Skip to Main Content
The Official Site of the Boston Bruins

Pregame Notebook: Game Four

by Angela Stefano / Boston Bruins
Boston, MA -- Now that his team has broken through their issues with the Canadiens, the questions directed to Coach Julien at his morning press briefing no longer revolved around the pressure this series brings, beating the Habs, the Canadien fans or what the experience of a playoff game against Montreal is like.

Instead, this morning, the B’s bench boss had an opportunity to discuss his own team as they stand before tonight’s fourth match-up.

Keeping Up with the Habs
Marc Savard
The Bruins have gone from an eighth place team with a jinx, to one with a fighting chance at advancing, but Coach Julien doesn’t see much difference in his group’s outlook.

“Our players felt good [since game two],” he said.  “When I say ‘felt good,’ you never feel good losing a hockey game, but game two, we played well enough, we came in, I don’t think we were rattled.

“If anything, we said, ‘Obviously we can play with these guys, if we play our game.”

Playing their game has been the B’s philosophy since the beginning of the season, as well as being confident that their game is good enough, said Coach. And now, by stepping it up against Montreal, the Bruins have shown that their philosophy’s a good one.

“But, if we’re loose and confident right now, I don’t think it’s really the right approach,” he cautioned.

However, Coach didn’t think that had become an issue.

“If anything, I saw a bunch of guys that have already taken last game, pushed it aside, and started preparing for this one,” he said.

Goalies and D-men and Forwards, Oh My...
Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas stretches to make the save against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period of Game 1 of the NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal hockey playoffs in Montreal on Thursday, April 10, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Paul Chiasson)
Along with receiving specific questions about youngsters like Petteri Nokelainen and Vladimir Sobotka, Coach Julien was asked about putting certain players in the lineup – specifically, Tim Thomas and Shane Hnidy.

“A lot of it has got to do with some experience,” said Coach of Hnidy, who is one Bruin with playoff experience in a crowd of many players participating in their first NHL playoff series.  “He’s a guy who’s been through it before.”

Much like other teammates, Hnidy saw extra playing time due to the injuries sustained by many of his teammates, which Coach Julien credits with helping him improve his play.

“He just got better,” said Coach simply, adding that the defenseman’s upped performance – including a goal in game one of this series – couldn’t come at a better time.

“He’s playing his best hockey of the year,” said Julien, “and we just have to take advantage of that.”

However, Coach Julien couldn’t take any credit for Thomas’s play, passing the praise to goaltending coach Bob Essensa.

“As a coach, you’re as good as the people around you,” he said, “and I’m not afraid to delegate stuff to our assistant coaches and our goaltending coaches.”

Essensa has had free reign over Thomas, and Coach Julien said that he likes it that way, only stepping in to say whether the goaltender will be in the lineup or not.

“Goalie is a pretty unique position,” said Julien.  “Those guys build a real strong relationship with their goaltending coaches.”

Reigning in a Ranger
New York Rangers' Sean Avery, left, gets in the face of New Jersey Devils' goaltender Martin Brodeur after being called for goaltender interference. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
A member of the Canadian media asked Coach Julien at the end of his press conference what he thought of New York Ranger Sean Avery’s, shall we say, creative screening techniques in the Rangers game against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.

“[Most] guys wouldn’t even think of doing that,” said Julien about Avery’s arm-waving distractions on Martin Brodeur.  “Only Sean Avery would be innovative enough to think about these kinds of things.”

And while Coach said he “gives [Avery] a certain credit” for quick thinking, he also said that there is “no room for that in this game,” and he “agrees 100 percent” with the league’s decision to give a two-minute penalty to any imitators in the future, as such actions constitute “unsportsmanlike conduct.”

Coach Julien also remarked about the dangerous nature of Avery's technique.

“It has nothing to do with trying to tip a puck,” said Coach, “but more likely he was in a real vulnerable position to get hurt.”

The Bruins lineup is an oft-questioned thing, especially with most of the Hub waiting with baited breath for the day that Patrice Bergeron makes his return to the ice.

Coach Julien commented only on tonight’s lineup to say that there were no changes as of that moment.

Still, “a lot of things can happen in the afternoon,” he said.  “It just takes one call.”

But quick to put any Bergeron rumors to rest, Coach added, “I didn’t mean Bergeron by that; the one call could be someone sick.

“I don’t want the blown out of proportion,” he said with a laugh.
View More