BOSTON, MA -- After sleeping on it and thinking about it, Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said that in order to attack the root cause of their slump the B's need to up their tempo and work ethic going into Saturday's game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"I think today wasn’t about changing the groups or changing the lines," said Julien. "Anybody who watched our practice today saw that it had a pretty good pace and this is kind of what we have to carry into these upcoming games here [in order to] bring our work ethic, our commitment and everything up to the next level we have to bring it to.
"That’s what we accomplished [Friday], more than moving players around and stuff like that.
"If it was one or two players that weren’t pulling their load it’d be one thing, and I keep going back to I think it’s a whole team thing. From the goaltender out to our last player, it’s a team thing," he said.
Since the calendar turned to 2012, the B's have found it increasingly difficult to put together the 60-minute efforts that were the club's trademark during their Stanley Cup run last spring.
"I think our whole team can be better," said Julien. "I keep saying over and over those are things that happen through the course of the season to every team -- without exception -- in this league.
"I talked about the example of Detroit getting beat soundly by Montreal, we saw...Edmonton beating Chicago pretty soundly – it’s not like it doesn’t happen and sometimes we can be highly critical of our team.
"At the same time, we’ve also acknowledged the fact that we’re not playing well. But I don’t think it’s a situation of our guys not respecting each other in regards to teammates, but we can be better."
Part of being better is not repeating mistakes and effort to find the cause of those errors in execution sent the B's back to the classroom Friday morning before skate.
"We looked at some video this morning, and it’s pretty obvious everybody can be a lot better and right now our focus, the mental part of our game isn’t there," said Julien. "Right now I don’t think we’re putting as much into it right now as when we were playing extremely well.
"I think that’s the main issue right now," added Julien. "You’re going to see a lot of mistakes [but] it’s not because we don’t know how to play, it’s just right now we’re not focused enough to prepare properly and be ready to push as hard as we can.
"That’s the part of our game we have to find and like every other team we’re going to fight our way out of this."
But that fight doesn't get any easier with the Penguins coming to call Saturday afternoon.
"People keep talking about Sidney [Crosby being out], but we all know he’s an impact player. To me, it just underestimates everybody else," explained Julien. "[Evgeni] Malkin is just as good a player, he’s a franchise player and they have a few of them on their team. [Kris] Letang is back from concussion, their goaltender – [Marc-Andre] Fluery is a good goaltender, they have a lot of good players there. So I think people have a tendency to look at Crosby and not give the other guys a fair shake.
"You just have to look at their lineup and they’re pretty deep," continued Julien. "They’ve been playing well and they went through a little bit of a slump and got themselves on a winning streak again and we always seem to play some good games against them.
"It always seems to be an entertaining game with the Pittsburgh Penguins. So hopefully our game [Saturday] is better than it was [Sunday], and if it is, it should be an interesting one again."