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Lots of skating....

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
4:46 p.m.

For his part, John Boychuk remains ready and willing to hit the ice whenever he might be asked. And despite remaining in the press box for every game thus far, the affable and always smiling Mr. Boychuk is a very positive presence in the B's locker room.

"I think it's a lot easier for me to [wait] because I am always a positive person," said the defenseman (who wanted me to say 'Hi' to his mom back home in Alberta). "I don't want to be negative...because if you get negative, you are putting yourself behind the eight ball -- especially if you are not playing."

Boychuk struck me as a very grounded individual when I met him when he was called up briefly last season. That first impression was correct. In fact, I think most people (including the yours truly) could learn a bit from the blueliner's outlook on life.

Even listening to him explain the message that the coaches were trying to get across through today's hard (brutal?) practice left you hopeful for the Bruins (and Boychuk's) fortunes.

"It was a good hard practice with a lot of skating and battling drills," said Boychuk, a-matter-of-factly. "It was a good test. A little shock to our system.

"You always have to stay positive," he continued. "Tomorrow is a different team and [hopefully] it will be a different outcome."


4:23 p.m.
Coach Julien looked a little less angry after practice, but not by much.

"Well I think we need to grab their attention right now," said Julien. " We are looking for commitment. We are looking for effort [and] attitude.

"I think all those things put together is what needs to happen in order for us to be the team we should be."

Julien reiterated his words from Thursday night.

"Both games we started off well," he explained. "The first ten minutes against Washington, the first period against Anaheim last night.

"The minute we had a little bit of adversity we fall behind instead of just sticking with your game plan. And all of a sudden you start to change, guys start to cheat, guys are looking to tie the game the next shift without doing the right things.

"We are a team that last year, was the stingiest, as far as goals against, and we’ve given up 11 in those two games. That shows you something about our hockey club right now, that commitment is just not there," he said.

Clearly, the Bruins head coach hopes that a bit of adversity in practice knocks the club right back onto the winning track.

"It’s a matter of committing for 60 minutes, and it’s a matter of staying focused," said Julien. "You know you are going to go through some adversity at some point and how you handle it makes a big difference in your teams success through the course of a season."

As of right now, there are no plans for any call ups from Providence. However, defenseman John Boychuk and goaltender Tuukka Rask are waiting in the wings, ready for their chance in the lineup.

"There’s always a possibility," said Julien to the idea of starting Rask soon. "But those kinds of things are always taken care of on a daily basis.

"We are a day-to-day hockey club. I don’t start predicting about two or three games down the road."

Julien sees no reason to believe that Rask would be ready for the NHL.

"Last year [Rask] came up and played well," he said. "The year before with he lack of experience that he had he showed some good things.

"So I’m confident with him. I think he has grown so much, and if he needs to go in there and play, I don’t see any reason why the coaching staff or the players themselves would not have confidence in Tuukka [Rask]."

Similarly, Julien commented on Boychuk's eagerness and work ethic.

"Well I think one of the reasons, probably, that he had such a good year last year in the American League and was an all-star defensemen," said Julien. "But at the same time that is what you want from guys that sometimes don’t get the opportunity to get in there right away.

"They’ve got to show eagerness, and they’ve got to show will to stay on top of their game and do the extra work so that when they are called on that we don’t have five games to wait for them to find their game.

"They got to be on top of it so this is what you need from guys like that and I think he’s understood that message and that’s what he is doing right now."

12:20 p.m.
The Bruins just finished skating. Most of them are heading to the locker room.

12:23 p.m.

Oh man...

It is now officially a bag skate.

12:20 p.m.

It's not a traditional bag skate sans pucks and with sprints, but it sure ain't pretty, people. The Bruins are doing battle drills that start at one blueline, take them into the corner. They fight to get to the font of the net, the whistle blows and they have to skate all the way down to the other side of the ice to the other net.

12:07 p.m.
It's a very active, detail-oriented practice for the Bruins. Plenty of skating and drills involving the whole ice.

11:22 a.m.
Perhaps prophetically,  Tuukka Rask and Johnny Boychuk hit the ice first this morning.

11:28 a.m.

There is no doubt about it, last night was ugly and after the game Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien did not try and sugarcoat the Bruins 6-1 setback to the Ducks.

The B's angry bench boss also left some in the press wondering if the B's would see a puck on Friday.

"It’s something that needs to be addressed," said Julien. "There’s no doubt about that.

"You know, both games have been the result of not handling adversity very well. Until Washington scored, we played well. We were up, 1-0.

"Then they score a couple of goals, get a couple of power plays, and instead of working on getting the next goal, we lost track of what we had to do out there, and they just kind of took the game over."

For Julien, the second period let down was the crux of the issue.

"I think the first period was good for us," he said. "We could even have brought our game up another notch and that’s what we needed to do in the second period.

"But it’s hard to bring that when, again, the effort just wasn’t good enough tonight from most of our guys."

The phrase "most of our guys" included nearly every Bruin save Mr. Begin, Mr. Bitz and Mr. Thornton. But that gave Julien little solace.

"When you’re talking about your fourth line being your hardest working line it doesn’t bode well for the hockey club," he said. "Aside from that line, nobody played to their potential. We need to have those guys play up to their potential."

Julien explained his putting his grinders on the power play unit.

"I don't think they needed the reward," said Julien. "But I think the other guys needed to know that I might as well throw those guys out [there].

"At least I know they are going to work hard. They might not accomplish what all those skill guys can accomplish, there is no doubt there, and that's what happened. But at least you can send some guys who can at least work hard and make your team at least look respectable."


And Julien didn't stop there. When he was asked what he might do on Friday during practice, try and build some confidence or let the club have it, Julien was unrelenting.

"I don’t think it’s really a confidence issue, it’s more about where their heads are right now," he said. "You’ve got to play for each other, you can’t play for yourself.

"That means short shifts, that means good effort. It means doing what we did the other night against Carolina. You stick up for each other, you play for each other, you get the results. I think right now there’s a lot of guys that aren’t giving the effort that we need to get out of them.

"You know, sometimes that means just doing the dirty work. Our team has risen the past few years because of our work ethic. We’ve grinded teams down, we’ve out worked them and we’ve given them sixty minutes where it’s hard for other teams to stay with us.

"Right now we’re making it way too easy on teams. From that moment where they scored the two goals we lost races, we lost battles. I don’t care they got some lucky bounces, you work hard you get those lucky bounces. Right now it’s just one of those things where I think our guys really have to -- and we as a coaching staff have to -- do something about it."

Stay tuned.
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