On his way back from Vermont-based team-building activities Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien talked about Boston's game in Our Nation's Capital and the game in the Garden on Wednesday, which directly precedes the club's journey to Belfast, Northern Ireland.
"We want to cut our roster down here and I think in the next few days we’d probably like to have our roster down to, I would say, somewhere around 27," said Julien via conference call. "If we could get down to that, that would be our goal going to Europe [because] there’s got to be some decisions made here in the next little while.
"Having said that, we also have a tough situation here with the schedule being as tight as it is. We’re coming back today from Vermont, in Washington tomorrow, Washington back home Wednesday, then leave for Europe," explained Juline. "We’ve had a busy camp, so we may go to Washington tomorrow with [a plan of] giving some of those younger guys another opportunity here to be seen and giving some of our maybe older players -- and then we’re talking about players that have families-- an opportunity to maybe stay home and have that day, and then we’ll see them on Wednesday.
"It’s giving us an opportunity to see some guys that we want to see again tomorrow and it will probably give us a better opportunity Wednesday to get a little bit closer to our team, so that’s our plan in the next couple of games here."
The plan for the Vermont activities was to strengthen the group and, according to Julien, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara
and assistant captain Patrice Bergeron
, the trip did the trick.
"Obviously, we spent a great couple of days here doing some team-building activities that we not only hope, but know, will help our team grow in a lot of areas," said Julien. "We really feel that we’ve got a good group of guys and we really feel confident that our team is going to be very successful this year, and what we wanted to do was put all the odds on our side by making sure our players had a chance to get to know each other even better, learn to work with each other in different ways and kind of discovered themselves as far as knowing how to push themselves and probably push themselves further than they ever think they could push themselves.
"It was a very productive two days," said Julien. "I think they not only experienced some good things, but they also endured it and had a lot of fun doing it."
Bergeron said that the trip and being able to get to know the new faces on the club did help.
"Obviously, the first couple days of training camp, we were separated in two groups so it kind of gave us a better chance to get to know some of the guys and have some connection with them," said Patrice. "It was great to just bond as a team, as a group, but also, with some of the individuals that we didn’t get a chance to talk to that much during camp.
"I mean, we’re just going along here with the same theme here and trying to get a better team and have, I guess, team spirit and better chemistry together, so those two days have been huge for us, helping us building chemistry together and building that bond that we need to have off the ice to bring it on the ice and I think it was huge for us."
Chara thought that the Vermont trip added to the chemistry that was already growing in the Bruins locker room.
"It’s not like we didn’t have any chemistry," said Chara. "It’s just one of those things that the heavy schedule during the training camp doesn’t give you the chance to spend the quality time with your teammates
"This way, if you go maybe for two or three days somewhere else, away from the city, away from the hockey rink, you really spend quality time with your teammates and you do these exercises -- not that you’ve never seen them before or that you haven’t done them. It’s just that, some of those things...really help you to go a little bit deeper into [each other's] minds and explore yourself and really open up to your teammates.
"Sometimes it’s not easy, but guys have shown that they are willing to do that."