"Our players seem to be in the [right frame of mind in regards to that, and that’s what we like to see. And we just got to go out there and prove that we’re ready to go and understanding that there’s going to be challenges along the way.
"I mean Stanley Cup champions means teams playing at their best against you every night, so we understand that part of it and hopefully we’re going to get ourselves ready and respond properly."
That process began in earnest on Saturday, as the B's roster was split into two groups.
Group A, featuring B's alternate captain Patrice Bergeron
, Conn Smythe-winning goalie Tim Thomas
and prized pugilist Shawn Thornton
, hit the ice for the 10:00 a.m. session with Group B on the ice for 12:30 and boasting captain Zdeno Chara
, Brad Marchand
and the B's top draft choice this past summer, defenseman Dougie Hamilton
Julien explained that his split rosters were chosen to give younger players time to shine.
"I tried to mix veterans with younger players," said Julien on Friday. "That allows...the younger players to at least showcase his talent instead of putting three young guys against three veterans.
"It’s a little unfair you want to give those players an opportunity to showcase what they’re capable of doing and they can probably do that if they’re surrounded with guys that are a little more experienced. So what we try to do is use that and this year you saw [Dougie] Hamilton with [Zdeno] Chara and I think he’s a guy with great potential being a first round pick and he can benefit playing with Zdeno.
"And you saw other guys too, we’ve paired up with some that we feel guys that can be on each side of them whether it’s a centermen or winger that’ll either dish them the puck or that will be able to dish the puck offensively that will really be able to see their skill level at the NHL level. And some of the guys were good passers we sometimes put those guys with guys that are good shooters, so they can pass the puck to those guys.
"As you know we have a black and white game in Providence, and I want to try to balance the teams out the best way we could and at least make that an interesting game when it comes time to that. So we tried to do both those things in order to make it an interesting and good camp."
On Saturday, after the B's first official practice sessions of the new season, Julien said that there were plenty of players who stood out as he put his club through its paces.
"You kind of just keep your eye a little bit on everybody," said Julien. "One day a certain guy stands out to you the next day you’re watching somebody else, so I just watch a lot of players.
"When young players like [Ryan] Spooner, who has such good hockey sense, you want to see him and how he handles this level here and he’s got great speed and great vision and makes good plays; Dougie Hamilton
with Zdeno [Chara] seeing him get some confidence and he’s still a young player. But [there's] some speed. [Kyle] MacKinnon has some speed. And this little thing doesn’t mean you’re going to make the team, but there’s certain things about certain players that stand out and you like to see.
"And I know I’m forgetting some of the guys, because we’ve had fifty players out there so I’m going to walk away here and say I forgot about him and him and him."
Julien also reiterated his belief that his team is in "pretty good shape."
"There’s guys that may not have been at the top," said Julien. "[That's] something that for a young guy fighting for a spot, probably not acceptable.
"For a guy who’s had a short summer, as long as it’s within range of being able to get in shape before the season starts and just to kind of tweak [it], we can deal with that.
"As I mentioned before, it was a short and busy summer. Some guys may have taken more rest than others because some guys are used to working out no matter what and some guys don’t mind taking that extra rest, and it will pay off probably in the long run as long as they don’t neglect the fact that they’ve got to work hard here in the next few weeks."
But Julien was concentrating on today's practice.
"I thought our guys worked hard they had the right attitude," he said. "They were focused, so it wasn’t sloppy.
"The ice was a little bit chippy in that second group and made it a little harder for them, but they have a chance to redeem themselves because they are the first group on tomorrow...they’ll get the nice ice.
"So, overall, I think it was a good first day and we’re pleased with it."