Post practice, Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien was asked if this year's high expectations had made it difficult for the Black & Gold to begin the 2009-10 season on the right foot.
"Well it could be a number of reasons," he said. "There were a lot of things, and I said all along.
"It’s one of those things where we’ve always been under dogs every year, since I’ve been here anyway, and we've worked our way up.
"And now expectations are high, you need to know how to handle those things and it took hard work it took a lot of luck at the same time last year to have the season we had because we were relatively healthy," said Julien.
And maybe the compete level wasn't as high as it could've or should've been.
"All of a sudden this year maybe we expected -- by either trying to do more or not realizing how hard it is -- to stay on top, and we got an early lesson," said Julien. "All of a sudden we understood we had to get back to our game and out identity and work from there."
Simplifying the game seemed to do the trick.
"Well, it was more of a mental thing I think," said Julien. "When you simplify the game...it was basically bringing us back to the basics.
"One of the things was we needed to try and work other teams and try to compete at that level, that was one thing. We obviously needed to try and play better defensively because that’s always helped our game and it’s helped our game not only on a defensive side but offensively as well. We turned pucks over quicker and we were back on the attack.
"Just understanding that concept was basically what we needed to do here and whether it’s the changes that we made last week, or whether the injuries that we had, or a combination of all it just seemed to bring that attention back," he said.
Like many of his players, Julien hopes that last Saturday marked a turning point for his club.
"Well it helps, it certainly helps," said Julien of the club's three point weekend. "The way we played and competed was better.
"Saying that I still think we can continue to work on our game and improve in a lot of areas. We just got to keep plugging away.
Our practices are obviously much better and the enthusiasm, everything all around, has been better," he said.
Chara and Hunwick just finished their workout...
Defensemen Matt Hunwick and Zdeno Chara
are still on the ice working on their shot.
Chara was on early, too, and worked with Mark Stuart.
Pretty impressive workout day for the captain, no?
That woke me up. Byron Bitz just took a "swipe" at Tuukka Rask
. And for a second I thought we had a severe practice tilt mismatch.
Just joking around -- thank goodness.
If you were shaking your head at the Bruins breakneck comeback on Saturday, wondering just how the heck the Bruins brought themselves back from the brink so quickly -- and so late -- in the third period, you have good company.
The Boston Bruins shootout winning goalie, Tim Thomas
, sounded like he was a little dumbfounded, too.
"When you are down 3-1 with less than two minutes left, on the one hand we have the 'never give up' attitude, but on the other hand, part of you knows your chances are about 1-percent," he said with an earnest face when asked what he was thinking late in the third stanza.
"I was thinking Ottawa had played...like we want to play," said Thomas of the Senators seemingly insurmountable lead. "They had played more like our kind of game than we had."
But then the Bruins turned things around -- completely.
In his 1,500th NHL contest, Mark Recchi scored at 18:32 of the third period and David Krejci
scored his first of the season at 19:38 to force the OT and eventually the SO.
And in (perhaps) his best game of the young season, Thomas barred the door. But as happy as he was, while skating to the bench for the break between regulation and the extra session, "The Tank" found the juxtaposition a little hard to comprehend.
"Well, actually going into OT, I told Tuukka, 'I have to get my head on straight,'" said Thomas, who earned the win thanks to Patrice Bergeron
's goal in the penalty shot contest.
Could this be the impetus that the Bruins needed?
Only time will tell, of course, but it certainly was fun to watch.
"We know we have the reputation of never giving up last year," said Thomas. "Between this and the New York Islanders (comeback), hopefully we can build that same reputation."
I just saw Tuukka Rask
throw a two-pad stack at someone in practice. Nice save and a new move for his repertoire.
We have two goalies, seven defenseman and only 12 forwards. Daniel Paille
is the lone player missing from practice.