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Confidence Remains Key

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA -- This morning, after watching several of his injured players skate during an optional in the TD Garden, Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien was asked if he gets frustrated with the many injured the club has endured of late.

"Not really," he said. "Those are things I can’t control.

"The way I look at it is a great challenge, not just for me, but for the players. This is, as I’ve said before, this is where you build your character. You go out there and compete hard, and for certain guys you got to maybe play a bigger role, and it helps you along the way.

"By the time you get to the end of the year and you’re a healthy team, all of those things have been positive things for your hockey club."

There was at least one positive in terms of Julien's roster this morning - forward Benoit Pouliot, who left Tuesday's game early with an undisclosed injury, skated successfully.

"Yeah, he looks good. He looks fine, told us he was ready to go," said Julien of Pouliot, who was joined by Andrew Ference and Daniel Paille during the B's sparsely attended pregame twirl.

"They’re skating – they’re not ready [and] they’re not going to be in the lineup tonight," said Julien of the defenseman and forward. "Still monitoring them, and obviously they looked pretty good out there today so I’ll say the same thing I said yesterday.

"They’re day-to-day, and obviously more positive than negative in their cases – is looking better every day."

Over the last couple of days, Julien has also been asked about his new goaltender Marty Turco, who will take over as Tim Thomas' backup with Michael Hutchinson returned to Providence on Wednesday afternoon.

"I like his work ethic, and I already like what I saw out there from yesterday to today, so I’m going to go back and answer the same way I answered yesterday. I have to play it by ear," said Julien of any plans to spell Thomas with a Turco start. "I have to see how comfortable he is and everything else, and the minute he’s comfortable he’s going to get an opportunity.

"We still have to win some hockey games, and you want him to be a positive impact so I’m going to give him that opportunity."

With injured regulars like Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley added to names like Ference and Paille, the B's continue see both newcomers and rookies see significant time. But Julien said that's what the B's acquired Mike Mottau, Brian Rolston and Greg Zanon to do.

"Good, actually very good," was Julien's assessment of the new trio. "In the dressing room, they fit in perfectly. They’ve been a great help on the ice, and you know it’s given us the depth that we wanted.

"Rolston, obviously he’s been here before so it’s his second stint, and Mike Mottau is a local guy so there’s not too much those guys are surprised with. And Zanon has been really good for us, steady defenseman."

Meanwhile, rookies Jordan Caron and Lane MacDermid have made significant contributions.

"He looks more comfortable, but I shouldn’t say 'comfortable' more than I say more 'confident'", said Julien of Caron. "Sometimes that’s all a guy needs is score a couple of goals and feel his way through and I thought he’s played the kind of game we anticipated he’d play for us.

"We hope that continues because he’s been real big contributor for us in the last few games."

And while MacDermid hasn't dented the scoreboard, his dropping the gloves against New York and being an easy fill-in on the Merlot line has made things easier for Boston.

"He obviously has some hockey sense," said Julien. "You watch him play – he finishes his checks well, he plays a big, tough grinding-type game.

"But he also plays a smart game. When it’s time to back check or be the third man, he reads the play well. Certainly not a liability out there, and right now what I’ve appreciated of him as that he’s come in and not played on his heels.

"He’s just gone out there and plays hard and seems to have a lot of confidence."

And confidence will be important against a strong Sabres team.

"They might be desperate but they’re also playing great hockey," said Julien.
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