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Julien admits Kaberle feeling pressure to perform

Sunday, 05.15.2011 / 3:19 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

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2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog
Julien admits Kaberle feeling pressure to perform
Sunday, Claude Julien admitted what has been painfully obvious to most observers of the Bruins this postseason: Defenseman Tomas Kaberle is struggling.

Kaberle, obtained from Toronto near this year's trade deadline to help Boston with its power play and its transition game, has done precious little of either this postseason.

Boston's power play is historically bad, going just 2-for-41 in the first dozen games of this postseason. Kaberle has been a huge part of that downfall, making some questionable decisions at the point and often refusing to shoot when the opportunity presents itself. Saturday night, in the game 1 loss, he did take two shots from the point on the power play and each was well wide.

Earlier in the game, Kaberle made an egregious turnover behind his own net which led to Teddy Purcell's goal, the last in a game-changing run of three goals in 85 seconds by the Lightning.

After the game, Kaberle insisted he was not gripping his stick extra hard or feeling the pressure of being expected to perform better. But, on Sunday, Julien suggested otherwise about the veteran defenseman.

"There is no doubt he is pressing a little bit," Julien said. "I would say that because he knows what is expected of him and he knows what is being said about him; he knows all that stuff. At one point, you hope that he is capable of focusing on just doing the job, and we have confidence in him and we are going to work with him for him to get better, because we are going to need him to play at his best if we plan on moving on here and winning some hockey games."
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He's a winner. We want winners here, and he's a proven winner. He's won two Stanley Cups. He's 22 years old and been a big part of it. He's got all the right tools. He's got size (6-foot-1, 204 pounds) and strength. He's exactly what we were looking for. He's going to be a big piece of our team for many, many years to come.

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