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Head Coach Claude Julien Press Conference Transcript from 5/27

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Monday, May 27, 2013

BOSTON BRUINS HEAD COACH CLAUDE JULIEN PRESS CONFERENCE AT 11:00 A.M.
On how much good a couple days of rest has done for the team and who needed the rest the most...
The rest is obviously important. We’ve been through a grueling schedule there for quite a while. To have that opportunity is good. We’ll still have lots of time to practice, but this time of year rest is extremely important. Everybody needs the rest, I guess. It’s good for the whole team.

On Tuukka Rask’s performance so far in the playoffs...
Tuukka’s [Rask] been good. We need that from our goaltender. For the team to continue to move forward here, you need your goaltender to be good. We’ve seen that in every team that’s won in every situation, whether it’s Tim Thomas, whether it’s [Jonathan] Quick, whether it’s other goaltenders from the past, it doesn’t matter; [Nikolai] Khabibulin, I remember from Tampa, when they won, was unbelievable. It goes on and on and on. Goaltenders play a big role in the playoffs. Tuukka, right now, has been extremely good for us. We’ve got another round here that will be even more challenging than the first two. We need Tuukka to be at his best.

On the challenge Pittsburgh presents with two number one lines...
Well, you’d have to hope that our team responds the same way. We’ve got two lines that we feel are pretty good as well. Maybe we don’t have the names that the Penguins have when it comes to the [Sidney] Crosbys, the [Evgeni] Malkins, but we have guys that have done a great job in the past, that have worked well together, that have given us an opportunity to be a championship team. Depth is certainly going to be challenged with another team that has just as much. We talked about how useful it was in the first couple of rounds; well, it’s going to be a challenge here in this one against Pittsburgh.

On how much he factors in the regular season meetings against Pittsburgh as he prepares for the series...
We go through everything. We’ll look at our games and things that we did well, things that we can be better at, but we also look at all the playoff games. We look at everything. There’s not much that doesn’t get looked at. That’s the way hockey is today. The regular season is one thing, playoffs is another. We’re certainly not hanging our hats that our record wasn’t good against them this year. There’s only three goals difference at the end of the day. I don’t think in three games that’s a big thing to worry about.

On if today was the first time Andrew Ference has skated since suffering his injury...
No, I think he skated yesterday, or maybe even the day before. He’s skated a few days here, so he’s obviously on the mend, but not ready to say he’s ready to go here.

On if he feels that in the playoffs a team is going to end up using all of its players at some point and how well prepared the team is to handle those kinds of scenarios...
The further you go, I think it’s pretty obvious to tell players that, ‘At one point, we’re going to need you, so stay ready if you’re not in the lineup.’ That’s what we’ve done with the extra guys. They’ve worked extremely hard, they’ve got a great attitude, they’re staying on top of their game as best as they can. We all know that playing and not playing, there’s a big difference here. But nonetheless, we’ve had to call upon guys to step in; they’ve done a good job. Every team goes through those situations. Like I said, playoffs are a tough time of year, when everybody does whatever it takes to win hockey games and block shots when you’re not a big shot blocker during the year, well you’re going to do it during the playoffs. You’re going to hit a little more, take more hits than you would during the regular season. Everything goes up a notch because you know what’s at the end. It’s obvious that there’s going to be some guys that are banged up, and some injuries. That’s where you’ve got to rely on those extra guys to come in and help you. That’s what got us through this last round, those guys that stepped in there; the three young guys came in and did a great job. That was a testament, again, to the depth that this team has right now.

On how Jaromir Jagr complimented Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand in the last series...
It was good. When you look at his stats, it may not be indicative of what he’s done, but I know, for one thing, I think right now he’s snakebitten because he’s had some real good opportunities to score and they haven’t gone in for him. But the good part is, he’s created those, he’s made those happen. Not only that, the line that he’s with right now has been a good line. He’s part of that success. He brings a lot of players towards him because they know one-on-one won’t do it with Jags [Jaromir Jagr], he’s so strong and good on the puck that they need, sometimes, a couple of guys on him. That makes room for other guys. That line’s been able to take advantage of that. I think he’s been good. We didn’t get the 25-year-old Jags, but more of a Jags that’s maybe a little older, but still extremely good at what he does. I said that before, where he may have lost a little bit of speed, yet he’s made it up with smarts. He makes good decisions out there, he’s strong on the puck and, like I said, makes things happens. I’m happy with his play. He may be hard on himself, but like I said, we knew what we were getting, and we were getting what we expected and maybe even a little bit more.

On how much Tyler Seguin getting hot against Pittsburgh would help the team is this series...
Obviously, anybody getting themselves going is going to be a big help to us. As you go deeper in the playoffs, you need some guys to step up and give you some secondary scoring. If that’s the case, so be it. I think we can all use anybody that can come up big for us in this next round.

On the decision process of how the coaching staff will match the defensemen against Pittsburgh’s top two lines...
We haven’t made that decision yet. It’s a good question, it’s just that right now we’re looking at game tapes and kind of identifying everything. We’ve got a few days here before we can even think about playing that first game. We’ll see how that goes and maybe it’s a pairing, maybe it’s separating, but we’ll have something in mind by the time the first game comes around.

On if there is any extra motivation playing against Jarome Iginla...
I would say that moving to the Stanley Cup Finals is way more important than that situation. That’s where our focus has to be.

On what goes into deciding who will play on the back end with the injured defensemen returning from injury...
A lot. That’s all I’m going to say. A lot goes into it. At one point you make a decision, and that doesn’t mean that it’s an easy one, because it’s not. But we’ll deal with it when the time comes, we did it with [Dennis] Seidenberg. If [Andrew] Ference becomes available, we’ll have to deal with that, too.

On the challenges posed by Pittsburgh’s speed…
We know they’re highly skilled up front, and even on the back end. Guys that can carry the puck—[Kris] Letang and you see [Paul] Martin, those guys. They’ve got a lot of everything. We know we’re going to have to be extremely good, but we’ve been there before in having to face teams with good speed. Vancouver was one of those teams that everybody talked about having great speed, so it’s not like we’re going into unknown territory here. We respect that. We acknowledge that, that they have that stuff. It’s not just about the defense. It’s about the five men unit on the ice, and we need numbers coming back. We can’t afford to get caught deep and leave our D’s [defensemen] alone and having to battle that. That’s going to be important, obviously, is our game without the puck and making sure we have numbers coming back. At the same time, we’ve got to be extremely good in the offensive zone. The more time we spend there, the more it’s to our benefit.

On getting contributions from the Peverley-Kelly-Seguin line…
I think we talked about Tyler—got himself going a little bit better and you saw more of that on the power play. Like I said, his game, his battle was a little bit better. We just need Kells [Chris Kelly] and Pev [Rich Peverley] to get that confidence to create even more. They started creating some stuff, but at the end of the day they weren’t necessarily on the score sheet. Again, some guys have stepped up in the second round and started showing up on the score sheet, and you got to hope that those guys do the same thing in the third round.

On comparing Pittsburgh to the 2011 Vancouver Canucks…
It’s a comparable. I’d have to think that right now, when you look at Pittsburgh’s roster, it’s really deep. They made a lot of big trades at the end to make sure that they had the team to compete for a [Stanley] Cup. They threw all their eggs in the same basket and they’re going for it. We know what we’re up against and we just have to face that challenge. At the end of the day names are one thing, but what players do on the ice is another, and that’s where have to make sure our focus is on executing extremely well. Discipline is going to be a must in this series because they thrive on their power plays, and somehow they seem to get some every game. We know how things are with us as far as a team. It’s tough to get power plays and we end up killing more than we end up having, power plays. We’re going to have to be extremely disciplined.

On the power play making progress…
When you look at the different things, we talk about [Torey] Krug on the back end, and you look at Jags [Jaromir Jagr], who all of the sudden is on the power play. And again, you see the minute he has the puck everybody wants to take it away from him. They don’t want to give him time. We’ve added some elements to our power play that has really helped us out. Puck movement has gotten a little bit better. You look at the guys that have scored goals and the guys that have made things happen, there’s improvement there but there’s also been improvement in the players that we’ve gotten to help that.

On taking some time off for the holiday…
Yeah, exactly, I think that’s what we’ve done. We’ve come in here early this morning to get things going, but I want the coaching staff and everybody to be gone by mid-afternoon here. We’ve got a couple of days of good practice at least to get ourselves ready, so let’s not lose track of what goes on around us in life, too, that’s just as important.

On giving the Merlot Line more ice time…
They have [taken more shifts]. I think if you’ve watched, they have, especially late in some of the games they gave me more than another line did and they were part of that three-line rotation. It’s happened, and not an issue there. I think, again, when it comes to playoff hockey, it’s who’s going on that specific night. It’s not about what guys think they deserve. It’s what they’ve done in that game itself. If they deserve to be out there they will. It’s as simple as that.

On the contrast between Marc Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun…
Right now, I think the biggest thing when it comes to goaltending is the same as any other series—you got to get traffic in front. You’ll hear every team tell you that. You’re going to say we hear that in every interview when it comes to goaltenders. They can’t stop what they can’t see. And in the playoffs it’s so important to get some bodies in front. Pittsburgh is going to do the same thing, New York tried to do the same thing, everybody is doing the same thing in all the playoff games. That’s what you see in highlights, how a goaltender’s eyes are taken away from him. Nothing is different there. I think [Tomas] Vokoun is one of those guys that loves to handle the puck, handles it a little bit better. So, we’ll have to be careful about that, as far as him turning the puck over and moving it up quickly. The rest of it we’re just finishing up on that with our goalie coach, who does scouting on opposing goaltenders.

On Pittsburgh’s ability to transition to the goaltender change…
We saw it a few years ago here when Tuukka [Rask] taking over for Tim [Thomas]. It does happen. In this situation here, Vokoun is not a rookie. Vokoun has been in the league for a long time. He’s been a good goaltender. Again, they made sure that they covered their back end that way, and they needed him. He’s stepped in there and done a good job for them. They got a 1-2 punch there on that team and right now they’re taking advantage of it.

On what was holding Milan Lucic back during the regular season…
If I knew, I would’ve done it a long time ago. No, I think it’s more about all of the sudden. I think if you ask him, he’ll tell you a lot of it is from him. At one point you’ve got to look at yourself and look at what you’re bringing to the team versus what you know you can. He just took it upon himself. We tried to get him going. We did some different things and eventually had to scratch him for a game, which is the last thing you want to do as a coach with a player like that. From that moment on, he just kind of took charge. The credit goes to him for doing what he’s done so far. You hope that he hangs onto that because the impact that he has on that team is invaluable. His physicality, his strength when he brings pucks to the net, when he gets his skating going he’s a hard guy to stop. He brings a lot to the table. In order for teams to have success and have a chance at winning Cups, you need players like that to be at their best.

On difficulty planning for the week without knowing the schedule…
Today is the last day [of the break]. They need to get back on the ice here. I thought two days was a good thing because we’ll have at least a couple of days—Tuesday, Wednesday—to practice. This time of year there’s not a ton of things you can do with your team more than get them some rest and still have a couple of days to accomplish a lot. I keep repeating, with the regular season schedule that we ended with and a seven-game series and the way the playoffs have gone, I think it was important for our guys to just get two days off and then come back and try to be as fresh as we can for the next series.
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