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Bruins Hearing Message Loud and Clear

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

CALGARY - The Bruins were back to work for practice on Sunday morning following Saturday's off day in Calgary. The team next faces off against the Flames on Monday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

With the equipment set up at the Saddledome, the Black and Gold had a rare "dress and walk" for practice, suiting up and then heading across the street to Corral Arena, where the Flames first played from 1980-83.

The Bruins' skate saw them work tirelessly on coming up the ice as a five-man unit, something that has uncharacteristically been missing for them for the full 60 minutes as of late. It was especially apparent in their 5-2 loss in Vancouver on Friday night, when they gifted the Canucks four goals off ill decision-making, turnovers and mental mistakes.

"It's things that are easily correctable, so we can take those and fix those and then it's a different game," Torey Krug said after practice. "Those gifts that we've been giving them have been served on a platter so it's just about taking those and making sure we eliminate those from our game."

"We're self-inflicting ourselves with the damage that's being done right now," said Head Coach Claude Julien. "So we've just got to get better with that and understand what's the approach and philosophy we want to have moving forward here."

During Sunday's skate, Julien took a step back and had the assistant coaches mostly run the practice.

"Just observing the practice - it was good to get some different voices in there, because we had a meeting after practice and I didn't want them to have to listen to me all day long, so it was done purposely," said Julien.

The team held a meeting after practice that lasted well over a half hour.

"Just making sure we're getting back on the right track," Krug said of the mood of the group. "It was an ugly game in Vancouver and obviously we looked at some things we need to do better and it's a focused group right now heading into [Monday]."

Whether it's different players stepping up in the locker room, or assistant coaches Doug Jarvis, Doug Houda or Joe Sacco doing the talking, the approach is all coming from the same place.

"Well, I think it's like anything else. Like kids with their parents, right? You need to take turns and so it just - for me, it was more about - it's not what they got out of it from those guys, more than I needed to be heard after practice," said Julien. "And you get their attention a lot more if they haven't been listening to you for the last hour or so."

"It's definitely the same message," said Patrice Bergeron. "The other assistants are guys that we respect as well, so it was nice to have them lead practice today and change things up, but the message is the same, it has to be the same."

Plain and simple, the Bruins need to tighten up the execution of their game.

"[The coaches] are doing the right things and saying the right things and we're not executing," said Bergeron. "It's really about - I think we know what the system is and we should know what the system is and we just really have to go out there and have better pace, but also have better execution."

"Easy plays, and lots of plays that are happening are from our own doing and they're capitalizing on chances that we're basically just giving to them."

The Calgary Flames are an opportunistic team, with the second highest team shooting percentage in the League. They take advantage of their chances, and the Bruins can't keep serving those up.

"I can't play for them, so how is going to translate? I guess we'll see against Calgary," said Julien. "You just hope that you've given them enough to chew on and to think about that they're going to react properly."

Change on Defense?

During the bench boss' media availability, he was asked if he intended to make a switch on defense, given the gaffes in the Bruins' last stretch, where they've lost three straight games and four of their last five. The B's have given up five goals in each of their last two games, to Vancouver and Dallas.

"Well as you know, those are coaching decisions I have to make here moving forward and you're not wrong - it's something I have to consider," said Julien.

Matt Bartkowski has sat out the last 17 games straight as a healthy scratch.

Thoughts and Prayers for Montador

The Bruins were all saddened to hear of the passing of former Bruin Steve Montador, who spent the end of the 2009 season and the playoffs wearing the Spoked-B. The organization's thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.

"We had him here in Boston and I've known Monty since his first years coming in the American Hockey League, being in the Calgary organization," said Julien. "So it's a shocker this morning to get that news. I don't have all the details, I've heard the rumors but you know, no matter what it is, you hate losing a former player and for these guys, losing a former teammate, at such a young age."

"He wasn't here too long, but definitely really, really sad to hear that news this morning and it's definitely one of those things that you feel powerless and there's not much you can really do and say," said Bergeron. "But obviously our thoughts and prayers are with his close ones and his family, and it's definitely sad. He left us way too early."

Practice Lineup Feb. 15

White Jerseys: Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Reilly Smith

Gold: Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith

Gray: Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Burgundy: Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Craig Cunningham - Jordan Caron

Zdeno Chara - Kevan Miller

Dennis Seidenberg - Dougie Hamilton

Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

Matt Bartkowski

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Niklas Svedberg

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