It was subtle, but the message of one of Coach Julien's favorite sayings, scribbled onto a wipe board in the Bruins dressing room, is clear.
The Boston Bruins will not go anywhere without returning, quickly, to the Black & Gold's bread and butter -- hard work.
And today's practice emphasized that message.
"At the start we had one-on-one battle drills," said Milan Lucic
. "That's an area, obviously, that we felt we had to improve on, you know?
"When it comes down to it, the game is broken down to about a hundred one-on-one battles.
"So, if you are winning those one-on-one battles, you are giving yourself chances to score and, in turn, your team more of an opportunity to win," he said.
The hard-edged practice seemed to be appreciated by everyone involved.
"Having a good practice gets the jitters out," said Lucic. "And I think that can be a way to get some confidence back into the team -- having a good hard practice. Getting dirty and whatnot. And hopefully that can carry on into tomorrow."
It was also good to note that no fingers were being pointed in the locker room.
"I think that's one thing you have to be careful of," added Milan. "It's easy to point fingers. It's easy to start blaming other people.
"We've talked. You win as a team and you lose as a team. And we all realize that and we all want to get things going. So, we want to stay away from blaming each other and go out there and play."Thorton's Vlog
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton
survived an on camera attack by Jeremy Reich and some trouble with the date (you'll see) in order to bring today's video blog to the Bear Essentials.
In this episode, Shawn explains the mood in the locker room, how today's practice went and what he expects from the Bruins and the Capitals on Saturday.Speaking of Hard Work
The Boston chapter of the Pro Hockey Writers’ Association announced today that Boston Bruins center Glen Metropolit is the chapter’s 2007-08 nominee for the Masterton Trophy.
The Masterton Trophy goes to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Metropolit will be one of the 29 nominees throughout the NHL – one from each team with one club abstaining – eligible for the 2007-08 Masterton. The entire PHWA will vote for one winner, which will be announced at the NHL awards ceremony in June. The other 29 candidates’ identities will be revealed later this month.
Last year, the Bruins’ Phil Kessel, the Boston PHWA nominee, was the overall winner.
"Metropolit’s nomination through a poll of the PHWA Boston membership is a reflection of his perseverance throughout his career," wrote Matt Kalman of the New England Hockey Journal, chairman of the local PHWA. "From humble beginnings, growing up in the “Cabbage Hill” section of inner-city Toronto, Metropolit carved out a career for himself by playing in almost every league in North America and also going overseas.
"This season he took a risk and was willing to come to Boston’s camp without a contract. Not only did he earn a roster spot, but also he became a vital member of the Bruins’ roster and a key reason the Boston has become a contender even in the absence of star center Patrice Bergeron
. Metropolit has also emerged as a quiet leader of the team and one of the club’s most accessible players."
One more thing, True Believers, Metropolit is one of the Bruins who uses the phrase "Bruins Hockey" to describe the way that he feels a member of the Black & Gold should comport himself on ice. As an employee of the Boston Bruins organization I am pleased and honored to have a person such as Glen Metropolit wear the spoked-B and it is a sincere pleasure to work with and around him each day.
And I am not the only one who feels that way.
"I think it is well deserved," said Coach Julien. "He's come in here, had accepted the role that was given to him, and after that, with the Bergeron incident...he's asked to do even more.
"He accepted that [responsibility] but you still have to accomplish the job and he's done that.
"Here's a guy, and we all know his background...he's had to work his way into [things] to a point so that everywhere he's gone he's always played a secondary role.
"This year he was asked to play a primary role and to me he's done an excellent job...and has gone way above what we expected to get from him," he said.
And as far as being a member of the Boston Bruins, according to Julien, Metro is a prime example of the attitude and character that the organization is looking for.
"I think if you look back to when 'Bruins Hockey' became a [catchphrase] was obviously when they were tough to play against. Even if they had the O'Reilly's and the Jonathon's and those kind of guys, they still had the type of guys that Metro is...determined and gritty.
"And that is what he is. He's a gritty player...he'll muck it out and he'll make plays and that's what he is. I think he absolutely fits into what the Bruins fans are looking for.
"They want guys with heart. I think that's what everybody around here wants. They want to see guys compete hard," said Coach.Julien added one more thought
Speaking of Metro's grit, Coach Julien said, "I think that's where we maybe won some of our fans over again, because that's what we were.
"We are at game 67. And maybe [the last] three games have really kind of tarnished that.
"But let's not forget the 64 others and for the most part we have been that."
That being, "Harder to play against," of course.