WASHINGTON, DC --
Boston Bruin's Head Coach Claude Julien echoed Team President Cam Neely's statement from Monday
night when he was asked if All-Star goaltender Tim Thomas
' decision to opt out of the Bruins White House visit
might be a distraction for his hockey club on Tuesday when the Black & Gold take on the Washington Capitals.
"No, I think what we’re worried about right now is our hockey team and what’s on the agenda tonight," said Julien. "I think our group is all mature enough to look past that."
"Our group was very proud and honored and privileged to have gone the White House and that’s how we view it and we don’t mix politics with hockey," explained Julien.
"In this dressing room here, our job is to win hockey games and [the Bruins] win hockey games as a team, because that’s what we are and we’re going to continue to do that."
Pressed for more in the way of an opinion on the matter, Julien said, "I’m here to coach the game of hockey.
"Everybody has an opinion on politics everywhere," he added. "Everybody is entitled to their opinion, so we just move on."
"I guess my answer is pretty clear - we were honored and we went, and everybody makes their decisions. He chose not to come.
"Whether we support him or don’t support him that has nothing to do with hockey. I think what we are is a team and we'll continue to be a team," he said.
As for Thomas' decision possibly affecting team chemistry, Julien said, "I don’t think I want to stand here and answer these questions today.
"Our biggest concern right now is winning this hockey game. It’s also about leaving on a All-Star break with a win under our belt and hopefully a chance to be in first place.
"Really, that’s my answer now, because that’s really where our focus is," he said.