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Claude Julien Transcript 9/22

http://www.bostonbruins.com @NHLBruins

Well, first of all, I just want to say hi to everybody. Welcome back to a new season. I hope you all had a good summer. Mine was good, but busy. I don't know how yours was, but hopefully, it was a good one.

On his opinion of the new practice facility…

Yeah. It's pretty awesome. I think they did an unbelievable job, to be honest with you, Joe. I think we obviously had outgrown the other place. But, coming here and seeing this, it certainly energizes you and excites you in getting ready for a new season.

 

On if he expects to change lines out of design this year due to more flexibility with David Backes

Well, there is that flexibility. I think that's definitely there. But, you hope that you can have some sort of consistency. I'm more of a believer in having consistency instead of always changing your lines around and building on that. It's not a bad thing, obviously, sometimes, you don't have a choice. But, we do have that flexibility and we may have to use it.

 

On what his World Cup of Hockey experience has been like and how long he is in town…

Just a day. I'm headed back this afternoon. I wanted to be here for the opening of camp and make sure we got off on the right foot and then give the players, I guess, the opening statements of the head coach. And, so, I was happy I was able to do that. We have a day off today and preparing for Saturday's game. So, it was - timing was great, allowing me to come here and do that. But, so far, it's been great in Toronto. The whole experience has been good. Anytime you get the elite players together on a single team and you look at all the different teams that were out there. I know it's a tough tournament and there's a lot of good teams. You just have to look at Team North America. Even us as a coaching staff for Team Canada, we're just amazed at how well they have done and how exciting they have made the game. I think a lot of people are crossing their fingers now that they can move on to the next stage in this tournament. But, it's been great, the experience has been great. It's been a lot of fun. It's also been exciting and a lot more excitement coming.

 

On how he felt about two Bruins players being on the first line and how he felt about that…

I didn't have to push for any of that, to be honest with you. This is basically on merit. One of the reason is Sid [Sidney Crosby] and obviously Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] have played together before. I think, at the same time, when you look at Bergy and Marc [Brad Marchand], they're pretty good together as a pair. So, it just seemed to be the right fit to start with, and it just worked out. We weren't necessarily thinking like, that's the line that's going to stay that way. They certainly had to prove they were a good line and they did that. But, our two guys have, no doubt, have been dialed in from day one, and to me, have been tremendous players for or hockey club.

 

On if last season raised his expectations for Brad Marchand…

I think Brad's been that kind of a player for quite a long time. We just have to look bac at his first year to where he is now. How much more - when I say he's matured as a hockey player, he's also matured as a person because he's also become a pretty good leader. Right now, where he is with Team Canada, he's also very respected by his teammates for the way he prepares, the way he plays, and everything else. He's come a long ways. And, at the same time, what better example to grow and become better when you're playing alongside probably with one of the best two-way centers in the league. He's had that luxury too. As a coach, you're extremely proud of how well they've done so far. If they can bring this to our hockey club this year, it certainly bodes well in the direction we're going in.

 

On if having David Backes changes plans for Ryan Spooner to play center…

Well, I think there's a lot that can happen in this training camp, Joe. I think a lot of it is, we'll see how Spoons [Ryan Spooner] does at center. We've still got him at center right now. There's no doubt that we have that option of [David] Backes being a strong third-lone center man. At the same time, you still have Backes as also a pretty strong right winger on your top two lines that you could also use. But, I think there's a lot of things - right now, we've looked at all the different scenarios and we're going to let it play out here in training camp and hopefully have a clear picture by the time we're ready to start.

 

On if he is involved with the grouping of guys during training camp…

We've done all of that stuff so far. We've made our teams for tomorrow's start of camp. And obviously, you kind of put those things together, but there's also medicals and everything else and sometimes you get a few surprises here and there. So, we've left some room to tweak those lineups. There's going to be two teams. Again, there's enough to make two teams of, more or less, I think its four lines and eight D's. So, we're in pretty good shape right now that way. Unless we get some different news here later on. But, that's been the plan. We've already done those things. We've preplanned our practices and everything. I'm fortunate to have some coaches in Joe Sacco and then Butch Cassidy who have also been head coaches in the NHL and can definitely handle that very easily. And, with Jay [Pandolfo], who's had a great relationship last year and moving forward here with the young kids and developing, they're going to do just fine here. We've got Kevin Dean that's going to step on the ice as well to help out and get to know the players well also. That's going to be a help to him moving forward when those guys start coming to Providence.

 

On if he feels like he has a lot of discovery and questions to answer going into this camp…

Well, there's no doubt. There's some questions to be answered. As I mentioned earlier, there's a lot of things, I think, that are going to be decided here in training camp by giving those guys opportunities and see where they fit. But, I also look at this as when I first came in and when we started building our team and putting it together, there's also some good excitement here. I can remember having 19-year-old David Krejci for his first full year. Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] obviously was injured that year but was a young player. There was a lot of guys that came in that year and had become decent players by the end of the year. I think there's an opportunity here with a lot of those guys to do the same thing. I'm really excited about that challenge. I love those kind of challenges where you can take some of those young players and make them into reliable players. What you want is just the guys that play the game the right way and respect the game plan and let the rest of their abilities take over. They're all skilled players and they all have strengths. But, at the end of the day, it's so important that you play a certain way that everybody knows what's going on out there, we're not on different pages.

 

On his day-to-day responsibilities with Team Canada…

Keep things loose. And, obviously, they got me doing the penalty kill, which is the same thing I did at the Olympics. So, Barry Trotz has been doing the power play in regards to that. On the bench, I'm the guy that gives Mike Babcock feedback. I'm also the guy he bounces things on and asks me for my opinion. So, that's why I'm next to him all the time. I've got the ear piece and I kind of work closely with him. Joel [Quienville] takes care of moving the D's around and obviously, Barry [Trotz] is working with the power play and giving the forwards some advice here.

 

On what it's been like managing the Bruins and Team Canada…

It's actually been pretty good, Fluto, to be honest with you. As I mentioned earlier, I think everybody was well prepared for that. I think we all did a good job of getting everything ready and in place. Obviously, when you start training camp and your head coach isn't there, it's going to be a little bit different for the players. But, the whole concept of the training camp is not. And that's why I said in my position here, having guys that have been head coaches in the NHL, is certainly a plus for us. But, everything is so well put in place. And just talking to the other guys also where they have their coaching staff in and they've prepared everything that's going to be - we're talking here a week to maybe 10 days at the most. So, I'm sure that we can get around that fairly easily. Those first few exhibition games, you always give a lot of the young players an opportunity early on to see if they can take that next step to remain longer in training camp. So, I think I saw the game the other day in Buffalo in the rookie tournament. So, I got, obviously, I got a good feel on the young players that were there. So, I feel like I'm on top. Same thing, I'll be in contact every day with our coaching staff and Don [Sweeney] here and I'll make sure I stay on top of things.

 

On if he feels the defense can improve…

Well, my plan is to upgrade our D with our play. I think I really, honestly feel that we can be a lot better of a D group just by our play. We're going to do some things this year, again, we talk about tweaking things and the game evolves and we're going to evolve with it. So, I think we have the ability to make our D core better this year with our play and that's where we're going to start.

 

On what his expectations are for Colin Miller

I think, in his case, he's got all of the ability. He's a good skater, he's got a great shot, he moves the puck well. For the most part, he's got everything he does and I think last year was more about, maybe settling his game down a little bit. At times, it got a little bit reckless and that's where we have to come in as coaches in Providence and helping him out. And that's here doing the same thing and just kind of settling his game down in certain areas and making it better in others and that way, he'll be a complete player. We feel he's got the package to be that. But, again, some players just need to grow into those roles. Some players need a little bit more time to develop their skills at lower levels. So, we're just trying to make the best decision here moving forward. We really do feel he's a guy that can certainly help this hockey club.

 

On what he liked about Anton Khudobin his first time with the team and what he expects this time around…

Well, I think his play was good. I thought he played well for us. He did a great job as a second goaltender, a backup, whatever we want to call him. I think he won us some big games. The other part I liked about Doby [Anton Khudobin] is that he was such a good player but a good teammate as well. He wasn't this quiet backup goaltender that, sometimes you say you don't want to ruffle feathers. But, he blended in well with the team. The guys liked him and that's an important part of being on a hockey club as well is that you blend in and you're a part of that group. Even if he didn't play, he wasn't afraid to speak out and talk, and be involved, and we liked that. But, definitely meets number one criteria but I think did a great job for us that year backing up and winning us some important games.

 

On if he is surprised at Team USA's play at the World Cup of Hockey…

Again, to be honest with you, we've really focused on our team. I mean, we've watched their play and what we needed to do to beat them. But, you look at the two preseason games, they were, we won one, we lost one, they weren't a bad hockey club. But, at the same time, you've got to remember there's a lot of competition, there's a lot of pressure. I know it's unfortunate when you go through those things. They take a lot of heat just as we would if we wouldn't have gotten to where we are right now. And if we don't get to where we want to get, we're going to be in the same boat. That's just the pressure that comes with representing your country and the expectations. You learn to live with it and you learn to deal with it and you go out there and give it your best. The only thing I can tell you is I don't think anybody on that team didn't go out there trying to do their best. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. I think against us, if I'm correct, they hit three posts. There's a lot of things here that, say those three posts go in, they win a hockey game, we're talking a different tune today for Team USA. In those kind of tournaments, the margin of error is very thin, the critics are very high.

 

On if he thinks the tweets from Phil Kessel and Matt Beleskey were harmless…

Well, I don't care because I really stay off the Twitter accounts and I really don't have time for that. So, I really don't pay much attention. I have no reason to comment on those things. It's like that everywhere. It's all over the world now. Everybody comments on those things. I think the best thing you can do, personally in my position, is keep your comments to yourself.

 

On if David Pastrnak playing in the World Cup accelerates expectations moving forward…

I don't know if it accelerates expectations. But it's certainly encouraging to see that a guy that's got that experience to go and play at that level and made himself better. I know, again, we know he's skilled we know he's fast, he's also gotten stronger. So, he's taking steps in the right direction here. And, we can look at those guys that are first overall picks and say, wow, some guys are exceptional. Some of the guys, you've got to give them time to grow and develop. That's what we need to do with David Pastrnak. I think we've got to stop putting expectations too high for him and allow him to grow properly. He's going to have some growing pains and there's still some things he's going to want to get better at. There's still some things that he's going to want to learn that we're going to want to teach. But, let's give him that opportunity to grow properly without the extra pressure and extra expectations that maybe are not realistic.

 

On if David Pastrnak's conditioning this year was better this his rookie season…

Absolutely. I think, again, a young guy who is understanding the game more and preparation more. Not that he didn't train, he trained. But I think he trained even better this year. He trained hard last year, he trained better this year. I think that's here he's taken a step in the right direction. Growing, maturing, and coming better.

 

On if he hopes they keep Team North America in the World Cup…

Well, I think it was a great idea. First of all, how many young players get the opportunity to play for their country. Sometimes, like I said, you've got the [Sidney] Crosby's and you've got the [Patrice] Bergeron's, for example, and those guys that take over some spots. Now, you've got some young players that get an opportunity here to showcase themselves. I thought it was a great idea. Even as a coach, I said earlier. I love watching their game. I thought it was absolutely fascinating to see how well they did. What's more exciting than that overtime game against Sweden. We're sitting in our office watching it and just loving it. As coaches, like I said, it was exciting to watch. But, at the same time, we talk about the USA, we talk about Canada. You've got to remember that at a certain extent, were we denying some of those players on our main teams? And that's where, had the USA had some of those young guys, would people be talking the same thing? This is where, let's take the good and positive and work with it that we gave young players and more North American players an opportunity to play in this tournament, and I think it was the right thing to do.

 

On how different the team and his job is without Loui Eriksson…

I don't think it's going to be that much different. As I said, there are going to be some guys that step up. No doubt, Loui was an experienced, smart player. But, we're going to get one of those. Backes is an experienced, smart player as well. We've got some young players that we really feel are going to come up and help us out. There's also players that we've picked up in those free agent signings and they've allowed us to fill out our bottom part of our roster so we can have a little bit more depth. You'd like to be able to spread your ice time around a little bit more. I felt our top players last year, because of a bigger workload, became heavy on them after a while. If we can spread that out a little bit and we've got [Riley] Nash now that can play center, wing, good skater, good penalty killer, can move up if need be. We've got guys like that that are going to give us some versatility. But, it's nice, anyways for me to see that we have a little bit more depth and that we'll be able to probably use our bench a little better than we did last year.

 

On if he had a general them or mindset he wanted to leave the team today…

Yeah. I think my saying was I want us to be a real good, smart team this year. Our goal is to play fast. Every coach is going to tell you that in this league, this is where it is right now. We want to play fast. That doesn't mean speed, it means playing fast. The puck's got to move faster, transition has to be fast. So, we want to play fast. We think with some of those younger players coming in and some of those tweaks we're going to make and then in our game is going to allow us to play fast. This is why this training camp is extremely important. This is why I spent a lot of time with my coaches this summer. We went through a bunch of things to make sure when we teach these first few days, it's going to be clear, it's going to be precise, and it's going to allow them to excel. And again, when I say clear and precise, it's not making them robotic. It's just means we're not going to - we're going to try and eliminate the gray areas that we can play freely and have some good legs and be able to play fast.

 

On what Daid Krejci and Torey Krug will be able to do at training camp…

Yeah. I got here this morning. I kind of got filled in on that. I think Don [Sweeney] will certainly address that with you guys later on. And I think he's going to have the update because we had offseason medicals this morning and everything else so there's a lot of information to come back. So, he'll probably have more by the time he meets you guys. But, to be honest with you, I haven't heard anything that's concerning to me right now.

 

On what he likes about Peter Mueller…

I think everybody knows he's a high skilled player. That was the biggest thing with Mueller was the skill level and obviously, a first round pick. He's a good player right now. I think the places he's been, the knock on him has been probably his work ethic. I think he's matured as an individual. He says he's matured as a player as well. We'd like to see him get a second chance here and if that's the case, we have an opportunity to have a good player in our lineup

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