Claude Julien also talked about the Bruins matchup with the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.
The Bruins head coach was asked whether he thought the game was getting its buildup from the points battle or the challenge each team faces in the other.
“It's probably the challenge,” he said. “I think everybody's looking forward to this matchup as something that has been talked about for a while.
“Hopefully [it'll be a] good game.
“It's not a divisional game and it's not a conference game, but at the same time it's about measuring yourself against the other conference,” he said.
Julien did add that he wouldn’t mind adding to his point total, too.
“I think every point, right now, becomes important,” said Julien. “And even if you do have a pretty good cushion you want to make sure that you stay in the position that you are in right now, which is at the top.”
Perhaps the B’s need the challenge that the Sharks represent in order to shake some of the midwinter doldrums that have infiltrated their play.
“Our team, right now, has gone through some tough stretches where we've had our play slip a little bit -- a lot of it is due to fatigue -- but this is an opportunity for us to pick it up again,” said Julien. “We see them enough on TV and through our prescouting to know what they do well, and it's up to us to get our gameplan together and hopefully get the right one.
“Joe Thornton is one of many on that team that will give us a challenge tomorrow. He's definitely a big strong individual that protects the puck well and is a great playmaker.
We're all aware of that…but again, you're focused on one guy and there's 18 or 19 other guys that can do the damage, so we have to be careful how we approach this,” he said.
This just in...
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli will provide an update on Michael Ryder tomorrow (Tuesday) at the team's morning skate.
The morning skate is scheduled to start at 10:30 (and is not open to the public). The exact time of his availability will be finalized Tuesday morning.
Ryder underwent surgery today (Monday) to repair a broken facial bone he suffered in the Bruins game against Ottawa on February 5.
As reported earlier, Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien gave a short update on the Black & Gold's Michael Ryder this afternoon.
”He's getting surgery today, so we won't know anything until he comes out,” said Julien.
Asked if we might see Ryder on the ice wearing some more protection (mask, visor, cage), Julien said he “would imagine so.”
“If he is going to get surgery, he may have to wear a visor or something,” said the coach. “That’s kind of…a no-brainer, I guess.”
Julien emphasized that he was not in a position to elaborate any more on Ryder’s condition.
“I really don't know what is going to happen here,” he said. “He's having surgery today, and they'll discover what they discover once they get in there.”
Clearly, any time lost by Michael will hurt the Bruins.
“He's been criticized in the past for not playing an all-around game,” said Julien. “But what I see is him throwing his body around. I see him battling for pucks and I see him doing a pretty good job in our own end.
“He's a big plus player, so he must be doing something right besides scoring goals.
“When he's at his best he can control the play with that line [of Blake Wheeler – David Krejci
- Ryder] just hanging on the puck and creating scoring chances.”
The club has not made any decision on adding a forward to the mix.
“Right now, we've got 21 [players],” said Julien. “[Why] bing a forward up to put out one of our guys who have made the team?
“If something happens we have to be ready though, because the flu-bug is going around [but] the fact that we are so close to Providence just allows us to not really panic about ‘if’ something happens tomorrow morning.”
And a healthy Matt Hunwick gives the Bruins an extra option.
“[Hunwick] certainly gives us that flexibility, I guess,” said Julien. “I really didn't mind him when he played upfront, he did a pretty good job.”
A quick update:
Coach Julien said that Michael Ryder (facial fracture) is having surgery today and that he wouldn't be able to speak to his forward's status until he gets a report from the medical staff after the surgery.
Julien also said that the club had not made any determination in terms of calling up a forward from Providence and that with 21 players on the roster there might not be a reason to, particularly since Matt Hunwick can play as a forward in a pinch.
The cones are out...
The Bruins defensemen are taking turns shooting from the points through the orange traffic cones (which simulate traffic or blockers?).
On the other end, the forward lines are practicing cycling and then setting up in front of (and to the sides) of the net.
Goalie coach Bob Essensa is here.
The Bruins are on the ice and the only face I don't see is Michael Ryder (broken bone in face).
Bruins center Marc Savard
had similar sentiments to Claude Julien.
“We’ve got 85 points, we’re doing fine, we have to sharpen up now, that’s a couple of leads we’ve let slip lately,” he said. “We have to look at that.
“We have a great test coming in here Tuesday [vs. San Jose] and we’re all excited about that…[but] we’re going to need to get some rest here.”
The B’s got that rest on Sunday. Monday will be about preparation and with no games between Tuesday and Friday, the B’s can leave everything on the ice.
“We’re going to go out and give everything we have,” he said. “We have a nice day off [Sunday].
“We’ll recoup there and come back and have a nice practice Monday. And then come back and focus for a big Tuesday game.”
And burying scoring opportunities will be huge.
“I mean I think we had chances,” said Savard of Saturday. “We had some good chances.
“But in the second period we had some lapses and turnovers; obviously penalty trouble takes guys right out of the hockey game.”
Despite Saturday’s loss, the Bruins return to practice today, hopeful of taking a stretch that has been positive (6-1-3 in their last 10) and making the rest of the season as memorable as the first half of the campaign.
“I think through this stretch we’ve lost [three] overtime games, and the rest we’ve won, so you can’t be disappointed with that,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien after the B’s loss on Saturday. “We knew it was going to be a tough stretch, and you just have to look back…at the schedule.
“I don’t know how many people would predict that we would have not lost a game in regulation in that stretch.
“So, you’ve got to give the guys credit; they dug deep, and as tough as it was at times and we found ways to win. I think we handled this pretty well, and obviously one of the big tests is coming up next game [against San Jose],” he said.
Yep, that will be the ultimate test for this club with high postseason expectations. And hopefully, with the Bruins day off on Sunday, the club is prepared for what will be a very big game on Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks.
“First of all, you like to stretch your bench as much as you can in a game, but that’s only when you can, and [to do that] you need everybody going, and at the same time,” said the B’s coach. “And you’ve got to give your guys some days off.
“It’s been a tough schedule, and, again, the amount of points we’ve picked up in this stretch of seven games is good and e’re not going to complain about that.
“But I think we have to be realistic in assessing what’s happened here and I don’t think we should be too hard on our players.”
We’ll see how ‘soft’ Coach Julien is on the players when we get to Wilmington at 10:30 a.m.