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Press Conference Transcript: Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney and Head Coach Claude Julien Season-End Press Conference 4/14

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS PRESS CONFERENCE

Thursday, April 14, 2016

BOSTON BRUINS GENERAL MANAGER DON SWEENEY AND HEAD COACH CLAUDE JULIEN…
DS: First of all I want to thank everyone for attending this morning. I’ll start with walking through the last few days, as painful as they’ve been from a disappointing loss on Saturday and finding out our fate later on that day. Claude [Julien] and I met for an extended period of time on Sunday morning to start the assessment process internally for our own personal situations and start to unearth and uncover, you know, dissect a little bit what we feel went wrong and where we’re headed next. And Monday was exit physicals for all for the players, got assessment for where those players were at and what surgeries may be needed for them. Spent all day Tuesday in exit meetings with individual players- Claude and I both. And Claude and I met on Wednesday to go back over those. And then here we are this morning and moving forward understating the direction this organization has to go in to get better and get us back to where we want to be.

On if Claude Julien will be Head Coach next season…
DS: Absolutely. I emphatically believe that Claude is the coach that can take us through what I’ll describe as what has been a bumpy transition period this year. And we’ve got work to do; I have work to do. There’s no question that we have areas that we want to address and collectively we’ve already started to assess that. We did throughout the course of the year, we’ve tried to address some of those things, and we’ll continue to address them.

On if all of the assistant coaches are staying as well…
DS: Actually decided to make a change. Doug Houda will not be back. All of the coaches, with the exception of Bob Essensa who has a contract in place, do not have contracts. Claude and I and organizationally we are looking at a bunch of different things that we’re going to continue to assess over the next few days. Rather than just sort of be cut and dry we want to make sure we’re making the best decisions for us and the necessary decisions going forward, and that’s top to bottom.

On what made this decision easier and quicker to make than last year…
DS: Well I believe in Claude as a coach, not that I didn’t believe in his philosophies last year. I think our core principles align very well from the defensive structure of the team as well as what we see in players and individual players. And last year, being new to the position, Claude was also in a position where he was with a new general manager. And it took some time for us to make sure that we were working together. I mean in all honesty here, that’s in fairness to Claude and the success he’s had. Had Claude come to me and said, “Maybe there’s a better spot for me and you can carve out your own thing,” and to this day and all throughout this process that speaks a lot about him as a person and as a coach. Because he’s never ever waivered in the fact that this is the place he wants to be and he’s ridden us up to the good time, and now we’re at a lower point and we want to go back to the point where he knows he can get us. And I think that speaks volumes about him as a person, first of all, and my confidence in him as a coach.

On where they think the faults and failings were in not making the playoffs…
CJ: Well I think it’s pretty obvious, Joe, that we failed on numerous occasions there when there were some big games. And we can go back to even the Winter Classic, you know, how we played in that game versus, you know again, how well we played in Montreal against that same team. And you know there were some games that we failed to get what we needed. I look back at, for example, the New Jersey game, you know? So dominate but yet we weren’t able to come up with the win in that certain game. And there were other games and right now it’s more how did we play so well against Detroit and not able to win that game against Ottawa. That’s where we failed, you know. Somehow the consistency wasn’t there. And we thought we had a decent amount of consistency at one point but then it slipped. And throughout the year we lost some games that I really felt were important for us to win and we weren’t able to do that. So at the end of the day you end up missing the playoffs by a real small margin and that’s where I think we failed honestly.

On why he thinks they lost the big games…
CJ: Well no I’m not going to point the finger necessarily at one point. I think as a team that’s where we were. And you know there was some youth in our lineup but we talked about that at the beginning of the year, you know, that there could be some bumps along the way because you know we needed to, we didn’t have to, we needed to implement some young players for us to go forward as an organization. And you know mentally I was ready for that but at the same time I’m not going to lie, when you’re doing as well as you did and you feel you’ve got a chance at the playoffs…and I know the question is going to be asked- do you feel you guys were good enough to make playoffs? Absolutely yeah, and we failed to make those. But I really feel like we had a great opportunity and Donnie [Don Sweeney] helped us in that regard by giving us some help along the way to even solidify that. So it is extremely disappointing. I think I don’t ever remember being as disappointed as I was after Saturday’s afternoon game where all we needed was a point. So do I understand what the fans feel? Absolutely. We felt the same way.
DS: Yeah the inconsistencies certainly…we started the year behind the eight ball and then I felt we played pretty well. If you take out the three, breaking seasons down in segments, if you take out the first three and certainly the past 13 games it’s a significant run of points that we had accumulated along the way. And I think that we knew it wasn’t just young player integration but it was new player integration. There was some transition that we were going through. We spoke about the first of the year. You guys asked questions about it. We knew there was going to be some challenges in that regard and the season presented that. And the margin for error in terms of getting in or not if you’re not one of those elite upper echelon teams, which we aspire to be and certainly hold ourselves to that standard, you’re going to be subject to very small margins. And that’s what it came down to; it came down to an ROW. Obviously we held it in our favor because we had won our last game. Detroit had lost and we didn’t execute. And down the stretch we played actually better defensively. But at times we struggled to score and the depth of our lineup at times didn’t necessarily bear forth down the stretch. That might be players being put in a situation for the first time that they have to learn from and grow from. Our older players, more experienced players, veteran players, had very, very good years. And defensively we didn't stop the momentum against us at times as effectively as we need to going forward.

On Patrice Bergeron calling him the best coach he’s ever had and Don Sweeney saying he believes in him and how it keeps him focused at the task at hand…
 CJ: Well it’s important because that’s what makes you want to come back and that’s what makes you want to be here. I think you know if the players weren’t responding and if the general manager didn’t have the confidence in you, you wouldn’t want to be here. And as Don mentioned, I spent time doing a self-evaluation. When you go through those kinds of things you do that. And at the end of the day when it’s all said and done I remember coming here nine years ago with this team being in the same situation and I told people that I wanted to be the guy that was going to help them get to the top. And you know I don’t see any reason why I can’t do that again and I’d love to have that opportunity, which I’m being given. So it’s nice to always have these great years but every once in a while you get those kinds of challenges and those kinds of challenges is what makes you a good coach. And I want to be a character person; I want to be a character coach that wants to be here. And even if we have to go through some bumpy roads I’m more than willing to do that because I love this city, I love the fans and I love the organization. So it was great to hear from those people the support I got.

On if he feels the need for a major overhaul of the roster and what he thinks he’ll do this offseason…
DS: No I don’t believe we need a major overhaul. I believe we need to continue to forge depth in the organization. When you go through these times when you have injuries and you have players that haven’t been able to step in you have to have a plan that allows players to develop at the right time that they’re supposed to, rather than force a player. At times when you don’t have the depth overall, you do; you can expose a younger player and we’d like to have the patience in that regard. You know people talk about young player integration and David Pastrnak is a great example of a player that we’re going to have a tremendous amount of patience with and Claude has that patience with. Very exciting players, big part of our organization going forward and you know we need to make sure we’re developing in the right manner. [Brad] Marchand, [Patrice] Bergeron, [David] Krejci, Kevan Miller, [Adam] McQuaid- like we’ve done a good job. And when the players have been on board with that and been patient with their own personal development then it really works and your team is successful as a result of that. And we’re going to maintain that patience. We have a very, very bright future with a number of young players that we have and recently added to our organization. And it’s rightfully so to be excited about that, but it’ also imperative to be patient to allow them to be the types of players and hit their ceilings.

On if he’s told any of his UFA’s if they’ll be back or not next season and if he’ll exercise any buyouts…
DS: In exit interviews I spoke with all of our UFA’s and expressed our interest to have discussions if they were genuine in their interest to want to be here and find that there’s a mutual respect and interest between the two parties. If you want to ask about any particular one I’d be certain to answer but I won’t discuss where those necessarily, you know, where those negotiations of contract talks are at particular times. From a buyout perspective I think everything in the CBA up and down will be at our disposal. The ownership has been very supportive of what we need to do, continue to do, going forward and if that’s part of it that’s part of it. We just need to continue to get better, you know? I said that before. This is a performance driven business and we’re going to be held to that standard and you know we fell short. We do believe that we should have. That's not disparaging against the eight teams that are in there right now, we just feel that-16 teams, eight on our side- that are there they deserve it and we fell just short of that. I still believe that we had a strong enough group to get in and challenge there and then you just wait and see what happens. But we fell short in that and I take ownership of it. It’s on me; it’s not on anybody else to continue to improve our roster. That’s on me.

On Kevan Miller…
DS: Kevan Miller as a UFA? Had a good year. Really a lot of growth in Kevan’s game. Had some injuries at certain times. Tremendous character. And would like to see if we could find some common ground there.

On if he got a sense that all of the players support Claude Julien as Head Coach from exit interviews…
DS: Well I would never share what conversations I’ve had with any individual player. I think it’s accurate. They wouldn’t stand in front of each and every one of you and not support somebody that they didn’t believe in. And again, that speaks to Claude, in our discussions, had been honest to say that I don't think I’ve lost the voice in that room. And some people might just inherently believe that after a course of time that’s only going to happen and it hasn’t happened. And I think for the most part our team started our games really well. And that’s again when the team responds to a coach I look for that to see whether or not teams come out of the gate. And you look at teams, our road record in particular those are times when teams can be fractured. It’s imperative for us to figure out why we weren’t as effective at home and in particular our second periods at times got away from us. And the group at times, especially earlier in the year, players would share with me when one goal was scored it felt like two. And that’s a piece where we have to go through some growing pains and get past. And sometimes that’s players being put in situations that need to grow from. And ultimately if they can’t then that’s on me to find players that will execute in those situations.

On if he has wondered whether or not the players stopped listening to the coaching staff at some point…
CJ: No, not necessarily. I think you know this is certainly not the case. And Doug Houda is great coach. Doug Houda will coach again in this league. The players love him. Everything else…we’re discussing here as a management group about moving forward and bringing some people that can help maybe certain elements of our game that’s going to help us. And that was the decision was that made on Doug and that’s what we’re continuing to discuss right now- all of our personnel that we have in place. And as was mentioned earlier, we weren’t expecting to be sitting here at this point and probably not ready for all of the answers at this stage. But we’re continuing to work on that as we speak.

On how much say Claude Julien will have in the search for assistant coaches…
DS: Primarily he has to be comfortable and confident in his staff. Throughout the year Claude and I would have discussions as to roster and the needs of the organization from his side, from our side. But ultimately a staff he has to feel confident to put forth…that he’s getting his information disseminated how he wants it to, supporting the players themselves and their own personal development from a teaching component. You know practice now, especially as the year goes along, and the challenge of the year coming with five days off…like it gets limited as the year goes along. Even sometimes your better players are taking times off you have to be very defined in what your practice and such is. And there will be times when you know coaches will have individual development time and we need to be really strong in that area. Because you have young player integration that you just can’t expect to put them in a room and hope they grow from it or…and it’s an area that we have to make sure we’re really keen on. But ultimately Claude will have that decision.

On if he thinks that major changes are needed defensively in the offseason…
DS: Again that will be a challenge. Trades in general are a challenge. If you’re looking to…you’re going to have to find a trading partner to get good players. You can’t just start giving up good players or younger players or future assets in the form of draft picks as everybody knows. But the calls will be made to try and establish that. I look at our overall defense and the new player integration and what their expectations will be going forward. It might be as simple as understanding shoot lanes a little bit better for young players. Offensively I think our team grew in that area. Fifth in the league overall in scoring when the first part of the year people thought, well are they going to be able to score enough? And at times we just didn’t keep it out of our net enough. We got off to…you know assessing Tuukka’s [Rask] game, he got off to a slow start, had a tremendous middle part of the season. And then you know overall our team didn’t get it done with the last 13 games to go. Really unfortunate to get a message that pretty early on Saturday morning that he wouldn’t be the starter and Gus did a hell of a job in the first period in particular because our team didn’t play very well. So those are curveballs and from a roster perspective, I’m not going to tell anybody that I’m not going to try and find the best players we can possibly find. That’s not a disparaging comment against the current ones. We clearly aren’t playing so we need to continue to evolve and improve and again that’s on me.

On what was most surprising defensively for him this season…
DS: Well again, you know, you try to improve in all areas of your hockey club. We had players that had been in our system and have done very well in our system. We got off we had some injuries early on, allowing that opportunity for some younger players that had been in our group who are going to continue to hopefully grow and be able to mature as NHL players, and in some cases establish themselves as NHL players. You’re going to find that in almost every team. That eventually, you know, a player gets an opportunity and it’s up to him to continue to take advantage of that opportunity and sometimes it happens and you end up with a long career and sometimes it doesn’t. And then it’s incumbent upon me to make sure that I’m in a position where we have depth when we go through rough patches, or you go out and acquire players that can help you. We have gaps in that area. We’re not a team that’s playing for the Stanley Cup. We clearly have areas that we need to improve upon. And at times we didn’t transition the puck as well as we would’ve liked out of our own end, and other times our forward group wasn’t, as I mentioned earlier, about shot blocking. So it’s a team-wide concept. And that’s part of the belief in me and Claude that we’re going to have the structure in place. So eventually it falls on the players themselves to execute. Because he has won and the players that he’s had have won. Therefore, the players that we continue to identify have to come in and compliment that.

On the teams draft picks…
DS: Yeah it was imperative from a cap flexibility standpoint to address it, and we did. It was part of the interview process for me. We’re in a much better position and we need to manage that going forward with a potential flat cap environment and we have players that we have to project and plan for that. You know Brad [Marchand] would be an example, UFA’s that we’re currently facing are examples of that and we need to be good in that area. The younger players that we’ve drafted and recently signed and are going to develop are a big part of that as long as they’re good enough players and we expect them to be. But when they are and when you put them in your lineup is important. But we’re going to look at every different option. We went in the free agent market this year. And the ownership…this is not on the ownership by any means. This ownership is very, very supportive of what we need to do. It’s just, “get it done.” So that’s why the chair is warm.

On if he sees the need to adjust the defensive system or if it was a personnel issue…
DS: It’s always going to be a combination when you fall short. I mean Claude can comment a little bit in terms of where he felt he needed to make tweaks. He made offensive adjustments and our group responded to that. At times our group wasn't as galvanized defensively. And again there’s new player integration, there’s younger players. Those are all areas that we need to address going forward. We started right in our exit interviews to address it with some of them to get them to understand. And there’s got to be a total buy in. Clearly the best players when they have the types of years that they have, you know Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] and March [Brad Marchand] in particular, they lead that charge and the other players have to fall in line with that.

On lack of pushback from the players during the Winter Classic and in the last regular season game…
CJ: Well if you look back at just the last game, you say a lack of pushback, I think it’s a …I didn’t think we played very well even in the first period. I mentioned that after the game. Even if we were up 1-0 I didn't think we were playing very well. And then there were a couple of big mistakes that ended up in the back of our net. Whether or not there wasn’t pushback, you know it’s 4-1 I chose to pull the goaltender out and make it a six on four power play, which in my expectations I certainly didn’t expect them to score an empty net goal when we had six guys on the ice. But anyways, you’re trying to get yourselves back in the game because you know the consequences but let’s say we leave it at 4-1. I thought we had some pushback where we had some good opportunities and their goaltender made some really good saves. There’s no doubt if we score there’s some momentum there then it’s a different kind of game. That doesn't excuse the fact that we didn’t play well enough to win that hockey game. I’m certainly not making excuses here but I’m just saying, was there pushback? I think especially at the beginning of the third period where we thought we had a couple of real good chances, had we scored there and make it 4-2, maybe 4-3 you have a different type of game. But you know I really felt their goaltender made some saves that really turned the tide in their favor late in the third period. But there were other games that we didn’t get the pushback. And you know sometimes you talk about what are the reasons. Well we can talk about a bunch of different reasons and they’re probably all valid and so instead of talking about those reasons we’re trying to find out what can we do better here to prevent that from happening. Some of it may be experience, some of it…I know in the last stretch and for most of the year I calculated six guys in our lineup that were in their first full seasons, first full seasons in the NHL. So you know that experience they got this year is going to be valuable going forward. And that’s not the reason we didn’t make playoffs I’m just using that as an example. There’s a reason for our team to grow here with those guys having the experience and knowing how to handle those situations better next year. And those are the bumps along the way that we hope is going to be beneficial for our team through the pain that we’ve been through.
DS: Well it’s going to be a combination of all of those things. Pushback…we’re losing 6-0 to Chicago and we had real good pushback in that game. You argue that one of your best performances in a real tight situation was against Detroit. So inconsistency in that area is certainly something that was a little identifiable with this group. And again, to Claude’s point, at times we have other players that are injured every team is going to run through that and when the other players come in and do the job that’s expected of them sometimes they take a job from somebody and that’s what you have to do to stay in the National Hockey League. Can we have a little more players that will galvanize when the heat comes in? Yes, no question about it. And whether or not the younger players that we currently have will develop that is to be determined. And a lot of times you do have to experience it. It’s not fun when you do make that type of mistake- you have to grow from it and you feel like the pressure is on you. But hey, that's the business. You signed up for it and if you can’t do it then it’s my job to make sure we find players that, and we grow players in that regard, that are capable of doing that because that’s what it takes to win. Ultimately that’s what it takes to win and that’s what our fans expect; that’s what they identify with so we need to make damn sure that we act accordingly going forward.

On if they are any untouchable players on the roster…
DS: Untouchable from a contractual standpoint? Two different questions. Untouchable from a player personnel standpoint? Yeah there are players that are untouchable on our roster. You get calls but Patrice Bergeron is not going anywhere. It’s about…it’s a business and I think players understand that. We have players that have significantly invested in this organization long term and had a lot of success. They have been emphatic that they’d like to climb the mountain again and that’s a good testament. It’s a lot like what I say about Claude, you know. Sometimes when you get there, you know, you’ve climbed it once and you don’t want to go back. Other people are like, “Nope. Sign me up.” And that’s what we need more of. We need more players that when they get to the line, that they know how hard the climb is, they’ve experienced it, they might have fallen back and we have a good group of core guys that have done that. And the rest of the guys need to either jump on board and become and grow and want to do that or they won’t be here. And from an organizational standpoint that’s what I stand for. That’s part of the reason why I was hired. I’m driven that way. I want players that are internally driven. You can be externally motivated; believe me there are a lot of good things about this game that can motivate you. But boy oh boy, you better be internally driven in order to have success in this league.

On if Tuukka Rask is untouchable…
DS: It would absolutely depend. I think Tuukka Rask is an excellent goaltender. Do I think he came out of the gate a little slower this year than we would’ve liked? Yes. Do I think he finished up being sick at two times that were inopportune? Yes. That’s not necessarily Tuukka’s fault. Do I think we had areas when we broke down a little bit defensively with, as I said, newer players? Yes. But he’d be the first to sit up here and tell you that he would like to have made a couple of those saves at key opportune times. You know in the Jersey game where we have three two-on-ones in the first period and a breakaway they had 15 shots over the course of the game- he would’ve liked to have made that second power play shot going across the slot. He’d be the first to tell you that. And I like that about Tuukka. He’s driven to win and he has been part of a winning organization, his Olympic experience…we believe he’s a damn good goaltender and I’m not inclined to giving that away.

On if he looks back the trade deadline and regrets what happened…
DS: No as a matter of fact I don’t. I said at the time I felt this group…you know inconsistencies were there. We weren’t a complete team per say, but we were a team that was well positioned to be in the playoffs. Loui [Eriksson] was having a fantastic year, had a fantastic year, and was a big part of our success to that point. I’ve never discussed what may or may not have been thrown our way. There’s been a heck of a lot of speculation in that regard, but they’re not getting it from me. I felt I was always, and always will do, what’s best for this organization in the here and going forward. And this team at that time deserved the opportunity to have players to add to our group. We needed to. And in Lee’s [Stempniak] case had a very good year and went in and for the most part fit well into the [Patrice] Bergeron-[Brad] Marchand line and gave us some secondary scoring. John-Michael [Liles] had an unfortunate ankle that kind of hurt us a little bit at a key time coming down the stretch. We had identified that we could probably have a little experience and move the puck a little cleaner, those are why those additions were made. Had we had other conversations around the league? Yes we had in terms of a bigger deal, a smaller deal. But in the context of Loui I’d been clearly in favor of trying to reach signing Loui Eriksson. Whether or not that materializes still remains to be seen. He has options lying in front of him, but it doesn’t take away that he was an important part of our group. And I felt I did what was best for the organization at that time.

On what surprises and challenges he faced in his first season as general manager that he didn’t expect…
DS: Haven’t really gone back over — you know, it’s been less than a year. It’s still pretty raw. I don’t like losing. People understand that about me pretty quickly. I have a high set of standards as to what I hold myself, and everybody that I enjoy working with I feel like, and I want to continue to impart that upon everybody. But, it was a challenging year, just with the amount of change. It’s one thing to set out a plan, with an opportunity in front of you that you’ve come into, you’ve dreamed about being part of the organization, and obviously having it fall short, is disappointing, and that’s how I sit today. I’m not any less driven in terms of finding the fixes, excited about knowing we have a coach that can lead us through what I still consider a transition period, and being very, very excited about what lies in front of us, with the players we have and the core of our group, and how driven they are.

On what the past few days have been like for him…
CJ: What I did, was a self-evaluation is a self-evaluation, of all the things that you just talked about, you know. Do I still have the ear of the dressing room? Are they still hearing? And all of that stuff you go through, and even if my regards, been here nine years and everything else, and everything that came out of it, by the time I was done with my evaluation, when I met with Don on Sunday morning, was I want to be here, I want to bring this team back to where we once had it and I know that there’s some bumps along the way and there’s no doubt — I’m going to be honest with you, would it have been easier for me to go somewhere else and say, oh geez, I’m going to go somewhere fresh and start? That’s not what I want. To me, this organization’s been good to me, they’ve been loyal to me. Like I said before, I love this city, I love our fans, I love just the environment here. You want to be somewhere where people are really passionate about the game and there’s a lot of people here, including players, that have helped me become the coach that I am, and I don’t want to be that guy that bails just because all of a sudden you hit a bump in the road. I want to be that guys that perseveres. And things that went through my mind is, you know, it’s OK to be remembered right now to be the winningest coach in Bruins history, but I’d rather be remembered for a guy who had enough character to go back to the trenches and dig his heels in and help turn this organization around —versus the other way that could have been. So I was pretty clear with Donny on that front, and it was up to Don to tell me what his thoughts were, so obviously we had very similar thoughts and it was great to hear. Again, like I said earlier, that I had his support and I still believed that I was the guy and that’s why I’m still here today.

On the criticism that always comes after missing the playoffs, or during losing streaks…
DS: I mean, it’s a performance business, so — and this town’s been pretty successful in accumulating championships, and we expect to be doing the same thing. That’s the set of standards that we know going in. That’s what drives you, the passionate fanbase here. You understand the criticism’s coming. The only real way to alleviate that is to get back on top, and you’re going to be subject to it until you do. Again, that’s the good part of things. There’s just no easy battle. If you think the grass is greener — it’s warmer climates, they might be green, but ours gets green in the summertime too, as long as you water it and feed it and you just — you’ve got to choose the path that’s in front of you and if it’s bumpy, then you work through the bumps, and that’s what I respect about Claude — in all our conversations, even as raw as it is, it’s really only a few days removed from a disappointing set of circumstances for us, and that’s — you’ve got a new practice facility and again, ownership and the work that Cam’s put in to get that up and running and having — they’re talking about that stuff, and again, that renewed optimism quickly comes back around. October’s a long way away, we’ve got a lot of work to do — I understand it’s still on me to get this group back to acquiring and assembling players that can help our current group and in support of what Claude believes in and his philosophies as a coach.

On a timetable for David Krejci after his surgery, and if there will be surgeries for other players…
DS: David’s having hip surgery. He had his other hip done a few years ago — he came back in a perfect time frame for it to be 100 percent of the season. We fully expect the same thing. Great confidence in our medical staff to not only perform the surgery, but the rehab process — he understands it, he’s not looking forward to it, because having gone through it, it’s not fun, but it says a lot about David to play through, at times, what was uncomfortable for him. But now, he feels good that this will be done, it will be behind him, and he will be arguably a top center again in the league, and we feel great about that — to have that one-two punch for us is really important.

On if there will be other surgeries…
DS: There’s a couple other players that are being evaluated. Matt Beleskey had a hand injury that he’s taking care of. Torey has a shoulder that we’re continuing to evaluate. There’s a possibility there as well, a strong possibility. You’ve got Chris Kelly, he’s coming along — hopefully sometime in May he gets a clean bill of health for his leg. There’s a lot of bumps and bruises, but those are the most important things at this point in time surgically.

On if he would like to have Chris Kelly back…
DS: Well, I think, yeah. From a UFA standpoint, from a glue standpoint, obviously Chris’ health is what we have to evaluate, first and foremost, as to when he can contribute on the ice to us. There was a void there with Chris not being part of our locker room. Claude and I had a lot of talks about that. Sometimes, those guys, it’s not necessarily the stat line always, but there’s some glue there that you do miss when he’s not — he’s a little under-appreciated in that regard. But his health and his ability to impact our lineup is what’s most important and what we have to evaluate.

On if he had the final say in bringing back Claude Julien, and if Cam Neely had a say in that…
DS: That’s my decision. As I said, the ownership and Cam, they went through a long process to allow me to have an opportunity, provide me with an opportunity to be in the position, and we have great organizational conversations about the direction, about sticking to the plan and the process, but the decision with Claude rested with me.

On what the hip injury is for David Krejci…
DS: He’s got an FAI (Femoroacetabular impingement) that he needs to go in and have the surgery to repair that.

On what the next shoe to fall is that will drop when Charlie Jacobs and Cam Neely hold their press conference next week…
DS: Well, that will be a question for Cam and Charlie. I think that at that point in time, next week, I mean, that’s standard for them. Again, this was my first time going through the exit and the disappointment of an end to the season, being in the position I’m in. We just took a few days here — that’s just me, in terms of taking time to assess what needs to be done with the plan moving forward. Charlie and ownership and Cam have spoken a period of time after that, and they’ll address the organization with where they expect us to get back to and go from there.
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