Last night, his Black & Gold bested the Habs by a score of 7-3 in Halifax's Metro Centre.
"I think it’s just seeing our guys from last year make sure that they find their game and that they’re ready to go when the puck drops October 6th," said Julien of his wish list for the remainder of Training Camp 2011. "For some young guys it’s the continuation of a battle for those open spots.
"Last night I thought was a good example of guys really playing hard in order to win those spots, so I hope that continues."
While the questions keep coming -- queries to the tune of "How do you repeat as Stanley Cup champions?" -- Julien's team has consistently used the term "turning the page" in reference to the 2011-12 campaign.
"Yeah absolutely," said Julien. "I think we’re Stanley Cup champs from last year, not this year and I think if we plan on being in the mix, it’s important that we focus on starting the season the way we did last year and taking it one chunk at a time.
"You’ve got to first establish yourself into a playoff spot before you can even think about the playoffs, so we’ve got 82 games here and It’s going to be tough to start with, but obviously we’ve got targets on our back.
"Teams are going to up their game against us so we need to up our game and there’s no reason to sit back and think we’re in a comfort spot," he said.
But there is comfort in so many from last season's squad being present and accounted for in this season's Black & Gold locker room.
"I think it’s like a lot of teams that are able to keep a nucleus of players together. You’ve got...some chemistry with certain players and you’re capable of keeping that," explained Julien. "When you look at [Brad] Marchand, [Patrice] Bergeron, they really played well together and now it’s finding another guy that’s going to fit into [Mark] Recchi’s spot.
"[David] Krejci’s line [where he centered Milan Lucic
and Nathan Horton
] was certainly a line that was good for us last year for most of the year and you hope that that continues.
"But I think the one thing we like about our team this year is that we’ve got a lot of players that we can move up and down the line-up and certainly through injuries or through merit," he said.
Competition drove the B's to the Cup last June and competition will strengthen the B's lineup this October.
"I don’t want the guys to feel comfortable," said Julien. "I think it’s important that everybody starts the season by wanting to keep their spot, not lose them, and the other guys to hopefully earn enough respect and trust that they can be moved up in different situations."
One of those guys is Tyler Seguin
, who played very well as a center between Jordan Caron
and Horton in Halifax.
"With Horts there was good chemistry there and that’s what we’re talking about," said Julien. "Those things happen you can still move guys around and there’s still good chemistry among certain players, so I liked that line last night.
"Caron was a real good player with that line and kept up with them ,which was nice to see.
"But I thought [Seguin] was playing with more confidence this year. He’s got a year under his belt. He understands the league now, he knows what he has to do and confidence and experience do a lot of things for players in this league and you’re seeing it from Tyler."
And Julien saw confidence in the strides that Horton took versus Montreal, as well.
"To me it looks like a guy who hadn’t missed a beat," said Julien. "He skated well, he moved the puck well, made some good plays, won some battles, had some quality chances and I really liked his game.
"Not bad for a guy who hadn’t play since midway through the Final, so [we're] certainly happy with his play last night."