Claude Julien

Bruce Cassidy on David Pastrnak getting targeted: 'He just needs to be ready for it'

Bruce Cassidy on David Pastrnak getting targeted: 'He just needs to be ready for it'

BRIGHTON, Mass – Though the game was a couple of days ago, the talk around the Bruins on Tuesday was again about the targeting of the NHL’s leading scorer, David Pastrnak.

The 23-year-old Bruins sniper leads the NHL by a wide margin with 25 goals this season and is on pace to tie the franchise-record 76 goals scored by Bruins legend Phil Esposito. At this point, nobody has been able to contain him. 

Ottawa tried shadowing Pastrnak defensively last week, and both the Rangers and Canadiens last weekend employed the strategy of roughing up No. 88 in order to discourage him. It didn’t work out for either team as Pastrnak scored instrumental third-period goals against both the Blueshirts and the Habs, but it’s also a pattern that could become routine as Pastrnak keeps on scoring goals.

While the old-school hockey mentality would be to protect Pastrnak by going after opponents that take runs at him, that isn’t what happened on Sunday night against Montreal when Shea Weber, Jake Armia, Ben Chariot and Jeff Petry all took turns giving him the rough treatment. Instead, the Bruins pushed back a bit, scored a few goals and ending up winning the game in the best long-term payback for it.

Cassidy said again on Tuesday ahead of the home tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes that it’s going to be on Pastrnak to “be ready for it” rather than his teammates step up to protect him.

“When you’re a better player, that happens. He’ll just have to keep his head up a little more. There were a couple of against the Rangers and Montreal the other night that were borderline late. You hope that the league takes care of the players when those situations happen. But he just needs to be ready for it,” Cassidy said. “That’s just the way it is. When you’re a good player you just get targeted more. If you don’t want to get hit that often or get targeted, be an average player. I don’t mean that to be disrespectful, but that’s the way it goes.

“We circle guys on the other team’s lineup all the time in terms of slowing them down. How are we going to do it? Well, deny them the puck, good sticks and be physical. There’s a bunch of different ways you can do it, but clearly being physical was on Montreal’s agenda the other night. As long as it’s within the rules, that’s just hockey.”

Part of the reason Cassidy has to take this approach is the NHL continuing to legislate fighting and frontier justice out of the league and part of it is simply that the Bruins don’t have too many players on their roster capable of protecting Pastrnak as a deterrent.

Aside from 42-year-old Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and 35-year-old David Backes, just back from a concussion, there aren’t too many players that are going to put any fear into opposition looking to take liberties with the Bruins’ game-breaking force.

With that in mind, the B’s better that Pastrnak “being ready for it” also protects him from getting injured as a result of the increased punishment headed his way. Because it seems as if an injury is about the only thing capable of slowing Pastrnak down as he keeps on scoring at an unheard-of pace in today’s NHL.

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Claude Julien lauds Canadiens fans for honoring Zdeno Chara despite ugly history

Claude Julien lauds Canadiens fans for honoring Zdeno Chara despite ugly history

Claude Julien could have seen it going either way.

The Montreal Canadiens head coach was with the Boston Bruins when defenseman Zdeno Chara dangerously checked Habs winger Max Pacioretty into a stanchion during a 2011 game at the Bell Centre.

Chara's hit made him Public Enemy No. 1 in Montreal, with some even calling for his arrest. But when the 42-year-old returned Tuesday night to play in his 1,500th career game, Canadiens fans gave him a much different welcome.

The moving moment wasn't lost on Julien, who praised Habs fans for showing Chara love while adding a defense of his former player for that 2011 hit.

"I think I've got to give the most credit to our fans," Julien told reporters after the Bruins' 5-4 loss, via Sportsnet's Eric Engels. "I remember when I was on the other side of that incident with Pacioretty. I know I can stand here today on the Montreal side and say there was never any intent to injure that player. That's not his style. It was an unfortunate accident.

"He was not a very well-liked player here in Montreal. But the class of our fans to do what they did tonight in giving him not necessarily a standing ovation but clapping and looking at what he's accomplished in his career, (it) just says a lot about our real fans.

"I was really impressed and I was glad they did that. I know him personally and I think what he got tonight from our fans was well-deserved."

Julien coached Chara for nine-plus seasons in Boston and won a Stanley Cup with the ironman defenseman in 2011, so he certainly knows his history.

For his part, Chara seemed humbled by the fans' kind reaction.

"Obviously that felt really nice," Chara said, via the Bruins' website. "I really appreciate that. It was very classy and it's something that I will definitely remember."

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Julien on first win vs. B's team: "No reason to think I stuck it to them"

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Julien on first win vs. B's team: "No reason to think I stuck it to them"

BOSTON -- Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien was always the classy type in Boston, consistently taking the high road in his nearly 10 years at the helm of the Bruins. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise he chose that path after getting his first win back at TD Garden.

The winningest coach in Bruins history watched as his Habs were swept in all four games played against Boston last season. But this time the Canadiens used their speed, defense and goaltending to take a 3-0 win over the B’s at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was perhaps the perfect Julien scenario, where the Canadiens jumped over the sloppy Bruins early for a couple of goals, and then used disciplined defense and stellar goaltending play to keep Boston off the board. 

Last year Julien had to watch his former Bruins players beat him over and over again while he dealt with a Montreal roster that needed an overhaul. This season Julien has got a healthy, effective Carey Price as a massive difference-maker, and a young, speedy group of players that have already jumped out to a surprisingly good start to this season.

Given that promising start in Montreal and the fact it’s almost two years since Julien was fired as head coach of the Bruins, the act of finally getting that first ‘W’ against his former employer didn’t really carry that much significance for him.

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“You know, someone just asked me that. Like most players, I’m going to tell you the same thing. We needed the win and I am happy we won,” said Julien. “I am happy for Carey [Price] and what he accomplished tonight with a shutout.

“I don’t feel like it is that big of a deal [personally]. The win itself is what’s important to me. There’s no reason to feel like I really stuck it to [the Bruins].”

Clearly a proud guy like Julien was going to downplay any significance of finally getting the better of Boston. Instead he was able to use speed, youthful skill and superior goaltending in combination for a victory over the rival Bruins, and in some ways give the B’s a taste of their own medicine.

That’s probably why Julien had a bounce in his step and a smile on his within the familiar environs of the Garden mere minutes after watching the Canadiens play the perfect road game to earn their coach a big two points against his old B’s squad. 

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