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Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien Media Availability on Wednesday, June 10 At 9:30

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS HEAD COACH CLAUDE JULIEN MEDIA AVAILABILITY AT 9:30 A.M.

On what it was like to go 2 months without knowing his future…
It was not how it made me feel; I think it was more about understanding the situation and you lose a GM that you’ve worked with for a long time that you’ve enjoyed working with who I think has done a great job here, and then you’ve got to readjust here and get used to probably working with somebody else, and that’s always your hope. But at the same time, I think the important part was to understand — and I said it right from the get go, when I met with him, that I understand the business and you have to allow the GM time to assess and make decisions and he’s got to feel comfortable, too. So as much as it wasn’t a lot of fun or easy, it wasn’t frustration; it was more about understanding the situation, and I understood it. I spoke with Don [Sweeney] quite a few times, and we talked about different things, so it wasn’t just about one situation, which is the coach; it was about the whole situation of coaches, trainers, everything else. We went through the whole scenario of what was important for him to know, and he had to make some decisions.

On whether he had any concern about the length of the process…
Well, again, it’s kind of a give and take; you say — my, I guess, my feeling was pretty positive. I really felt like we could certainly work together and even in our conversations, it felt that way, so maybe if it hadn’t been that way, it would have been different. But it wasn’t, and again, you have to — those are tough situations. They’re part of the business, and you have to understand that. It’s not always, I guess, a comfortable situation, but it happens to, I guess, everybody at some point in this type of business.

On whether he feels like he has the same type of support from ownership and management that he had before…
Yeah, I do. I do. And I know a lot of speculations have been made about whether this is temporary or whatever it is, but you know, we’re really committed and determined to take this team and move forward with it in the right direction. Don [Sweeney] and I have had talks, and very, very similar outlook on what’s needed and what we want to do. There was never an issue there at all. So that’s why it’s worked out. We seem to be seeing the same things. Personality-wise, we’ve known each other for a long time, and there wasn’t as probably a tough process, as far as evaluating, as much as people might think, but it was more about the time that was needed for him to feel comfortable with everything.

On whether there needed to be any compromising with GM Don Sweeney to make sure that their philosophical approach to the upcoming season was the same…
No; they meshed right away because when you talk philosophical approaches, every year so far — and it will continue to be that way — we make adjustments in our game. The game evolves, the rules change, and again, the personnel of your team changes, so you make adjustments accordingly. Ironically enough, two days after the season was done, the coaching staff, we met and we’d already made some adjustments that we felt would probably be something we’d like to see in our game, and Don [Sweeney] happened to come in, and we talked about those things, so we’d already done the work on that. It just goes to show that we were seeing the same things, and that we were all on the same page.

On the nature of said adjustments…
I knew that was the next question. [Laughter] Listen, there’s just parts of the game — I’m not going to get into details about it — but there’s things that we feel that we can do as a team with the way the game has changed a little bit to help our transition game a little bit better. There was a time when the transition game was good, with the way teams were forechecking; teams’ forecheck have changed a lot, so we’ve got some other things that we feel we can do that’s going to help us get our transition game coming out of our own end better, and creating some speed, so again, we had already kind of addressed that, and so we’re going to hopefully introduce that into camp like we do every year. Like I said, those aren’t changes to me; those are just adjustments like we do every year.

On the fact that there will be no changes to the coaching staff…
Well, it’s important. I mean, whichever way his comment came out, I don’t think it was necessary hinting at necessarily making a change, but the coaching department, I think he met with every coach and wanted to hear a little bit — or spoke with them and wanted to hear a little bit from everybody again, so that he could feel comfortable that the staff around me was as confident as he wanted it to be. Obviously, after that, it was done; he had no issues with that. We discussed; he asked me if I wanted to keep my staff together, and I said I’d like to. So there was no arguments about that; there was just, again, a thorough review of everything.

On whether he looked elsewhere at other coaching positions…
No. Not at all. Again, that’s why I said from the get-go, the impression I had was that they were hoping to keep me, and like they said, it was going to depend on the new GM, and I agreed. As much as you want the new GM to be comfortable with his guy, the same thing — if the new GM doesn’t like me as a coach, I don’t want to be here either. So I understood that right from the get-go, and Peter [Chiarelli] was let go, and basically, I was just waiting to see if that was going to be a good match, and it turned out to be.

On what it means to him to be the longest-tenured coach in the NHL…
It just means that I’m probably the next one to fall off the totem pole, right? [Laughter] That’s basically it. So I’m going to try to make it last as long as I can, to be honest with you. As I said before, I love Boston, I love the city, I love the fans — what a great group of fans that we have. Very — they love their team, and everything that I’ve seen around this city from all the sports team around, this is a great city to be in. So I feel privileged to be here, and as I said before, I’d like to make it last as long as I can.

On possibly surpassing Art Ross’ record for all-time wins in franchise history this upcoming season…
Well, I think to me, I probably feel a little sheepish because first of all, we know what Art Ross’ name means around the league, so at the same time, as nice as an honor as that would be and [I] would feel privileged about it, I also always take into consideration the era where all these things have taken place. The game changes, the rules change, the number of games you play per season changes, and from talking about the John Beliveaus, the Gordie Howes, the [Wayne] Gretzkys and [Mario] Lemieuxs, and probably now the [Sidney] Crosbys and the [Alex] Ovechkins — Bobby Orr — who was the greatest player? There’s always going to be that debate, and there’s great people in certain eras that you should never forget, and see what they’ve accomplished, and again, to me, that’s how I’ve looked at it. So it would be an honor, but certainly wouldn’t compare myself to him because he worked in a different era and he still deserves the accolades that he’s had all along.

On whether any upcoming philosophical changes to the team’s style of play will be vey noticeable…
That’s why I said it’s adjustments. It’s not subtle changes; you’re not going to — for people to think we’re going to play a run-and-gun game, that’s not happening. We can talk about all kinds of things, and the teams that are in the Finals now, one of them had an even better goals-against average than we did, so this game hasn’t changed. You need good defense and good offense. You need both. And we’ve been able to do that for a lot of years. Just because we had a tough year last year doesn’t mean we’re all about defense; it’s more about — we gave up more goals last year than we did the year before. So that should be criticized as much as the goals for. It was just a tough year, and when we’ve compared our scoring chances last year to the year before, where we scored a lot, surprisingly enough, the scoring chances are almost identical. The biggest thing in that was — the biggest difference last year was the finish. And that’s something you’ve got to work on as well as individuals and as coaching staff — how can we get our players to have better finish? But the chances were created, and I know it didn’t look that way because when you don’t score, it doesn’t seem like your offense is as good, and we think it definitely can be better, but at the same time we’ve got to work on certain things. So that’s what I mean by making adjustments. There are going to be little subtle adjustments along the way, but nothing major.

On whether there will be roster issues next year similar to those the team experienced this past season…
Well, you’ve got a year’s experience under the young players’ belts. There’s no doubt that helps. But you’ve got to understand one thing: You look at the teams right now, there’s a lot of veteran players on that Chicago team, and that’s why they’ve been there three years in a row. So we have to be patient with our young players, and I know Don [Sweeney] alluded to that, and I came up coaching junior hockey, and I know how those young players are. I’ve had a lot of patience with those guys. Sometimes, you have to take a hard stance, but it doesn’t mean you’re not patient with them, and that you’re not trying to make those guys better. But at the same time, we’ve got to be realistic. There’s certain parts of the game that those guys have to evolve in, and you can teach, but they’ve got to also improve in those areas, and that’s what we’re going to try to do moving forward with our young players, is bringing [them] to that next level that’s going to make them that much better.

On whether he is confident in winger Ryan Spooner heading into next season…
Well, again, everybody’s got to win a job in training camp, and there’s no doubt Ryan [Spooner] showed a lot last year. I thought he took a real big step forward the second time he came up. As much as he was great on the power play and stuff like that, he seemed to be a little bit more engaged, which is an area that he wasn’t doing as well before, so you hope, again, that he takes that next step to be even more engaged. We still know that line spent a lot of time in the D-zone, and that’s not where I wanted to see them. I wanted to see them in the offensive end. So in order to do that, you’ve got to improve your game in that area — turn the puck over so that you can play to your strength.

On whether he ever thought during the last two months that there was a chance he would not return as head coach…
There’s never a guarantee, but I’m going to be honest with you: I never felt that way. Was there doubts or question marks? Absolutely, because you don’t know who’s coming in and what they want to do. But I never felt threatened here. I think the people around me have shown me that they seem to have enough confidence that I didn’t really feel that way.

On whether his feelings changed in any way after Don Sweeney was hired as general manager on May 20…
Well, I think — no. I don’t think I jumped and said, “I’ve got this.” It didn’t matter necessarily who it was; I think it’s about making the right fit. So just because it’s Don and he’s been in our organization doesn’t mean that maybe he’s agreed 100 percent with everything that’s been going on. So there’s no guarantee there. But the good part is that Don’s been here for eight years, I think — as long as I have — and so there’s a little bit of chemistry, there’s a little bit of knowledge. Personality-wise, we’ve talked, and we spent some time together, so it’s not like you’re trying to get used to a brand-new guy. So that’s been refreshing. 

On if he told Don Sweeney what he expects of him as a general manager…
Well, it’s not my job to tell the GM what I expect of him, but we did discuss, you know, what’s expected of our roles. He’s told me those are things that he would like, and I 100 percent agree with him. He’s got a good -- you know, Don’s [Sweeney] been around for a long time. Even though he may be viewed as a rookie GM, he’s done a lot of things around here that gives him the opportunity to step in and be fairly comfortable with everything that’s going around. He’s seen everyone has their own touch on things, and he’s going to come in and make a few tweaks here and there that he wants to do. And that’s understandable.

On bringing a level of grit back into the lineup…
Well, I think it’s got to be not just my job -- it’s got to be everyone’s job here. We have to be able to maybe have some players that have that, and that’s what they have alluded to. We need to bring that identity, and some of it has to be personnel -- whether it’s certain players growing in their roles and in the style of play, knowing that they’re capable of, or whether it’s bringing players in that can do that. I think it’s going to be a joint effort when it comes to that. And you know, we have to understand that it doesn’t get done overnight, so it’s going to take some patience.

On past reports that President Cam Neely has wanted to terminate him…
Because that’s what’s been out there, is it the truth? That’s the biggest question. So you know, I guess that comment that keeps coming back. And like I said, I remember meeting with Cam [Neely] about that, and you know, that zero-zero comment -- it’s so long gone. We’ve been together on the road, and we’ve had drinks, and we’ve spent time together. I think it’s foolish to think that a president is just hovering over a coach’s head, waiting to fire him. Because he’s had – guys, he’s had the power, I guess, to do that, and he didn’t, so I think there and then, that’s got to say something. So it’s not an issue for me, and I think, again, those things come out in different ways and those are things that you live with in this kind of business. There are a lot of speculations, but there’s no concrete evidence.

On whether he feels like he will have the right players to execute the style of play that is expected of this team…
Yeah, I think so, because we’ve looked at our team, like I said earlier. You have to base your game on the type of players you have, the personnel you have, and what they are capable of doing. And what we’ve done as a coaching staff there at the end of the year is looked at our team and said, those are things we no doubt can accomplish. And you know, this thing -- the transition stuff and so on and so forth -- that they brought up are just things that because you’re coming into a new job, they’re answering questions to you guys. Peter [Chiarelli] had been here so long, he didn’t feel the need to go to you guys and then tell you what we needed to do; we just did it. You know, we made those adjustments every year, and I’ve talked about those kind of things with you guys. But that hasn’t changed. So it’s not because there is a new GM that all of a sudden the team is going to change totally. I think, again, Don [Sweeney] alluded to the fact that we’re not going to change our defensive game. Because there’s a lot of teams that try to emulate what we do, and it’s something that we should be proud of. And I think we should be proud of our offensive game. Because if you look back at past years, we’ve scored quite a bit. We’ve been in the tops of the league for a lot of years. So to me, it’s a bit of a myth that we don’t have any offense. We had a tough year last year, and we’re going to make adjustments, again, as I said, to try and create some more offense because of the style this game is heading towards. And we have to counterattack that with our game.

On whether he believes Dougie Hamilton has the potential to be a No. 1 defenseman in the NHL…
I do, I do. He’s really -- and we keep forgetting that he’s a 21-year-old, and that’s a really young player right there. And to have the impact that he’s had on our team, I think people noticed it even more when he missed the last few weeks of the season -- how much we missed a guy like him. And that’s the kind of impact that he has on our team. And he’s a great defenseman; there’s no doubt we like him. I think his teammates really appreciate what he brings to the table every night. And I think they realize what they missed when he wasn’t in the lineup. So I’m going to leave that one up to Donnie [Don Sweeney]. As coaches, we have our big challenges, and that’s Don’s big challenge. So we’re all hoping that he can get something done and hoping we can see him here at training camp.

On why the Bruins’ defensive system is right for him…
Well, you’ll probably get to see that, Fluto, as we move forward here with teams that are doing that. And we started doing that in the second half -- our D’s became very active in the O-zone, you know, coming down along the walls, there was a lot of changing of positions in the offensive zone. And when you’re playing man-on-man, to me, you know, you end you end up with your D up at the blueline from the defensive team because he’s following his guy all the way up there. You end up with your forward in front, and I don’t think that’s an ideal thing, anyways -- from my perspective, I don’t like seeing that. And our guys feel comfortable playing their position, and so far, that’s going to work, no matter what teams do. So we just have to -- with a lot of movement that’s going on, it creates a lot of confusion for teams that play man-on-man. So I just like the way our system is, and so far, that part of the game hasn’t failed us, and there’s no doubt there’s little tweaks we do to it every year, but the concept of it stays the same.

On how long he has known he would remain in his position…
Well, there’s certain things, honestly, that have to stay between Donnie [Don Sweeney] and I. But you know, it was allowing him to do the rest of the stuff, I think was important. So I know you guys felt I was probably waiting for a long time, but maybe not as long as it seemed.

#6/10/15#
BOSTON BRUINS HEAD COACH CLAUDE JULIEN MEDIA AVAILABILITY AT 9:30 A.M.

On what it was like to go 2 months without knowing his future…

It was not how it made me feel; I think it was more about understanding the situation and you lose a GM that you’ve worked with for a long time that you’ve enjoyed working with who I think has done a great job here, and then you’ve got to readjust here and get used to probably working with somebody else, and that’s always your hope. But at the same time, I think the important part was to understand — and I said it right from the get go, when I met with him, that I understand the business and you have to allow the GM time to assess and make decisions and he’s got to feel comfortable, too. So as much as it wasn’t a lot of fun or easy, it wasn’t frustration; it was more about understanding the situation, and I understood it. I spoke with Don [Sweeney] quite a few times, and we talked about different things, so it wasn’t just about one situation, which is the coach; it was about the whole situation of coaches, trainers, everything else. We went through the whole scenario of what was important for him to know, and he had to make some decisions.

 

On whether he had any concern about the length of the process…

Well, again, it’s kind of a give and take; you say — my, I guess, my feeling was pretty positive. I really felt like we could certainly work together and even in our conversations, it felt that way, so maybe if it hadn’t been that way, it would have been different. But it wasn’t, and again, you have to — those are tough situations. They’re part of the business, and you have to understand that. It’s not always, I guess, a comfortable situation, but it happens to, I guess, everybody at some point in this type of business.

 

On whether he feels like he has the same type of support from ownership and management that he had before…

Yeah, I do. I do. And I know a lot of speculations have been made about whether this is temporary or whatever it is, but you know, we’re really committed and determined to take this team and move forward with it in the right direction. Don [Sweeney] and I have had talks, and very, very similar outlook on what’s needed and what we want to do. There was never an issue there at all. So that’s why it’s worked out. We seem to be seeing the same things. Personality-wise, we’ve known each other for a long time, and there wasn’t as probably a tough process, as far as evaluating, as much as people might think, but it was more about the time that was needed for him to feel comfortable with everything.

 

On whether there needed to be any compromising with GM Don Sweeney to make sure that their philosophical approach to the upcoming season was the same…

No; they meshed right away because when you talk philosophical approaches, every year so far — and it will continue to be that way — we make adjustments in our game. The game evolves, the rules change, and again, the personnel of your team changes, so you make adjustments accordingly. Ironically enough, two days after the season was done, the coaching staff, we met and we’d already made some adjustments that we felt would probably be something we’d like to see in our game, and Don [Sweeney] happened to come in, and we talked about those things, so we’d already done the work on that. It just goes to show that we were seeing the same things, and that we were all on the same page.

 

On the nature of said adjustments…

I knew that was the next question. [Laughter] Listen, there’s just parts of the game — I’m not going to get into details about it — but there’s things that we feel that we can do as a team with the way the game has changed a little bit to help our transition game a little bit better. There was a time when the transition game was good, with the way teams were forechecking; teams’ forecheck have changed a lot, so we’ve got some other things that we feel we can do that’s going to help us get our transition game coming out of our own end better, and creating some speed, so again, we had already kind of addressed that, and so we’re going to hopefully introduce that into camp like we do every year. Like I said, those aren’t changes to me; those are just adjustments like we do every year.

 

On the fact that there will be no changes to the coaching staff…

Well, it’s important. I mean, whichever way his comment came out, I don’t think it was necessary hinting at necessarily making a change, but the coaching department, I think he met with every coach and wanted to hear a little bit — or spoke with them and wanted to hear a little bit from everybody again, so that he could feel comfortable that the staff around me was as confident as he wanted it to be. Obviously, after that, it was done; he had no issues with that. We discussed; he asked me if I wanted to keep my staff together, and I said I’d like to. So there was no arguments about that; there was just, again, a thorough review of everything.

 

On whether he looked elsewhere at other coaching positions…

No. Not at all. Again, that’s why I said from the get-go, the impression I had was that they were hoping to keep me, and like they said, it was going to depend on the new GM, and I agreed. As much as you want the new GM to be comfortable with his guy, the same thing — if the new GM doesn’t like me as a coach, I don’t want to be here either. So I understood that right from the get-go, and Peter [Chiarelli] was let go, and basically, I was just waiting to see if that was going to be a good match, and it turned out to be.

 

On what it means to him to be the longest-tenured coach in the NHL…

It just means that I’m probably the next one to fall off the totem pole, right? [Laughter] That’s basically it. So I’m going to try to make it last as long as I can, to be honest with you. As I said before, I love Boston, I love the city, I love the fans — what a great group of fans that we have. Very — they love their team, and everything that I’ve seen around this city from all the sports team around, this is a great city to be in. So I feel privileged to be here, and as I said before, I’d like to make it last as long as I can.

 

On possibly surpassing Art Ross’ record for all-time wins in franchise history this upcoming season…

Well, I think to me, I probably feel a little sheepish because first of all, we know what Art Ross’ name means around the league, so at the same time, as nice as an honor as that would be and [I] would feel privileged about it, I also always take into consideration the era where all these things have taken place. The game changes, the rules change, the number of games you play per season changes, and from talking about the John Beliveaus, the Gordie Howes, the [Wayne] Gretzkys and [Mario] Lemieuxs, and probably now the [Sidney] Crosbys and the [Alex] Ovechkins — Bobby Orr — who was the greatest player? There’s always going to be that debate, and there’s great people in certain eras that you should never forget, and see what they’ve accomplished, and again, to me, that’s how I’ve looked at it. So it would be an honor, but certainly wouldn’t compare myself to him because he worked in a different era and he still deserves the accolades that he’s had all along.

 

On whether any upcoming philosophical changes to the team’s style of play will be vey noticeable…

That’s why I said it’s adjustments. It’s not subtle changes; you’re not going to — for people to think we’re going to play a run-and-gun game, that’s not happening. We can talk about all kinds of things, and the teams that are in the Finals now, one of them had an even better goals-against average than we did, so this game hasn’t changed. You need good defense and good offense. You need both. And we’ve been able to do that for a lot of years. Just because we had a tough year last year doesn’t mean we’re all about defense; it’s more about — we gave up more goals last year than we did the year before. So that should be criticized as much as the goals for. It was just a tough year, and when we’ve compared our scoring chances last year to the year before, where we scored a lot, surprisingly enough, the scoring chances are almost identical. The biggest thing in that was — the biggest difference last year was the finish. And that’s something you’ve got to work on as well as individuals and as coaching staff — how can we get our players to have better finish? But the chances were created, and I know it didn’t look that way because when you don’t score, it doesn’t seem like your offense is as good, and we think it definitely can be better, but at the same time we’ve got to work on certain things. So that’s what I mean by making adjustments. There are going to be little subtle adjustments along the way, but nothing major.

 

On whether there will be roster issues next year similar to those the team experienced this past season…

Well, you’ve got a year’s experience under the young players’ belts. There’s no doubt that helps. But you’ve got to understand one thing: You look at the teams right now, there’s a lot of veteran players on that Chicago team, and that’s why they’ve been there three years in a row. So we have to be patient with our young players, and I know Don [Sweeney] alluded to that, and I came up coaching junior hockey, and I know how those young players are. I’ve had a lot of patience with those guys. Sometimes, you have to take a hard stance, but it doesn’t mean you’re not patient with them, and that you’re not trying to make those guys better. But at the same time, we’ve got to be realistic. There’s certain parts of the game that those guys have to evolve in, and you can teach, but they’ve got to also improve in those areas, and that’s what we’re going to try to do moving forward with our young players, is bringing [them] to that next level that’s going to make them that much better.

 

On whether he is confident in winger Ryan Spooner heading into next season…

Well, again, everybody’s got to win a job in training camp, and there’s no doubt Ryan [Spooner] showed a lot last year. I thought he took a real big step forward the second time he came up. As much as he was great on the power play and stuff like that, he seemed to be a little bit more engaged, which is an area that he wasn’t doing as well before, so you hope, again, that he takes that next step to be even more engaged. We still know that line spent a lot of time in the D-zone, and that’s not where I wanted to see them. I wanted to see them in the offensive end. So in order to do that, you’ve got to improve your game in that area — turn the puck over so that you can play to your strength.

 

On whether he ever thought during the last two months that there was a chance he would not return as head coach…

There’s never a guarantee, but I’m going to be honest with you: I never felt that way. Was there doubts or question marks? Absolutely, because you don’t know who’s coming in and what they want to do. But I never felt threatened here. I think the people around me have shown me that they seem to have enough confidence that I didn’t really feel that way.

 

On whether his feelings changed in any way after Don Sweeney was hired as general manager on May 20…

Well, I think — no. I don’t think I jumped and said, “I’ve got this.” It didn’t matter necessarily who it was; I think it’s about making the right fit. So just because it’s Don and he’s been in our organization doesn’t mean that maybe he’s agreed 100 percent with everything that’s been going on. So there’s no guarantee there. But the good part is that Don’s been here for eight years, I think — as long as I have — and so there’s a little bit of chemistry, there’s a little bit of knowledge. Personality-wise, we’ve talked, and we spent some time together, so it’s not like you’re trying to get used to a brand-new guy. So that’s been refreshing.  

 

On if he told Don Sweeney what he expects of him as a general manager…

Well, it’s not my job to tell the GM what I expect of him, but we did discuss, you know, what’s expected of our roles. He’s told me those are things that he would like, and I 100 percent agree with him. He’s got a good -- you know, Don’s [Sweeney] been around for a long time. Even though he may be viewed as a rookie GM, he’s done a lot of things around here that gives him the opportunity to step in and be fairly comfortable with everything that’s going around. He’s seen everyone has their own touch on things, and he’s going to come in and make a few tweaks here and there that he wants to do. And that’s understandable.

 

On bringing a level of grit back into the lineup…

Well, I think it’s got to be not just my job -- it’s got to be everyone’s job here. We have to be able to maybe have some players that have that, and that’s what they have alluded to. We need to bring that identity, and some of it has to be personnel -- whether it’s certain players growing in their roles and in the style of play, knowing that they’re capable of, or whether it’s bringing players in that can do that. I think it’s going to be a joint effort when it comes to that. And you know, we have to understand that it doesn’t get done overnight, so it’s going to take some patience.

 

On past reports that President Cam Neely has wanted to terminate him…

Because that’s what’s been out there, is it the truth? That’s the biggest question. So you know, I guess that comment that keeps coming back. And like I said, I remember meeting with Cam [Neely] about that, and you know, that zero-zero comment -- it’s so long gone. We’ve been together on the road, and we’ve had drinks, and we’ve spent time together. I think it’s foolish to think that a president is just hovering over a coach’s head, waiting to fire him. Because he’s had – guys, he’s had the power, I guess, to do that, and he didn’t, so I think there and then, that’s got to say something. So it’s not an issue for me, and I think, again, those things come out in different ways and those are things that you live with in this kind of business. There are a lot of speculations, but there’s no concrete evidence.

 

On whether he feels like he will have the right players to execute the style of play that is expected of this team…

Yeah, I think so, because we’ve looked at our team, like I said earlier. You have to base your game on the type of players you have, the personnel you have, and what they are capable of doing. And what we’ve done as a coaching staff there at the end of the year is looked at our team and said, those are things we no doubt can accomplish. And you know, this thing -- the transition stuff and so on and so forth -- that they brought up are just things that because you’re coming into a new job, they’re answering questions to you guys. Peter [Chiarelli] had been here so long, he didn’t feel the need to go to you guys and then tell you what we needed to do; we just did it. You know, we made those adjustments every year, and I’ve talked about those kind of things with you guys. But that hasn’t changed. So it’s not because there is a new GM that all of a sudden the team is going to change totally. I think, again, Don [Sweeney] alluded to the fact that we’re not going to change our defensive game. Because there’s a lot of teams that try to emulate what we do, and it’s something that we should be proud of. And I think we should be proud of our offensive game. Because if you look back at past years, we’ve scored quite a bit. We’ve been in the tops of the league for a lot of years. So to me, it’s a bit of a myth that we don’t have any offense. We had a tough year last year, and we’re going to make adjustments, again, as I said, to try and create some more offense because of the style this game is heading towards. And we have to counterattack that with our game.

 

On whether he believes Dougie Hamilton has the potential to be a No. 1 defenseman in the NHL…

I do, I do. He’s really -- and we keep forgetting that he’s a 21-year-old, and that’s a really young player right there. And to have the impact that he’s had on our team, I think people noticed it even more when he missed the last few weeks of the season -- how much we missed a guy like him. And that’s the kind of impact that he has on our team. And he’s a great defenseman; there’s no doubt we like him. I think his teammates really appreciate what he brings to the table every night. And I think they realize what they missed when he wasn’t in the lineup. So I’m going to leave that one up to Donnie [Don Sweeney]. As coaches, we have our big challenges, and that’s Don’s big challenge. So we’re all hoping that he can get something done and hoping we can see him here at training camp.

 

On why the Bruins’ defensive system is right for him…

Well, you’ll probably get to see that, Fluto, as we move forward here with teams that are doing that. And we started doing that in the second half -- our D’s became very active in the O-zone, you know, coming down along the walls, there was a lot of changing of positions in the offensive zone. And when you’re playing man-on-man, to me, you know, you end you end up with your D up at the blueline from the defensive team because he’s following his guy all the way up there. You end up with your forward in front, and I don’t think that’s an ideal thing, anyways -- from my perspective, I don’t like seeing that. And our guys feel comfortable playing their position, and so far, that’s going to work, no matter what teams do. So we just have to -- with a lot of movement that’s going on, it creates a lot of confusion for teams that play man-on-man. So I just like the way our system is, and so far, that part of the game hasn’t failed us, and there’s no doubt there’s little tweaks we do to it every year, but the concept of it stays the same.

 

On how long he has known he would remain in his position…

Well, there’s certain things, honestly, that have to stay between Donnie [Don Sweeney] and I. But you know, it was allowing him to do the rest of the stuff, I think was important. So I know you guys felt I was probably waiting for a long time, but maybe not as long as it seemed.

 

#6/10/15#

BOSTON BRUINS MEDIA AVAILABILITY

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

BOSTON BRUINS HEAD COACH CLAUDE JULIEN MEDIA AVAILABILITY AT 9:30 A.M.

On what it was like to go 2 months without knowing his future…

It was not how it made me feel; I think it was more about understanding the situation and you lose a GM that you’ve worked with for a long time that you’ve enjoyed working with who I think has done a great job here, and then you’ve got to readjust here and get used to probably working with somebody else, and that’s always your hope. But at the same time, I think the important part was to understand — and I said it right from the get go, when I met with him, that I understand the business and you have to allow the GM time to assess and make decisions and he’s got to feel comfortable, too. So as much as it wasn’t a lot of fun or easy, it wasn’t frustration; it was more about understanding the situation, and I understood it. I spoke with Don [Sweeney] quite a few times, and we talked about different things, so it wasn’t just about one situation, which is the coach; it was about the whole situation of coaches, trainers, everything else. We went through the whole scenario of what was important for him to know, and he had to make some decisions.

On whether he had any concern about the length of the process…

Well, again, it’s kind of a give and take; you say — my, I guess, my feeling was pretty positive. I really felt like we could certainly work together and even in our conversations, it felt that way, so maybe if it hadn’t been that way, it would have been different. But it wasn’t, and again, you have to — those are tough situations. They’re part of the business, and you have to understand that. It’s not always, I guess, a comfortable situation, but it happens to, I guess, everybody at some point in this type of business.

On whether he feels like he has the same type of support from ownership and management that he had before…

Yeah, I do. I do. And I know a lot of speculations have been made about whether this is temporary or whatever it is, but you know, we’re really committed and determined to take this team and move forward with it in the right direction. Don [Sweeney] and I have had talks, and very, very similar outlook on what’s needed and what we want to do. There was never an issue there at all. So that’s why it’s worked out. We seem to be seeing the same things. Personality-wise, we’ve known each other for a long time, and there wasn’t as probably a tough process, as far as evaluating, as much as people might think, but it was more about the time that was needed for him to feel comfortable with everything.

On whether there needed to be any compromising with GM Don Sweeney to make sure that their philosophical approach to the upcoming season was the same…

No; they meshed right away because when you talk philosophical approaches, every year so far — and it will continue to be that way — we make adjustments in our game. The game evolves, the rules change, and again, the personnel of your team changes, so you make adjustments accordingly. Ironically enough, two days after the season was done, the coaching staff, we met and we’d already made some adjustments that we felt would probably be something we’d like to see in our game, and Don [Sweeney] happened to come in, and we talked about those things, so we’d already done the work on that. It just goes to show that we were seeing the same things, and that we were all on the same page.

On the nature of said adjustments…

I knew that was the next question. [Laughter] Listen, there’s just parts of the game — I’m not going to get into details about it — but there’s things that we feel that we can do as a team with the way the game has changed a little bit to help our transition game a little bit better. There was a time when the transition game was good, with the way teams were forechecking; teams’ forecheck have changed a lot, so we’ve got some other things that we feel we can do that’s going to help us get our transition game coming out of our own end better, and creating some speed, so again, we had already kind of addressed that, and so we’re going to hopefully introduce that into camp like we do every year. Like I said, those aren’t changes to me; those are just adjustments like we do every year.

On the fact that there will be no changes to the coaching staff…

Well, it’s important. I mean, whichever way his comment came out, I don’t think it was necessary hinting at necessarily making a change, but the coaching department, I think he met with every coach and wanted to hear a little bit — or spoke with them and wanted to hear a little bit from everybody again, so that he could feel comfortable that the staff around me was as confident as he wanted it to be. Obviously, after that, it was done; he had no issues with that. We discussed; he asked me if I wanted to keep my staff together, and I said I’d like to. So there was no arguments about that; there was just, again, a thorough review of everything.

On whether he looked elsewhere at other coaching positions…

No. Not at all. Again, that’s why I said from the get-go, the impression I had was that they were hoping to keep me, and like they said, it was going to depend on the new GM, and I agreed. As much as you want the new GM to be comfortable with his guy, the same thing — if the new GM doesn’t like me as a coach, I don’t want to be here either. So I understood that right from the get-go, and Peter [Chiarelli] was let go, and basically, I was just waiting to see if that was going to be a good match, and it turned out to be.

On what it means to him to be the longest-tenured coach in the NHL…

It just means that I’m probably the next one to fall off the totem pole, right? [Laughter] That’s basically it. So I’m going to try to make it last as long as I can, to be honest with you. As I said before, I love Boston, I love the city, I love the fans — what a great group of fans that we have. Very — they love their team, and everything that I’ve seen around this city from all the sports team around, this is a great city to be in. So I feel privileged to be here, and as I said before, I’d like to make it last as long as I can.

On possibly surpassing Art Ross’ record for all-time wins in franchise history this upcoming season…

Well, I think to me, I probably feel a little sheepish because first of all, we know what Art Ross’ name means around the league, so at the same time, as nice as an honor as that would be and [I] would feel privileged about it, I also always take into consideration the era where all these things have taken place. The game changes, the rules change, the number of games you play per season changes, and from talking about the John Beliveaus, the Gordie Howes, the [Wayne] Gretzkys and [Mario] Lemieuxs, and probably now the [Sidney] Crosbys and the [Alex] Ovechkins — Bobby Orr — who was the greatest player? There’s always going to be that debate, and there’s great people in certain eras that you should never forget, and see what they’ve accomplished, and again, to me, that’s how I’ve looked at it. So it would be an honor, but certainly wouldn’t compare myself to him because he worked in a different era and he still deserves the accolades that he’s had all along.

On whether any upcoming philosophical changes to the team’s style of play will be vey noticeable…

That’s why I said it’s adjustments. It’s not subtle changes; you’re not going to — for people to think we’re going to play a run-and-gun game, that’s not happening. We can talk about all kinds of things, and the teams that are in the Finals now, one of them had an even better goals-against average than we did, so this game hasn’t changed. You need good defense and good offense. You need both. And we’ve been able to do that for a lot of years. Just because we had a tough year last year doesn’t mean we’re all about defense; it’s more about — we gave up more goals last year than we did the year before. So that should be criticized as much as the goals for. It was just a tough year, and when we’ve compared our scoring chances last year to the year before, where we scored a lot, surprisingly enough, the scoring chances are almost identical. The biggest thing in that was — the biggest difference last year was the finish. And that’s something you’ve got to work on as well as individuals and as coaching staff — how can we get our players to have better finish? But the chances were created, and I know it didn’t look that way because when you don’t score, it doesn’t seem like your offense is as good, and we think it definitely can be better, but at the same time we’ve got to work on certain things. So that’s what I mean by making adjustments. There are going to be little subtle adjustments along the way, but nothing major.

On whether there will be roster issues next year similar to those the team experienced this past season…

Well, you’ve got a year’s experience under the young players’ belts. There’s no doubt that helps. But you’ve got to understand one thing: You look at the teams right now, there’s a lot of veteran players on that Chicago team, and that’s why they’ve been there three years in a row. So we have to be patient with our young players, and I know Don [Sweeney] alluded to that, and I came up coaching junior hockey, and I know how those young players are. I’ve had a lot of patience with those guys. Sometimes, you have to take a hard stance, but it doesn’t mean you’re not patient with them, and that you’re not trying to make those guys better. But at the same time, we’ve got to be realistic. There’s certain parts of the game that those guys have to evolve in, and you can teach, but they’ve got to also improve in those areas, and that’s what we’re going to try to do moving forward with our young players, is bringing [them] to that next level that’s going to make them that much better.

On whether he is confident in winger Ryan Spooner heading into next season…

Well, again, everybody’s got to win a job in training camp, and there’s no doubt Ryan [Spooner] showed a lot last year. I thought he took a real big step forward the second time he came up. As much as he was great on the power play and stuff like that, he seemed to be a little bit more engaged, which is an area that he wasn’t doing as well before, so you hope, again, that he takes that next step to be even more engaged. We still know that line spent a lot of time in the D-zone, and that’s not where I wanted to see them. I wanted to see them in the offensive end. So in order to do that, you’ve got to improve your game in that area — turn the puck over so that you can play to your strength.

On whether he ever thought during the last two months that there was a chance he would not return as head coach…

There’s never a guarantee, but I’m going to be honest with you: I never felt that way. Was there doubts or question marks? Absolutely, because you don’t know who’s coming in and what they want to do. But I never felt threatened here. I think the people around me have shown me that they seem to have enough confidence that I didn’t really feel that way.

On whether his feelings changed in any way after Don Sweeney was hired as general manager on May 20…

Well, I think — no. I don’t think I jumped and said, “I’ve got this.” It didn’t matter necessarily who it was; I think it’s about making the right fit. So just because it’s Don and he’s been in our organization doesn’t mean that maybe he’s agreed 100 percent with everything that’s been going on. So there’s no guarantee there. But the good part is that Don’s been here for eight years, I think — as long as I have — and so there’s a little bit of chemistry, there’s a little bit of knowledge. Personality-wise, we’ve talked, and we spent some time together, so it’s not like you’re trying to get used to a brand-new guy. So that’s been refreshing.

On if he told Don Sweeney what he expects of him as a general manager…

Well, it’s not my job to tell the GM what I expect of him, but we did discuss, you know, what’s expected of our roles. He’s told me those are things that he would like, and I 100 percent agree with him. He’s got a good -- you know, Don’s [Sweeney] been around for a long time. Even though he may be viewed as a rookie GM, he’s done a lot of things around here that gives him the opportunity to step in and be fairly comfortable with everything that’s going around. He’s seen everyone has their own touch on things, and he’s going to come in and make a few tweaks here and there that he wants to do. And that’s understandable.

On bringing a level of grit back into the lineup…

Well, I think it’s got to be not just my job -- it’s got to be everyone’s job here. We have to be able to maybe have some players that have that, and that’s what they have alluded to. We need to bring that identity, and some of it has to be personnel -- whether it’s certain players growing in their roles and in the style of play, knowing that they’re capable of, or whether it’s bringing players in that can do that. I think it’s going to be a joint effort when it comes to that. And you know, we have to understand that it doesn’t get done overnight, so it’s going to take some patience.

On past reports that President Cam Neely has wanted to terminate him…

Because that’s what’s been out there, is it the truth? That’s the biggest question. So you know, I guess that comment that keeps coming back. And like I said, I remember meeting with Cam [Neely] about that, and you know, that zero-zero comment -- it’s so long gone. We’ve been together on the road, and we’ve had drinks, and we’ve spent time together. I think it’s foolish to think that a president is just hovering over a coach’s head, waiting to fire him. Because he’s had – guys, he’s had the power, I guess, to do that, and he didn’t, so I think there and then, that’s got to say something. So it’s not an issue for me, and I think, again, those things come out in different ways and those are things that you live with in this kind of business. There are a lot of speculations, but there’s no concrete evidence.

On whether he feels like he will have the right players to execute the style of play that is expected of this team…

Yeah, I think so, because we’ve looked at our team, like I said earlier. You have to base your game on the type of players you have, the personnel you have, and what they are capable of doing. And what we’ve done as a coaching staff there at the end of the year is looked at our team and said, those are things we no doubt can accomplish. And you know, this thing -- the transition stuff and so on and so forth -- that they brought up are just things that because you’re coming into a new job, they’re answering questions to you guys. Peter [Chiarelli] had been here so long, he didn’t feel the need to go to you guys and then tell you what we needed to do; we just did it. You know, we made those adjustments every year, and I’ve talked about those kind of things with you guys. But that hasn’t changed. So it’s not because there is a new GM that all of a sudden the team is going to change totally. I think, again, Don [Sweeney] alluded to the fact that we’re not going to change our defensive game. Because there’s a lot of teams that try to emulate what we do, and it’s something that we should be proud of. And I think we should be proud of our offensive game. Because if you look back at past years, we’ve scored quite a bit. We’ve been in the tops of the league for a lot of years. So to me, it’s a bit of a myth that we don’t have any offense. We had a tough year last year, and we’re going to make adjustments, again, as I said, to try and create some more offense because of the style this game is heading towards. And we have to counterattack that with our game.

On whether he believes Dougie Hamilton has the potential to be a No. 1 defenseman in the NHL…

I do, I do. He’s really -- and we keep forgetting that he’s a 21-year-old, and that’s a really young player right there. And to have the impact that he’s had on our team, I think people noticed it even more when he missed the last few weeks of the season -- how much we missed a guy like him. And that’s the kind of impact that he has on our team. And he’s a great defenseman; there’s no doubt we like him. I think his teammates really appreciate what he brings to the table every night. And I think they realize what they missed when he wasn’t in the lineup. So I’m going to leave that one up to Donnie [Don Sweeney]. As coaches, we have our big challenges, and that’s Don’s big challenge. So we’re all hoping that he can get something done and hoping we can see him here at training camp.

On why the Bruins’ defensive system is right for him…

Well, you’ll probably get to see that, Fluto, as we move forward here with teams that are doing that. And we started doing that in the second half -- our D’s became very active in the O-zone, you know, coming down along the walls, there was a lot of changing of positions in the offensive zone. And when you’re playing man-on-man, to me, you know, you end you end up with your D up at the blueline from the defensive team because he’s following his guy all the way up there. You end up with your forward in front, and I don’t think that’s an ideal thing, anyways -- from my perspective, I don’t like seeing that. And our guys feel comfortable playing their position, and so far, that’s going to work, no matter what teams do. So we just have to -- with a lot of movement that’s going on, it creates a lot of confusion for teams that play man-on-man. So I just like the way our system is, and so far, that part of the game hasn’t failed us, and there’s no doubt there’s little tweaks we do to it every year, but the concept of it stays the same.

On how long he has known he would remain in his position…

Well, there’s certain things, honestly, that have to stay between Donnie [Don Sweeney] and I. But you know, it was allowing him to do the rest of the stuff, I think was important. So I know you guys felt I was probably waiting for a long time, but maybe not as long as it seemed.

#6/10/15#

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