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After 1-0 Loss, Coach Hints at Changes

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Claude Julien

"Interesting" would be the word I would use for my thought's on this morning's impending practice at Ristuccia.

"Not to be missed" would be the next phrase.

Here, take a look at Coach Julien's quotes from last night's postgame presser.

On what went wrong for the Bruins Tuesday…
"[It was a] lack of effort. It’s as simple as that. We’ve scored enough lately. We’ve had traffic in front of the net. We’ve had shots through. But when you don’t work, you don’t win. This team has not been capable of working for 60 minutes for a while now. It’s something that’s been addressed in the dressing room and until we manage to do that we’re going to have our ups and downs. I thought we played well in the first period for 20 minutes…But when you don’t do the things you are supposed to do and you don’t want to work and you don’t want to be first on the puck and you don’t want to win battles, you get the results you do tonight: no offense and poor performance."

On making players accountable for their play in the third period...
"It’s pretty tough sometimes to make guys accountable…there weren’t many guys that could walk out of that dressing room tonight with their heads up…that’s without forgetting to give the other team credit. They had a goal in mind and they fought through it for 60 minutes. And they came away with a win, which is something we didn’t do tonight."

On whether tonight is the breaking point in terms of lack of effort...
"It reaches a point where it takes away...or tarnishes the message we had for these guys from the first game at training camp. It doesn’t matter who you have (on your team), if you have a good work ethic you are going to be in every game and you’re going to compete and you’re going to get your chances of winning. Even though it was a 1-0 game, in my mind it wasn’t really a 1-0 game. (Carolina) was by far the better team tonight. Sometimes you have to get embarrassed to react, and tonight is hopefully one of those nights we got embarrassed enough to react."

On how the Bruins need to work to make the playoffs...
"If you want to participate in the playoffs and not be watching from the outside in April, these are things you have to do: you have to work for 60 minutes and stick to your game plan that whole time."

Finally, asked what his remedy might be for his club's sub-par performance, the Bruins coach said, "Coaches have their'll see."

I'll report on what I see after practice...JB

11:35 a.m.
Wilmington, MA -- No pucks.

Thats pretty much all I have to say about what is going on right now. No pucks...

11:39 a.m.
Each and every drill has been creative (with Coach throwing in sit ups and push ups), but Our Boys are skating their pants off.

Sprints, stops. Whistle. Sprint, stops. Whistle. Backward, forward. Whistle. Down the ice. Whistle. Across the ice. Etc.

The only thing that is missing is Kurt Russell yelling, "Again...again...again...again."

Obviously sensing that they have tried their coach's patience, the Bruins are skating full bore.

12:15 p.m.
The club left the ice at noon, having endured a pretty nasty bag skate. The media were told that the team was having a meeting, including players and coaches, and that our availability would start sometime between 12:30 and 12:45...

It was a tired, red-faced bunch that left the ice rink and shuffled into their locker room.

4:30 p.m.
The change that coach was looking for was obviously in attitude -- and it seems that a bag skate and a meeting might be the solution...or so everyone hopes.

"I guess we'll find out over time," said Claude. "It's something that almost every team goes through over an 82-game season."

Everyone in the locker room spoke of playing "three periods" or "competing for 60 minutes" and with Montreal coming in tomorrow, bringing their own enthusiastic media corps and the expectations of a classic NHL rivalry, Coach Julien desires a quick turnaround.

"(They're) one of those teams that we haven't beaten yet this year," he said. "Knowing that they are in our division, that they are four points ahead of us -- it is a big game.

"And it's probably a good time for our team to respond."

Coach Julien cautioned that fans shouldn't read too much into the post practice "meeting."

"Those things happen all the time," said Coach. "You meet with your team when you are not happy with your team."

For sure. You practice, you meet and you move on, but is clear that Julien has sent a message. You work at night during games, or you will work the next morning at practice -- and today's practice did not look like any fun at all.

"It's all part of the process of an 82-game schedule," said Coach.

5:02 p.m.
"(Coach) does not want us to get complacent," said center Marc Savard after today's skating practice. "He just wants us to do our jobs -- every one of us. He wants us to get back to playing Bruins hockey and be hard-to-play-against.

"(Today's practice) was a message that we have to carry over into tomorrow's game."

Savard, and his teammates, will certainly sleep well this evening, and I have a sneaking suspicion that tomorrow's morning skate will be very well attended.

"We can't over react (either)," continued Savard. "We won three in a row and we lost one.

"Tomorrow is a huge game and we all know that...and we're psyched because it's a team that we want to catch."

Zdeno Chara
5:20 p.m.
By the way I also wanted to mention that the team was in a meeting for a bit over an hour...I think it ended just a bit after 1 p.m. So, that's 35 or so minutes on the ice, a bit over an hour in a meeting and several minutes speaking to us. Sheeesh.

A tough afternoon, for sure.

To everyone's credit however, each of the Bruins I spoke to focused on moving on and playing better, not the laps.

"Last night's game was not our best, probably one of our poorest performances of the season," said captain Zdeno Chara. "We have to get better.

"It's pretty normal (though). You are going to have practices where there is more skating than usual and, obviously, today was one of them. There has been things said afterward at the meeting but it is going to stay in the room.

"But it's as simple as that -- we have to get better," he said.

Fellow defenseman Dennis Wideman, agreed.

Boston Bruins' Dennis Wideman (6) battles New Jersey Devils' Jamie Langenbrunner after the third period ended in Boston's 4-3 win in a hockey game in Boston Saturday, Jan. 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
"We just talked about what we need to do to be more consistent as a team," said Wideman. "What we talk in here, amongst ourselves, we'll probably keep that way.

"But we just talked about what we need to do to right the ship and make sure we were doing the same things and doing the right things game in and game out.

"As a team we just...have to know what our strengths are, what we do well, and make sure we do them all the time," he said.

Wideman said he believed that "crunch time" has fallen on the Bruins.

"The first half of the year, that's when it's easier to win games," he said. "When it starts to get real tough, and when mistakes start to come into the foreground is at the end of the season, when you start getting down to crunch time -- when the desperation of every team starts to come through and they begin to realize that they have to start winning a lot of hockey games if they want to make the playoffs.

"When it gets to that time of the year, that's when you really see what your team is made of."

5:36 p.m.
A couple more notes to pass on...

Coach Julien did not expect to tinker with his lineup and explained his line combos at the end of the game were the result of having to find some way to score last night.

He also indicated, correctly, that his four lines had provided enough to give the B's enough offense during the previous three games and believed that he should maintain that structure going forward.

And when asked if any of the injured players would be available versus the Habs, he simply said that he had 20 healthy guys.
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