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Pregame Transcript: 02.12 Coach Julien Press Conference

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins

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February 12 vs New York Rangers

BOSTON BRUINS HEAD COACH CLAUDE JULIEN PREGAME AT 11:20 A.M.

On seeing the Rangers for the third time already this season...

I think we know each other pretty well by now, there’s no doubt about that. But this is a situation where early in the year, it can be very different from where teams are right now. Maybe in our case, we had a very familiar club, they didn’t. I think they’re probably getting a little bit more familiar with each other. They’re definitely going to be a better, harder team to play against.

On if this game will be another close, tough matchup that will test the team’s character...

Yes, I think you’re right. This is a team that when you play then – and there are certain teams in our conference that really test your character, as far as both teams are pretty big teams, both teams like to work along the walls, like the gritty game. It’s about competing hard, it certainly makes you a better team by the end of the night if you’re ready to take that challenge the proper way.

On if he thinks the team has any room to improve, despite the strong start...

I think, if anything, we’ve been pretty consistent. There’s no doubt that we’re going to get better. I think there’s still some guys that aren’t at the peak of their game, yet. That’s pretty indicative, too, of how hard we’re working to score goals. We’re a better goal scoring team than what we’ve shown so far. I think we’ve shown that we’re capable of creating the chances, but right now the finish isn’t there. There’s certainly room for improvement, but I like where we are at this stage of the season and how we’ve handled those type games, those types of situations. But, certainly, there’s a lot more in our hockey club than what we’ve shown so far.

On how he would evaluate the play of the fourth line so far this season...

They had a great start, after that it’s hard to evaluate because both Thorny [Shawn Thornton] missed some games, [Daniel] Paille’s missed some games, Soupy’s [Gregory Campbell] moved up. It’s hard for me to evaluate where they are at this moment, but certainly pleased with the start of their season. They obviously showed early on that they were back to what they were before. They scored some important goals for us, certainly gave us the energy they used to. It’s a matter now of seeing that they continue doing that throughout the whole season.

On if there is one game in particular that stands out in regards to the fourth line...

That’s a good question. I know that one game the fourth line scored two goals, I don’t remember, honestly, which one. Was it the Islanders? They played really well that game. That’s probably the game that would stand out to me.

On what he has thought of Dougie Hamilton’s play over the past few games...

I think Doug is going through what a first year player would go through. He was outstanding at the beginning, certainly not poor now. But to expect this guy to be outstanding the whole season is not being realistic. I know he set the bar pretty high with his early play, but he’s certainly not a poor player for us. The points may not be coming as much as they did at the beginning, but he’s still a pretty poised player. Whatever mistakes he makes, we’re working with him and showing him those kinds of things. He’s going through exactly what we expected him to go through: being a good player that’s learning along the way. But, we certainly can’t complain about the way he has handled himself. He is 19 years old and the amount of ice time that he’s getting and how well he’s playing is pretty impressive for us anyways.

On how coachable Dougie Hamilton is, and whether he picks up on things quickly…

He does, and he’s already caught onto coming in on his own, and we’ve got some computers out there that guys can look at their shifts, and he does that on his own. He wants to see things, and if he’s got some questions he’s not afraid to come and ask, and we’ve built that relationship with him that he feels comfortable coming to see us with some issues or questions or whatever it may be, so we’re really working with him as best we can because we see the potential in him.

On Chris Bourque’s performance in the power play…

Well, we’ve only seen him the one game. You guys are asking me to assess things that are just kind of new and stuff like that, so maybe after a while, if it stays that way, or if we see it changing, you’ve got a pretty clear answer that we’re either looking to do something about it or vice versa, so, as you know, there’s a lot to like about our game, but we still feel and we still know that our power play is still a work in progress, and we keep working on it, keep encouraging guys to have better execution, quicker puck movement, and it’s by practicing it and keep repeating it to them, that it’s going to happen. So sometimes we’re moving players around trying to find a different answer because something’s not happening in an area, and we try somebody else.

On Chris Bourque’s past college and AHL power-play performance…

Yeah, we obviously haven’t put him there blindly saying, ‘Let’s take a chance on this guy.’ We knew he’d played there. We saw him play there in Providence, and he feels pretty comfortable there. We always talk to players before we put them in situations and try and find out as much as we can in regards to his experience there, so, no doubt, he was a guy that we wanted to try there, so we’re going to keep working on that and see where it takes us.

On how he views switching Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton

Interchangeable, absolutely. There’s other guys, too. Like I said, I said it before even after they came out and did a great job in Montreal, I said, ‘Listen, this could be temporary. This could be for a while. It depends.’ And, again, there are some players there that are very interchangeable and gives us some different options.

On whether he feels the third line is putting too much pressure on themselves to perform…

They started with a new player again, and Chris [Bourque], as you know, has been feeling his way through, also. Kells [Chris Kelly] probably hasn’t had the start he had last year. He had a really good start last year where he scored a lot, and that’ll come. I think you look at how that line is getting more chances now, and Peverley’s getting some really good looks, and I think it’s just a matter of time before that line starts to produce, and that goes back to what I said earlier when I answered your question about, ‘Can we be better?’ – absolutely. There’s lines that will start producing a little bit more, and we’ll be a better team down the road, but there’s still some guys that aren’t at the peak of their game, and that can be said about every player on every team in the league, around the league. Not everybody’s going at 100 percent yet.

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