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Running quotes for Bruins vs. Capitals on 9/24

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS POSTGAME QUOTES

BOSTON BRUINS VS WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

BOSTON BRUINS HEAD COACH CLAUDE JULIEN POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
On Adam McQuaid returning to game action…
It was good. I think he came out and tried to make a statement there that he’s ready to play, and he wants to be here. I thought he played a real strong game. I gave him high marks for his first game back, and how well he played for his first game back.

On what’s impressed him about Simon Gagne thus far…
Well I think people that have watched him closely, he seems to be finding his game more and more. We talked about that, being out for that long, and to me it was his best game so far. It was nice to see, especially on a back-to-back night, again, not knowing what kind of shape he’s in. But I thought he performed really well, so it was nice to see that from Simon [Gagne].

On if Ryan Spooner played with more commitment tonight…
He was better. Again, guys are going to make mistakes. I think we saw one where he had his man there in the third, I think it was [Joel] Ward, and still took a shot. But he understands it. What we’re saying is that we keep reminding him that he’s got to keep working on that, because to me he had a decent game again tonight, his speed, he made a couple of good plays. As I mentioned before, offensively he can excite you and he can be a real useful player. We hope he can be as committed at the other end, so he can be a good player for us.

On if he is happy with how Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand have performed in camp…
Yeah, I think Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] is Bergy. I think the big difference there is that Marchy [Brad Marchand] is in better shape. When you say in better shape, he wasn’t lazy last year. I think if you’ve talked to him, and we had that conversation at the end of last year, I don’t think he trained properly for what needed to be done there. He changed his training and tactics a little bit, and I think he seemed to get tired quickly. He seems in better shape cardiovascular-wise this year than he did last year, and it makes a big difference.

On if the team is still committed to playing Zdeno Chara in front of the net on the power play...
Well you look at tonight, he scores the winning goal. Last year, he led us in goals scored on the power play. He had ten, and that was the most on our team. To be honest with you, it would be tough to take him out of there. Why make a strength a weakness? So right now I think our plan is hopefully to leave him where he was.

On how well Tuukka Rask and Jeremy Smith played in goal…
Goaltending has been good. Even yesterday, both goaltenders played well. Again, these two played well. I don’t think we gave up a ton of scoring chances tonight. I think defensively we played well. We played better tonight. We played a lot tighter, so our goaltenders didn’t have to make a ton of [saves], but that’s also a challenge, as you know, when you don’t get that many shots and that many chances. You’ve got to try and stay focused. All those goaltenders so far, I think, have played really well. So it’s encouraging for us as an organization to know that you have some depth at that position.

On how he gauges ice time during the preseason…
Well we’re trying to keep the shifts short. As you can see, both teams, even tonight, were changing quite quickly there. The first game back, it doesn’t matter how hard you work and how good of shape you’re in, game shape is a different thing. So I think it’s important that we’re careful with that. If the minutes are high for certain players, some of them have a lot to prove if they want to stay, and we have to have a good look at those guys, so some of them got a little bit more ice time. You saw Simon [Gagne] for that case, and I thought Ville Leino, we gave him some power play time as well, where he excels. So some of those young guys, you put them in a positions to try and prove or show that they belong, or that they can do the job. So it’s just making sure that we don’t over-utilize certain players, and we try and do that. But again, sometimes those things are easier said than done.

On Adam McQuaid getting involved physically in his first game back…
I thought he played really well for his first game back in a long time. I thought he showed some grit. I said to these guys here that he’s showed that he’s determined to want to stay here, and he wanted to make a statement, and I thought he did.

On if being useful on special teams can help a player make the roster out of camp…
Yeah, there’s always a lot of things that come into play there. For his [Simon Gagne’s] situation, yeah it helps to know that he can play those positions. We know we can put him there. He’s got some experience, I’m sure he’s played there before at some point in his career. But also, you have to look at the young guys. Maybe they don’t have the experience that Simon has, but maybe they have a big upside to them, that we feel maybe 10-15 games in, they’ll maybe have surpassed a player like that. So we have to project all these things, we have to discuss those things. As you know, I don’t make that final decision, we make the final decision as a group. We talk about it with our upper management, our coaches, and everybody involved. So there’s a lot that goes into that conversation, as you guys know, the pros, the cons, the salary cap, all these things you have to discuss nowadays.

On if the team expects to make cuts soon…
No. I can’t say anything, so thanks for the heads up on that [laughs]. I don’t make the cuts.

BOSTON BRUINS GOALTENDER JEREMY SMITH
On his big save in the third period...
Yeah, we were under fire there for a little bit. So, I saw the pass come across and I just sealed the ice and tried to force them to go up top and luckily I got the save.

On making that big save in his first game for the Bruins...
It was fun. It definitely was a momentum changer. I think they had a lot of shots early in the period and after that, I think I kind of sparked the guys a little bit and we got that power play and we made good on it. So I think that was a game changer.

On facing a lot of shots tonight and getting into a rhythm...
Yeah, it was a close game. When you come into the third period you always want it to be close. It makes it a little more exciting. But yeah it was good, the pace was well and I felt comfortable in the net. So it was a good night.

On how satisfying it is to make a save that gets the energy level up...
When it’s zero-zero I think the crowd kind of gets in a lull. So, yeah, I did anything I could to spark them but the guys did well on that power play and I think that really woke the crowd and got them going and then we kept the momentum after that.

On if he heard the crowd’s reaction to his save and thought the puck was going in the net...
I heard the “ooh” but I wasn’t sure if it was in either. So I had to open my glove just to make sure it was in there.

On if he predicted the shot before it happened, rather than reacting to it...
I came over and I sealed the ice, so I knew he was going to have to go upstairs. And then it’s all about timing after that – just getting your glove their at the right time.

On the importance of getting off to a good start...
First impressions are always pretty important, so for me it was a big game. But it’s still preseason, guys are still trying to find their ‘A-game’ and we still didn’t have our lineup, they didn’t have their full lineup. But, it’s a good step forward.

On if he’s played in any NHL buildings before...
I think I’ve played in maybe four or five preseason games. So, it’s definitely a different feeling than a regular season I’ve backed up but haven’t gone in. This building and the crowd tonight was great. I can’t wait to see it in the season.

On what it’s been like to work with the older goaltenders at camp...
They’re really good guys and really good goalies. So, they’re easy to talk to, we learn from each other. Goalies learn from goalies, so it’s been a really good experience.

BOSTON BRUINS FORWARD SIMON GAGNE
On playing with Zdeno Chara….
Pretty big guy. I wouldn’t want to touch him. He’s got that long stick and I saw him a couple times wide open in front. You know, it takes a lot of courage to go one on one against that guy and even if I didn’t play last year, I watched a couple of their games and he had 15-20 goals last year just like that in front. He is a big presence in front of their goalie and takes a lot of space and takes the vision away for a goalie. He’s key in that part there.

On not connecting a pass with Chara on a potential backdoor play…..
Yeah, that’s what I asked him after, if you look at it I went back door, but he went between his legs and I kind of went like he was going to give it to me on his backhand on the goal line. But he said most of the time he is going to go between his legs so it’s about playing a bit more games with him and you know where he is going to make those passes so next time I will be a bit more patient before going down there.

On his legs getting better….
Basically tonight, I felt a huge difference from last night. Legs were a little bit more stiff maybe from playing back to back games, but I think it’s normal from not playing a game in almost a year and a half. A little rusty yesterday, but I felt better today with the puck. Vision wise, more patient with the puck, not as nervous with the puck, taking  maybe a little bit more time with it before making a play. I saw a little bit of improvement today from last game. It’s not quite where I want, but at least it’s getting a little better every game and that’s my goal. It’s only game two of preseason and we have five or six more games. So hopefully after those games, I’ll be close to where I want to be.

BOSTON BRUINS FORWARD BRAD MARCHAND
On if he expected him and Patrice Bergeron to look in mid-season form as this did today…
Yeah, I think so. Especially with a longer summer and we both had a lot of time to train. Bergy’s [Patrice Bergeron] in great shape right now and he’s playing great so I think with how long we have played together for sure we expect to be able to make plays right away and we work together a lot in practice. Anytime you see us in two-on-ones and stuff like that, we’re working together. So I think that chemistry, we’re just trying to continue to build it and hopefully that carries over into games.

On if his chemistry with Patrice Bergeron keeps them calm about the uncertainty in the right wing…
That’s out of our control, and we know that and we don’t really want to focus on it. I think we all expect something to get done at some point with Smitty [Reilly Smith] and Krugs [Torey Krug], but it’d be great to have them back, but for the most part we have to continue to do our jobs whether he’s here or not, and try to perform for the team, and do our jobs. As long as we’re on the ice we’re going to continue to work together and continue to build hopefully we can continue to grow.

On if all his power play time in camp is something he could get used to…
Yeah it feels good. I was a little nervous before the game. Knowing I was going to be on, you don’t want to mess up. But I thought it went pretty decent. I made a couple of okay plays and tried to keep it simple and hopefully I can continue to better out there.

On if this is a chance to show he can continue to be on power plays in the regular season…
Definitely. I think the last couple of years…last year I didn’t play it but I moved around a bit, but I felt comfortable out there today, and it’s tough to get back into it because every time you’re out there you feel like if you mess up you’re going to get taken off that’s a tough way to feel out there. Same time, I know it’s an opportunity to show that I can be there if called upon and I just want to make sure that I can play any position and hopefully it works itself out.

On getting a chance to see what it’s like to work with Zdeno Chara up front on the power play…
It’s definitely different, he’s a force down low. He wins a lot of battles. It’s weird having a guy stand in front of the net and sticks in the corner, so it’s just different but he did a really good job down there and he scored a lot of goals, he scored one tonight. He just makes a little more room out there for sure.

On Seth Griffith…
He’s very quick, very shifty and I want to get some one on one there in the corner. He’s very quick and he makes it tough out there on opponents. He made a few really good plays out there tonight. One to Bergy that sent me in on a partial break, and I wish I could have buried it for him, but he played a great game, played strong. I don’t think he really made any mistakes so that’s his first game, hopefully he’ll continue to get better.

BOSTON BRUINS FORWARD RYAN SPOONER
On Head Coach Claude Julien’s quotes about Spooner…
Yeah at the end of the day I think he just wants me to be a more all-around player. Something I’ve been trying to improve on so I’m just going to go forward with that.

On Julien’s quotes regarding his defense…
Yeah, you know it’s something I really haven’t had to focus on. At this stage of my career it’s something that’s going to keep me here so I have to focus on that and just go with it.

On his progression…
I’d say last year just trying to take pucks to the net, trying to do that a little bit more. Strength too and I feel like I’ve improved on that.

On improvements being mental…
I’d say it’s more of a mental thing. If I get a chance to shoot then I have to so that’s kind of what I’m doing.

On not thinking about improvements, just doing it…
Yeah it’s taken some time. Probably the last two seasons I’ve been the guy that’s came over and tried to pull in and find someone—gotta take the puck to the net more and just try to get the puck on net.

On working on face-offs…
Yes and no. I think strength was a big part of it. So I think for me just being stronger helps out a lot and it seems to be helping a little bit.

On face-offs being a flaw last year…
Yeah I think I started off like 18 percent in the dot and had maybe five games where I wasn’t bad and then I was back to being awful on the dot. Some ups and downs for me but I just have to work on it.

BOSTON BRUINS DEFENSEMAN ZDENO CHARA
On the first home game of preseason…
It’s nice to win a game. It was a close game and towards the end it was obviously who’s ever going to score is going to probably win the game.  If Smitty [Jeremy Smith] didn’t make that big save we wouldn’t be probably sitting here talking about that.  That was a game changer; he was obviously in the right place at the right time and made a huge save and that decided that game.  We were close a few power plays before and that power play goal we scored.  We were really good on retrieving pucks and obviously putting pucks to the net.

On the power play unit…
We just kind of quickly went through some options this morning, but we didn’t really practice it.  You could tell the timing was off and it was more like we were just trying to obviously be there for each other, but it’s probably going to take more practices and getting used to each other.  So yeah we didn’t probably practice enough, but that’s just the way it is in training camp.  You focus on other things; it was nice to get that power play goal though.

On whether he was expecting to play forward on the power play…
Yeah I’m comfortable playing whatever they put me in.  It ended up being in front of the net for tonight.  I don’t know if it’s going to be like that for that on with the games, but like I said I have to be ready to play any position that I’m going to be put in and try to contribute.

On the importance of preseason games in getting ready for the regular season…
They are important just like anything else you just need to get into it.  You just need to get the timing; obviously it’s different to be practicing than being in game shape.  So these games are meant to be for getting ready for the season. As you go on you’re probably going to see guys feeling more comfortable and better and better. Right now everybody’s kind of looking for that ‘A-game’ I guess.

On if they still were anxious going into the third tied at 0-0…
Yeah of course you have to be hungry to win games you can’t just be sitting back and trying to play it safe. I think that you have to play with that killer instinct even if it’s a 0-0 game doesn’t mean that you are going to take some risk and gambling and try to win games that way, but you want to win games the right way.  Obviously playing on the right side of the puck and when you feel chances.  Sometimes you will probably end up 0-0, 1-1, or 2-2, but you just have to wait for a chance and I think that you got to work for that chance and you have to earn that win. You can’t just be satisfied with a tie, or you know you just got to be always wanting to win.

BOSTON BRUINS DEFENSEMAN ADAM MCQUAID
On how good it felt to be back…
Yeah it’s been a while. It definitely felt pretty good to be out there—to be part of a win again. At times I felt pretty good, other times there was a little bit of rust here and there. Again, I’m just trying to start building on things and pushing forward.

On what part of the game you feel rusty the most…
Just—you know what, it’s a fast game and if you’re not making decisions quick enough you’re gonna get yourself into trouble and I did that a few times—just not making decisions quick enough and moving the puck quick enough.
 
On playing physical tonight…
Yeah that’s just kind of how I know how to play. I’m used to playing that way and yeah it’s been a while since I’ve been able to really try to lean on guys and stuff. I think kind of maybe it was pent up for a while [laughter].

On how much better you feel physically…
Quite a bit. I didn’t realize. It had been a while so I didn’t realize how much it was bothering me until I was able to get it taken care of and still continuing to see it improve. It definitely feels a lot better.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS HEAD COACH BARRY TROTZ
On if he is happy that his team has only given up one goal in three games…
Yeah, you know that part of our game is pretty decent.  I thought in the first period we actually did a really good job, we just didn’t generate anything.  We were being a little bit too cautious.  We would get the puck, create a turnover and just throw it back in the corner rather than throw it at the net.  We just have to get a little bit more of that shoot first mentality.  They played really good, Boston didn’t give you much.  Second period I thought we just didn’t manage the lines very well and had a little more time in our own end than we needed to and we didn’t get any pucks to the net.  Then in the third period I thought we were ok.  The first and third were fine.  They scored a power play goal with four seconds to go you – Chara’s reach, he’s got that stick and he reaches about ten feet around, not too many guys can do that, just the pure size of him.  Third period, I thought we were pretty good in the third period.

On if he is happy with the way the team has grasped his system of play…
We talked about the first three games we are going to mix everybody up and learn to play the way we need to play.  Then I’ll start grouping guys next game a little bit and then obviously the last five, we are going to put things together as much as we can.

On the play of Braden Holtby…
He’s really focused.  I think a combination of good goaltending and tightening things up in areas of our game that needed to be tightened up and you can see that we can do some pretty good things with them.

On how he would evaluate all three centers…
They all had their moments tonight.  I thought you could take pieces of the game and stretches where they would have three or four good shifts and they were really flying.  Then a shift where we were struggling a little bit with turnovers and little puck battles and stuff that you want them to win.  The draws are going to be a concern, we are going to have to work on that in a short period of time.

On if he has thought about what line his centers will be for the regular season…
It’s more a matter of preference now I think.  They all bring different things to the table.  You look at Marcus [Johansson] and he hasn’t played center for quite a while and he is just reengaging to that position.  For [Andre] Burakovsky, this is a total new position for him and he’s a young guy. Kuzy [Evgeny Kuznetsov] who is back at center playing over in North America at that position is different.  So they are all going through their own little issues and they are all pretty talented.  Obviously Marcus [Johansson] is a more veteran player, so expectations at that position should be a little higher than the other two probably

On the play of Connor Carrick at such a young age…
I thought he was ok.  There were times that I thought Connor was really good and then there were other times that I thought some unforced errors occurred, where he tried to force some things or misplayed things that he can be a little firmer on.  One thing you have to understand is that players are physically getting their game back and they feel good and they are skating and all that.  But the game hasn’t slowed down for them.  Playing those constant reps that you have playing in a real live game is going to help them have a feel for time and space.  That’s where in his first game you could see that.  Even with Brooks Orpik, a wily old veteran, there are times where the time and space thing hasn’t quite slowed down yet.

On the play of John Erskine…
John is obviously going to be a guy that will be vying for that sixth spot and you noticed that he keeps things quiet and he does a pretty good job on the penalty kill.  He got caught out there a couple times and really unfortunate for him because he was out there tired and forwards didn’t manage their lines very well and he got caught out there for a little bit.  A couple difficult shifts that weren’t really his fault, it was more the doing of our forwards.

On five of his six defenseman playing for the first time tonight…
You can see guys that have played more games now like a Joel Ward who has a couple there,  his time and space, especially with puck protection is there. [Troy] Brouwer and those guys are into their second game and you notice that things are slowing down for them.  The guys that are in their first game they are probably happy to get through it.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS FORWARD MARCUS JOHANSSON
On the game tonight…
It’s the way this game is.  They got one off the power play and one at the end there.  It’s tough to not get one when we have fought all game to stay in it but it’s the way it goes sometimes.  I think it’s a good game to get right away to get the feeling that you’re really battling for the wins.

On his personal comfort level two games in…
It feels a little awkward.  I mean I haven’t played center for almost three years so it’s different but I think every shift you kind of get a little bit more of an idea of what you’re doing out there.  I like it though, it’s a lot of fun.  You’re involved in a lot and I think it’s good for my game.  I think the last couple of years I haven’t gotten as much out of my game as I usually do, so I think it’s a good thing.  You just have to keep working at it and when you get to that level where you just do it and you’re not thinking about it anymore, that’s when you’re going to see some progress.

On what has been the biggest personal adjustment moving to center…
I think it’s a little bit all over the ice.  You know you have a little more responsibility, I think especially in your own end.  You’re down low, helping your own defense out more and it’s a lot of stuff that’s different but as I said for me I think it’s for the better.  So I’m excited to play center again and hopefully I help the team as much as I can.

On if having two other young centers in this game added some competition between them…
I mean I think everyone is battling.  As I said after last game, we have a new coach and a whole new staff, I think everybody has to show what they can do and get a good start and get some confidence and feel good about this.  I think that’s pretty much everybody.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS DEFENSEMAN CONNOR CARRICK
On if he was “chomping at the bit” to get started….
Absolutely, absolutely. You could do the math, I won’t, but April to September – that’s a long time. I’ve never had a summer that long. So I couldn’t wait to play, obviously. After a layover like that there’s going to be some good moments, there’s going to be some ugly ones. The goal, coach [Barry] Trotz said at the beginning of camp “just get better every day” and you know, that’s what myself and the rest of the guys I know will do that tomorrow.

On if he was happy with his performance in this game…
Well I mean, I think I owed it to myself. I called my mom yesterday when I found out I was playing and I said, “Hey, you’ve got to fly out to Boston.” She’s like “What are you talking about?” I said, “Well we’re playing there tomorrow night and this time last year I signed that day, ended up scoring a goal that day…” so I owed it to her. My mom couldn’t make it so I think she would have felt bad if I didn’t try and put out a good effort for her. I’ll bet they were watching, I owed it to myself and a couple of other people.

On if he had a sense of deja vu between this year and last…
I debated wearing the same shirt and tie, but I didn’t go that overboard with it. I kept the color the same. I’m went with a light blue shirt like last year.

On how it was playing with Brooks Orpik in his first game since the Penguins....
Awesome. He’s been really, really good to me in the room. Ever since he’s been here he’s definitely tried to help me out with a couple of things. As far as being a pro, he’s just a great example. He’s extremely steady. The Capitals are very, very fortunate to have him and hopefully I get to play with him again because he’s really, really good.

On his mindset about playing looking at the depth of the team…
It’s no secret. The guys ahead of me a really good, they’ve got great careers so far in the NHL, and I’m just starting out. I think the age helps ease the anxiety a bit. Being young I almost feel like I stole a year. I was able to steal some experience, put it in my pocket and go with it going forward. I started the game with Brooks today and really not a whole lot of nerves. Nowhere near where it was last year against the Boston Bruins, and they had a good lineup. Starting on that starting lineup. I think the experience that I have going forward is invaluable and the coaching staff here has been great with me. Very supportive in terms of trying to help me grow my game, and that’s what I’m always convinced of. I think the hardest thing in hockey and playing in the NHL is getting good enough to be an impact player. Until you’ve done that, whether you’re in the lineup or not, you’re just getting by. That’s my philosophy on it so my goal is just to get really, really good and try to help the Capitals as best as I can.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS DEFENSEMAN BROOKS ORPIK
On if he enjoys returning to Boston after his college career at Boston College...
Yeah, it’s in and out during the early part of the preseason – I think we come here the second game of the season so we’ll be here for a couple days, which is nice. But yeah, my brother came to the game. I don’t think a lot of people knew we were in town because it’s preseason so it was pretty quiet.

On if the score of preseason games matter or if they focus more on working out kinks...
Everyone’s competitive, so everyone wants to win games obviously and you do that by developing good habits. But yeah preseason is a little different. We’ve got a lot of guys that haven’t played with each other so communication is a little off. I think for a lot of guys in this group this was our first game out of the first three. So it was a little rusty, I guess, in terms of timing and things like that. But it’s more about building as you go through preseason and then the last couple two or three games are usually closer to the finalized roster where you get a better idea of what the team’s going to take shape as.

On how young players have stepped up in the absence of veteran roster members...
You definitely don’t replace those guys. But these guys, for a lot of them, it’s their first training camp. So, there are definitely some nerves. But I think right from day one the camp has been pretty hard and the young guys have done a really good job.

On if it helps to be playing in a familiar city for his first appearance with the Capitals...
Yeah, it was just good to get a game in. I missed the first two there. We got four or five good practices under our belt and we’re working on those things we want to apply to a game situation. I think it was the first game for a lot of us in this group. The first period was pretty good and then I think you saw some of the rust and sloppiness take shape during the second period. But I thought the effort was good. Obviously the execution wasn’t close to where it should be. But – a lot of new guys, a lot of young guys trying to learn some new systems, too, that’s a lot of information to digest in four or five days.

On the Bruins young players...
I think the way [Claude] Julien coaches here there’s a pretty good system and structure in place. When guys do go out they just kind of plug it in with guys from Providence. That’s the one thing about this group – it doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup they always play the same way. It’s pretty consistent. You know exactly what you’re going to get from them.

On Connor Carrick’s play and if he recalls being that young player himself...
It doesn’t seem all that long ago, but I guess it was a while ago, 2001. But, he’s a guy who has tremendous skill. He communicates really well for a young guy, which is rare. A lot of young guys are pretty quiet on the ice and communication is key in this league. Plays happen so fast that it’s tough to read plays on your own. For him and myself it was our first game here in the preseason so we did some good things, but there’s definitely some things we need to improve on.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS GOALTENDER BRADEN HOLTBY
On how Phoenix Copley played in net tonight...
Very well. It’s certainly impressive; there are obviously a lot of nerves getting that first action and he got the start the other night and performed really well. That’s the most nerves and then he got a test tonight coming in cold and he performed great. He gave us a chance to win and it was very impressive.

On the importance of a goaltender to be able to ‘come in cold’...
Yeah, we’ve always kind of done that. During the year you go more off of adrenaline – in this situation it’s a little harder because you know you’re going in. So, he did very well.

On if the team puts much stock in the score or if preseason is a chance to test things out...
You do and you don’t, you obviously want to win every game you play, but at the same time right now is when we want to be making mistakes – to clear them up so we don’t make them in the regular season. So, we still want to win games, we feel we can even if we’re trying things out but the preseason is for working out those kinks.

On the young players stepping up without veteran players in the lineup...
It’s great to see that everyone’s focusing on our end first. That’s the main focus. You get a little excited, especially as a forward to prove everything to the coaching staff that you can score goals and create offense but what we really need to win games is guys that play in our end first and work our way up from that. So it’s great to see that we’re putting in some good defensive performances.

BOSTON BRUINS HEAD COACH CLAUDE JULIEN PREGAME PRESS CONFERENCE AT 11:30 AM
On Adam McQuaid coming back from injury…
Yeah he’s looked good in practice. There’s no reason to believe he’s not going to be a decent player tonight. I like his approach to camp so far so we have a chance to have a good look at him tonight.

On McQuaid consistently coming back from injury every year…
It’s been a challenge for him. The injuries certainly have been an issue for him. It just seems like he has to start from scratch every time and it doesn’t make it easy. When you play and you play a lot and your healthy you get yourself on a roll. It’s been a while since he’s been able to do that.

On Griffith playing with Bergeron and Marchand…
Again, I don’t think you’ve been around much lately but we’ve kind of just spread guys around and were not trying necessarily to match them with [Patrice] Bergeron. If he does a great job that’s good but I can’t say much about Seth [Griffith] because I haven’t seen him play in a real game situation. It’s ok to watch guys in practice and stuff. He’s shown good skills, he’s shown a lot of good things so were excited to watch him play but I can’t answer much of your question until I see him play in one of those real games.

On what you need to see from Matt Bartkowski…
The tweaks shouldn’t necessarily have anything to do with one person more than the whole team. I think for Matt [Bartkowski] is he’s a guy that can skate the puck well. He’s got to make quicker decisions with the puck. I think sometimes we’d like his transition game to be a little bit quicker with the puck movement. The skating transition is good. Defensively, as you’ve heard before, he struggles a little bit in his own end. He gets beat off of walls—you know, guys aren’t perfect. We expect guys to work on certain things. So you’re asking me the question, I answer. It doesn’t mean we don’t like him, don’t think he’s not good, but those are the issues that we ask this specific guy to work on is get a little bit better in the D [defensive] zone as far as not losing wall battles and not letting guys beat him back to the net.

On Dougie Hamilton’s physical progression…
We hope so. I think a year and a half under his belt and the way he progressed last year is really encouraging. Again, we know he’s a good player and getting stronger helped him get some experience so that packaged together allows us to think that he can play some decent minutes for us.

On Dougie personally thinking he should be more physical…
Yeah he’s young. I think when your young you’d like to think that you’re going to continue to improve and I don’t think he’s reached his max or his peak yet. It’s good to hear those kinds of things because we’re happy with him because we understand where he is in his development but we also project a little more out of him as he gets older, bigger and better.

On how long it takes an NHL defenseman to reach their peak…
Yeah I don’t know if I’m going to put a number of games. I think it’s more the situations that he plays in. You see at times where teams are going to play those kind of guys in low minutes and probably a third pairing. We’ve had the opportunity to use him, because of injury last year, on the top pairing so maybe he gains that little bit more experience quicker. I don’t know how many games that’s going to take him but as I’ve mentioned to you, I like the direction he’s taken and I also thought he had a real good playoff for us last year. Those are tough situations to play in for a young player and he handled it extremely well. 

On Joe Morrow’s high end skill…
Well I think Joe [Morrow] has shown us some real good things here. In the last year in providence I saw him in the playoffs, I’ve also watched him in training camp. As any young player there’s certain things I think he still has to learn but I think the potential that Joe Morrow has is good. If you’re asking me a prediction I see this guy definitely playing in the NHL at some point. I like the direction he’s taken. He’s a good skater, he’s got a good shot, he can move the puck well and he competes hard so sometimes it’s the little decision making for young players and getting that experience to make those right decisions in those pressure situations or crucial situations

On the speed adjustment between the AHL and NHL…
Well you adjust pretty quickly. I think I experienced it even as a player. You’re in the NHL for a while and you get used to playing at that speed then you go back down to the American League and it felt like it was a lot slower. Then two weeks later you’re at the same speed as everyone else in that league. It’s just, to me the speed of the game—especially he’s a good skater—it’s just an adjustment of getting used to that pace of that level and I think he’s very capable of adjusting to that.

On player’s balance between defense and offense…
Well I think we have to be clear here. I know why you’re asking that question. You know what, everybody has strengths. You want them to utilize their strengths. But at the same time—and at the NHL level you have to be able to be reliable. We’re not asking certain guys to be physical if they’re not. We’re not asking them to slide and block shots if that’s not what they do, but we ask them to be reliable because if you’re not, as I mentioned yesterday, you can give us some great opportunities up front and you can score goals but if you give up more chances against than you create then you’re not helping your team. In the long run you don’t win championships that way. I don’t think—when it comes to defensive play it’s called commitment and that’s all it is. You don’t ask necessarily for skill when it comes to playing defense. It’s a commitment. Are you going to backcheck hard? Are you going to work hard to have your man? Are you going to be in position? Are you going to battle to get the puck so you can come get it out? I don’t think it has a lot to do with skill. I think it has a lot to do with commitment so in order to win championships you need commitment.

On guys not pulling their weight, it won’t work…
Yeah it throws everybody off. I think it’s important—and this isn’t just our team. We could have five coaches up here and they’d all tell you the same thing. I don’t think I’m very unique in my philosophy. It’s a philosophy that most teams have. We make sure our guys excel in the areas you’re supposed to excel. If you’re a goal scorer we expect you to score. But whether you’re a defensive player we expect you to forecheck and create some scoring chances. We don’t expect a defensive forward to score fifty goals but we expect him to at least create some opportunities, which our fourth line used to do really well. They didn’t score much but they spent most of their shifts in the offensive zone buzzing around and that just gives your team energy so if were asking them to do that then were asking the skill players who score goals to come back and compete hard in the D zone so that they don’t have to spend a minute in their own end. The less time they spend the more time they can play at their strength, which is offense.

On the power play and Chara’s role…
We’ll see. Tonight we’ve got him in front but we might slide him in the back end too at some point but right now it hasn’t been that big of an issue. I didn’t mind our power play last night. We had two and we scored one goal on one of them. Overall our two power plays handled it well. We’ve got some guys back there that we’re gonna look at. As we get closer to the end of pre-season you’re probably going to get a better picture. Right now were just—whatever lineup we have we try and make power play units out of them and go from there.

On Ryan Spooner and Simon Gagne playing back-to-back…
It’s an opportunity to see more of them. They’re all battling for spots and you want to make sure you give them great opportunities. At the same time you want to make sure your team is balanced enough that your competitive and you’re getting a chance to look at certain players.

On Matt Fraser’s opportunity…
Well I think he sees that there’s some opportunities here and he’s trying to take advantage of it. Kudo’s to him for taking charge and doing that. Again, you want to see those players build some consistency in their game. I think if he plays like night in-night out his chances of making the team are pretty good. We’re only talking about one game so let’s see how the rest of training camp go
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