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Familiar B's Buying In

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

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Features - This core group of Bruins has been through a lot together over the past few years - ups and downs, shuttering losses, exalting wins - none more ultimate than the Cup, and now, nearly half of a lockout-shortened season.

Through it all, they've managed to keep their composure, and easily transition in the new faces, like Dougie Hamilton, Chris Bourque, Aaron Johnson, Lane MacDermid and Jay Pandolfo to a well-structured, well-coached and disciplined team - while forming a camaraderie that gives them faith in one another.

So, 17 games in, and owning a 13-2-2 record, the B's are sitting in a good position as they head into the final two months of the 48-game season. What is more impressive than the solid start, however, is Boston's ability to, as Coach Julien preaches, "stay in the moment" and focus on the game at hand.

In this case, with the team zeroed in on earning a win over Tampa on Saturday, and not focusing attention towards the second game of the back-to-back against Montreal on Sunday night.

"Well, a lot of it has to do with the maturity of our hockey team over the years," Coach said of his squad, following Friday's optional practice at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.

"I think we all realize now that we are always a better team when we live in the moment. The approach has always been, 'Let's go game by game here.' I don't even come up to the team and say, 'Okay, by the way, this week we have this team and that team and that team.' I just go game by game."

"This next game is against Tampa. That's all we've talked about, haven't talked about Montreal on Sunday. We know it's there on the schedule, but we don't talk about it until it's time to talk about that team."

Taking a glance at the Black & Gold schedule above my desk, sprinkled with games pretty much every other day until the calendar stops on April 27, that's an incredibly appealing approach - whether in life, or in the Bruins dressing room. Nothing is simpler than "living in the moment," and that's what this team has been so good at.

"All I can say is it's maturity from our team and from individuals," Coach Julien added, reiterating the experience factor playing a role. "They've been through it."

"At one point, you know what works for you and we know what works for our team and they know what works for them. Like I said, our team has always functioned better with going day by day. I think everybody's done a pretty good job of buying in."

"I think we're starting to handle it a little bit better now and not get too frustrated within," said winger Daniel Paille, on the B's ability to not get "rattled" during games or after losses.

"I know in the past, we'd get angry. But I think guys just learned to be a little more patient and have faith in other guys, that are playing on the penalty kill - or if its a tight game."

"We were on the road and they were all close games pretty much and not once, did I feel or think the team felt worried at all. Even if there would have been a loss, the guys seemed to be very composed and confident in every game."

Paille's longtime linemate and fellow energy grinder, Shawn Thornton, also assessed the team's familiarity and confidence in one another.

"We have a good feel for each other and a good feel for what's going on out there," said Thornton. "And our coaching staff is sure to point things out if things start slipping, in a positive or a negative way."

"We have to take it game by game. If you look at it, 17 games in a month, that's a lot."

"But, if you look at it game by game, it's not that bad. So, that's how we're going to focus on it."

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