|Boston Bruins' Andrew Ference (21) celebrates his goal with teammates Brad Marchand (63) and Adam McQuaid (54) in the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) |
First up: With Andrew Ference
medically cleared to play, Who would be on the blueline tonight?
"Well, it’s not a tough decision, because in [Adam McQuaid
's] case he’s been playing banged-up for the last couple of weeks," said Julien to the gathered press. "The medical staff said it would probably be beneficial for him to take a little bit of a break.
"I think he could certainly play through it if he had to, but we’ve got a healthy back end, so we might as well try and get our guys as healthy as possible.
"So that was the decision that was made," he said.
Next, Coach Julien was asked about rookie defenseman Steven Kampfer's recovery from a broken nose sustained against the Penguins on Jan. 15.
"It’s been getting a little better," said Julien of the blueliner, who has not missed a game, but has been wearing a full plastic shield since taking a high stick against Pittsburgh.
"I think that there’s blood up there that has clogged up his sinuses and has made it hard for him to breathe.
"But he’s certainly playing through it, and that’s what we’re talking about. Some of the guys that are banged up, but we know what Kampfer brings to our team.
"We haven’t got a lot of guys that are offensive minded and mobile defensemen like he is, and when you make a decision, you make it based on that as well," he said.
Finally, Julien talked about the game at hand.
"They’ve never been easy games against Buffalo," said Julien. "They’re a team that certainly sends a four man attack very well and, you know, if your back check isn’t very good then you’re giving [the Sabres] some opportunities.
"They’ve got a great goaltender," continued Julien. "Goals don’t come easy and although the last time we played them was a shootout -- and I don’t mean the end of the game, it was a shootout throughout the whole game and you know it was back and forth -- I think it was a little uncharacteristic of the way these two teams have played against each other.
"I think you can expect a lot more of what we’ve seen in the past and that’s great goaltending from both ends."
And beyond Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek can certainly bring the offense to the B's doorstep, especially on the Sabres power play.
"I’m sure Vanek has a big role to play in there, he does a great job in front of the net," said the B's head coach. "I mean this is a team that will shoot anytime they get an opportunity. They’re also a great team that when they shoot they crash the net well and certainly pick up those loose pucks and those rebounds and they do a pretty good job.
"By the end of the shot you’ll have three and sometimes four guys around that net area, and I guess right now they’re hungry enough and they’re finding those loose pucks and banging in some rebounds," said Julien.