BOSTON – If the two coaches were representative of the moods of their teams, the Montreal Canadiens would be painted as a much more relaxed bunch than the Boston Bruins ahead of Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series that begins Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
Bruins coach Claude Julien and Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, two men who go way back to their days coaching in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, each met with the media following their team's morning skate.
They were polar opposites of each other.
Julien was terse, responding to questions with short, one-sentence answers, shedding zero light on how he or his team is feeling ahead of a big game against a big rival.
He didn't smile. He didn't engage in small talk. He looked like he would rather be anywhere else than speaking to reporters at that moment.
Julien was asked at one point how the Bruins manage to figure out how to beat teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that give them trouble in the regular season, like the Detroit Red Wings in the first round and like the Canadiens have the past two seasons.
"I don't know. I really don't. We just figure it out," he replied.
On the other end of the spectrum was Therrien, who looked genuinely happy to be facing reporters ahead of this important game.
He smiled often and appeared to be soaking in the moment in spite of being hours away from his biggest game since coming back to the Canadiens as coach at the beginning of last season.
"I see this as we're lucky to be here, we're lucky to be experiencing this," Therrien said when asked about the impact of the rivalry with Boston. "We're conscious of the fact that during the season, anytime we play the Bruins it's unique. So now we're facing them in the playoffs, and obviously there's that rivalry. But you have to concentrate on what you need to do, and that's why our philosophy all season was simple, that we have to live in the moment, one game at a time. Right now, that's exactly what it is.
"But honestly, we're lucky to be a part of this and to write the next chapter."
The difference in two coaches' moods is likely insignificant in the grand scheme of the series, but the circuslike media atmosphere will be something each of them will need to manage, as will the players.
There were anywhere between 80 and 100 reporters in the Boston dressing room following the morning skate Thursday, and Bruins center David Krejci admitted it will be important for his team to ignore all the white noise that will surround the series.
"We're going to have to try and stay away from media and all the talk outside of hockey, because we know it's going to be on another level than it usually is. Just stay focused on your game and we'll be OK," he said. "You guys are going to try to talk about lots of things, you guys are going to try to find lots of things, what's wrong, what's right. It's not always about reading negative things, but reading positive things. I just try to stay away from that and focus on my game."
He was then asked if he had managed to do that successfully in the past.
"Results speak for themselves," Krejci responded.
Canadiens center Lars Eller agreed that it would not be a bad idea to ignore the volumes of things that will be said and written about this series over the coming days and weeks.
"We're very used to of the intensity of having the media around, following us all the time," Eller said. "I think we're used to that, but at the same time we're not looking to get into a verbal war or start something in the media. It's not something we're looking to do. But I watch the highlights when I get into the rink in the morning and that's about it for me."