’s just another game,” said Rask, who improved to 8-15-3 lifetime against the Montreal Canadiens after last weekend’s shootout win. “It’s probably special for him to come back and be on the other side, but for us it’s just another game.”

Similarly, Marchand was much more understated speaking about Julien on Tuesday after speaking enthusiastically last weekend about the many discussions player and coach had about “becoming a better a pro” early in his career. But the Bruins winger wasn’t about to get all warm and fuzzy when asked about any greeting that his former coach is expected to get while the legendary Bruins/Habs rivalry plays out on the ice.

“I’m not really looking forward to it, but I’m sure he is,” said Marchand, when asked about the fan reception from Bruins fans awaiting Julien on Wednesday night. “It doesn’t really have anything to do with me, but I’m sure he’s excited to come back. He’s deserved that video and I’m sure a lot of people will be excited to see him again. I’m sure it will be a memorable game.”

Marchand went on to say he "learned a lot" from Julien during their time together, and clearly still has a high level of respect for his former coach. 

 Maybe it’s the very nature of the Bruins/Habs rivalry, or maybe the Bruins players are suffering from a little Claude Julien question fatigue with the two teams playing three times in a span of eight days. Maybe we're even finally seeing some of the Bruins players that had tired of the longtime coach's methods by the end of his long-running tenure in Boston. 

But it sure sounds like some longtime Bruins players might be over it when it comes to the “Claude Bowl” aspect of the ongoing rivalry week between the two storied rivals.  

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Morning Skate: Robust trade market for D-men

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Morning Skate: Robust trade market for D-men

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while prepping for Claude Bowl II.

*It’s going to be a robust trade market for defensemen with names such as Jack Johnson, Dion Phaneuf and Oliver Ekman-Larsson highlighting the group that’s available. Paul Martin will be in that select company if he clears through waivers and perhaps Niklas Hjalmarsson will as well with many teams holding D-men they’re willing to part with.

*The Buffalo Sabres apparently want four assets in any deal for rental Evander Kane that includes a draft pick, a prospect and an NHL roster player, and it’s hard to believe anybody is going to do that for a perennial underachiever who's never even scored 60 points in a season before.

*A tough end to the Andrew Cogliano iron-man streak as he’s been suspended for a couple of games after an incident last weekend.

*Brent Burns is the envy of many blueliners around the league because of his hard, accurate shot, which isn’t scoring him as many goals this season

*Year-round Las Vegas resident Deryk Engelland has been rewarded for being a member of the Golden Knights with a one-year contract extension.

*It sounds like the Philadelphia Flyers have got Shayne Gostisbehere thinking more about defense after some up-and-down moments last season in his sophomore effort.

*For something completely different: A profile on a UFC champion and a firefighter all at the same time. Sounds like an interesting dude.


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