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Hard Work is the Answer

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
WILMINGTON, MA -- By all accounts it was one of the Bruins most physical practices of the 2011-12 season, but in the wake of Boston's 6-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, Head Coach Claude Julien thought it was time for one of "those kind" of practices.

"Work ethic is a big part of our game and success, and right now we don’t have everybody going and we have to find ways to get everybody going here and going in the right direction," said Julien. "I think the timing was good, we don’t play till Saturday and hopefully this will help us get through it."

So, on what might have been a day off during the B's highly successful November and December, the club worked its way through some simple fundamental driven passing drills, put plenty of shots on goal and went through several incarnations of battle drills.

Beyond the simple return to a straightforward practice session, Julien hoped that the 6-0 loss served as a wake up call for the Black & Gold.

"Obviously, our guys have enough character in there," said Julien. "I don’t think just because you’re going through a tough time, doesn't mean you second-guess your team, and we certainly don’t.

"Everybody in that room cares, and right now it's about righting the ship with some better play from everybody and sometimes you have to help them through it.

"And sometimes a little hard practice is exactly what the doctor ordered."

So Dr. Julien prescribed "getting back to hard work" as Boston prepared for this weekend's tilt with the Nashville Predators.

"I think at the end of the day everybody understands we have to be better," said Julien, who opted not to use the more traditional "bag" skate without pucks to get his point across. "And I don’t think anyone came off there thinking they were being punished more than we were trying to help them get back on track."

Asked if the B's were looking forward to regrouping on the road during mid-February's six-game road trip, Julien said his Bruins had two important home games to focus on.

"We've got a game here against Nashville on Saturday and we've got another one against New York [on Tuesday] and if we’re waiting for that, we’re not...focused the right way," he said. "I think it’s more about the next game, and we need to play a lot better.

"We were encouraged by our game in Washington last Sunday," continued Julien. "Yesterday, as I mentioned, I thought we started well. the end of it, [it was] something we haven’t seen from our team in a long time.

"[Usually] we were at least a team that would come out in the third try and fight their way out of it, but it only got worse yesterday."

Pressed for reasons for the lopsided score on Wednesdy, Julien understood that "we’re all trying to find the reasons why we struggle" but reminded media members that every team in the league goes through a natural downturn during a long season.

"We've had an early season struggle in the month of October, and we're going through a bit of a struggle right now...and two or three wins will get us right back on track," he said. "I’m not necessarily looking at what the focus of our team is more than guys don’t like to lose.

"They do get frustrated, but certainly the emotion is a big part of our game and probably have to be more positive than negative and get that positive energy back in our locker room."

Speaking of the Bruins locker room, Julien also said he didn't expect Tim Thomas' most recent post on his Facebook account regarding health care to be a distraction to the Bruins.

"No, I don’t think so," said the B's bench boss. "Again I don’t think I’ve heard anybody, starting from our owner, to management to coaches and players -- I don’t think I’ve heard anybody support his opinions –- but I’ve heard everybody say that we support him as a player and we do.

"We have good team chemistry in that dressing room and...I’ve said this before, we don’t mix politics with our hockey team and that continues to happen.

"It’s probably something that people would like to think, because of how poorly we’ve played lately. But I assure you that there’s no issues in the dressing room. There never will be. And that's where We've got a really good group of players in there that don’t let those kind of things bog them down and it hasn’t.

"Guys are just going about their business," added Julien. "It’s certainly not a distraction and will never be used as an excuse because it isn’t one."
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