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Everybody Must Step Up

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
SUNRISE, FL -- According to Head Coach Claude Julien, it's the imperfect mixture.

"That’s the challenge we have right now," he said. "We do have some guys that are tired, and unfortunately [there] are guys that aren’t playing up to par.

"At the same time, we've got lots of games and we have to play our way through it."

After the B's fourth-straight loss, 6-2, to the Florida Panthers, Julien said he and his coaching staff need to figure out how to navigate their club through their increasingly rocky run-up to the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"As a coaching staff...we have to find ways," said Julien. "I thought the offensive part with our forechecks and turning pucks over was good, now we’re going to work on the defensive part of our game in our own end.

"If we can get all those things together, we’re going to be a better team and battle through it. You can’t throw your arms up in the air and give up here, you have to fight through it."

Despite the frustration, Julien stood by his team and reitterated that he believed in his players, old and new.

"Why wouldn’t we? Those guys, the guys that we’ve had since last year, we know what they can do," said the head coach. "If they’re struggling right now its just a matter of them finding their way back.

"The other guys we brought in, they have to come in and help us out and that’s what we rely on right now – everybody to step up.

"And like I was saying to the coaches, teams aren’t beating us, we’re beating ourselves. That’s what’s disappointing right now is we’re beating ourselves. That’s not to take any credit away from the [Florida] team that played well, but we know our team better and we know our team is better than what they showed tonight," Julien said.

In the short term, Julien prescribed an immediate return to the tenacious defense that the B's have been known for since their coach joined the club prior to the 2006-07 season.

"When you give up 12 goals in two games...we need everybody," said Julien. "We need some good goaltending, some good defensive zone coverage and less breakdowns, and all that’s about is team.

"I told the guys the same thing, we didn’t win last year because of once person. We won because of the team, and right now we’re struggling because the team is struggling and we have to work our way out of that as a group."

Asked what he would do about the omnipresent fatigue factor, Julien said he had to think about that solution.

"You get up the next day, and you look at what you want to do and right now, your team is certainly tired but at the same time it’s not playing well so you got to fix it somehow," said Julien, already thinking aloud. "We can look at video all we want, but sometimes the execution, like you could see out there, isn’t always the greatest either.

"In order to execute, sometimes you have to be on the ice," explained the B's bench boss. "There’s a lot of thinking to be done here, but that’s what we do for a living.

"We’re coaches, and it cant always be smooth. And every once in a while your going to run into those challenges and we have to step up as a coaching staff and find a solution.

"That’s part of our job as well," added Julien.

And another part of Julien's job is motivation, and from the sounds of it he won't be letting his club forget their last four games anytime soon. However, the B's head coach hopes he's reminding his players how they successfully made it through this stretch.

"Sometimes you have teams at the end of the year talk about certain moments that helped them turn their season around and made them championship teams or better teams," said Julien. "This could be a time of year we can use it as an advantage and say, 'Listen, we have to work our way out of it.'

"And once we work our way out of it, hopefully we’ll be a better team for it."
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