Then again, maybe it’s a good thing. After all, there aren’t a lot of spots open on the roster.
“Basically, it’s just about starting a new season here and making sure we’re ready to go,” Julien said when asked what he said to his players and coaching staff on Saturday morning.
After that group meeting, the players went through their seasonal fitness test to see if they maintained their regimen over the summer and were in top shape for the coming season.
“Overall, [I’m] pretty pleased from what I’ve seen so far, but until you get the final results and you look at them, it’s hard for me to comment,” said Julien. “But our guys have done a pretty good job in the past. I don’t know why it would be much different this year.”
As for the next few days, Julien said he will use the little time he has before the first exhibition game on Tuesday night at the New York Rangers to give the players a little tutorial.
“Well, I think you just want to give everybody an idea of what you’re trying to do as a team and give a bit of a preparation for those players that are going to play in those first couple of games,” he said. “It’s about giving them some guidance as far as [showing them] how we want them to forecheck, backcheck and [perform in] battle drills and see how guys compete.”
And with very few roster spots open, it will be a tough competition for some players to win a spot on the major league roster.
“As far as the way you want to play as a team, most guys know the system and what’s expected of them,” said Julien. “At the same time…there’s always guys pushing other guys and forcing us to make some tough decisions at the end and that’s the opportunity you want to give those players coming in.
“You give them you’re word that you’re going to give them an honest look and if they’re going to be pushing other guys out, so be it, that’s what you want to see.”
So the eight exhibition games, over a period of 12 days, will be used to evaluate individual players and see how well certain skaters work together.
“It’s going to give guys some opportunities... And this is where we get a chance to evaluate,” said Julien. “We go into every exhibition game trying to win, but we don’t put all our eggs in the same basket as far as we have to overplay guys so that we win.
“We need to evaluate at the same time, so we get a chance to see those guys and put those guys in those positions and hopefully they show you that they can do the job.”
And Julien is fully confident in the diversity and depth of his team.
“If there’s one thing I’d say I’m pretty comfortable with to start the season right now is the fact that we have a lot of different looks for special teams, whether it be [on the power play or penalty kill],” he said. “I think we got a lot of choices and it’ll make for some good competition as far as ice time.”