BRIGHTON, Mass. – Claude Julien was in Boston for less than 24 hours to make a quick visit to Bruins training camp, and give a State of the Bruins address to the local B’s media. But that was enough time for him to impart his philosophy for the upcoming season and what he wanted his players wanted to keep in mind while their head coach was still away in Toronto at the World Cup of Hockey.
In a word, Julien wants everything to be “fast” with the Black and Gold this season and that’s going to be a challenge given some of the players on the roster.
“Our goal is to play fast,” said Julien. “Every coach in this league is going to tell that is where we’re at right now. We want to play fast. It doesn’t mean speed. It means playing fast: the puck has got to move fast and the transition has got to be fast. So we want to play fast.
“We think with some of those young players coming in and some of the tweaks that we’re going to make with our D, it’s going to allow us to play fast. This is why this training camp is extremely important, and this is why I spent a lot of time with my coaches this summer. We went through a bunch of things to make sure that when we teach in these first few days, it’s going to be clear and precise and it’s going to allow them to excel. We’re going to try to eliminate the gray areas, so we can play freely and have some good legs to be able to play fast.”
Now, people have heard this before from Julien and the Bruins. They wanted to “play fast” last season, as well. They certainly did at times, offensively at least, while ranking fifth in the NHL scoring 2.9 goals per game. But the Bruins defensemen corps experienced a lot of trouble breaking the puck out of their own zone cleanly, had trouble consistently working with the forwards on tape-to-tape passes to kick start the transition game and generally didn’t have the snap that you need to become a top team in the league.
Coaching tweaks may help some of that, but some of it is also about personnel that won’t be changing significantly unless a large number of young players displace veterans in the B’s main training camp that’s upon us.