Monday, September 9, 2013
Julien on new season, new mix of players
By Joe McDonald
BOLTON, Mass. -- Some notes from Bruins coach Claude Julien prior to the team's annual golf tournament Monday morning:
* During the organization’s rookie development camp in July, Julien addressed many of the changes made by general manager Peter Chiarelli. Nearly two months later, the coach is eager to put his new roster to work when camp begins Wednesday. Prior to teeing off, Julien was in a good mood and sounded ready for the season to start, especially given the way the 2013 season ended -- with a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals.
“We’ve got a good group here and I’m looking forward to make amends for our finish and would like to get another crack at it,” Julien said.
* While the core of the team remains intact from its 2011 Stanley Cup title, there are some different faces as the Bruins prepare for the 2013-14 season. The biggest competition to win a spot in the lineup will be on the team’s third line. Center Chris Kelly will have new wingers this season, and there’s even a possibility he could be on the wing himself. Kelly and fellow forward Carl Soderberg are both natural centermen, while wingers Jordan Caron, Matt Fraser, Craig Cunningham and Reilly Smith are all in the mix.
“It’ll be a good competition,” Julien said. “There are some spots open and we’ve talked about giving some young guys some opportunities. We’ve also got some new faces we got in those trades and those guys are going to be looked upon to help keep our team at the top of the league. There are a lot of new things here, new faces and obviously the situation of how we finished and where we want to be again. All those things give us good reasons to be motivated.”
* The top two lines will be similar to the last couple of seasons with only a few tweaks. David Krejci will center left wing Milan Lucic, along with the addition of either Jarome Iginla or Loui Eriksson on the right side. Patrice Bergeron will center Brad Marchand, along with either Iginla or Eriksson. Julien could decide to keep the team’s energy line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton intact, but there’s a possibility Paille could get a look on the third line.
* The Bruins enter camp relatively healthy as Bergeron and Campbell both say they’ll be ready for the start of the season on Oct. 3. Bergeron suffered a combination of injuries during Games 4, 5 and 6 of the Cup finals last spring, including torn rib cartilage, a broken rib on his left side, a separated right shoulder and a punctured lung that ended up collapsing and forced him to spend three days in the hospital. Campbell suffered a broken right fibula in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins and had surgery in which a plate and screws were inserted to help his right leg heal.
“Basically, they’ve recovered as scheduled and that’s a good sign,” Julien said. “There haven’t been any setbacks. For Patrice, he’s felt pretty good for a while, and with Gregory, it’s just a matter of making sure he allowed it to heal properly. We’ll continue to monitor those guys and make sure by the time the season starts they’ll have to be 100 percent to be in our lineup.”
Both players have been participating in the captain's practices and both played golf on Monday.
* During a press conference to announce his recent contract extension, Chiarelli was asked what he was most proud of during his seven-year tenure as GM. Chiarelli quickly answered, “Hiring Claude.”
Julien was asked for his thoughts of his boss’s comments prior to teeing off on Monday.
“Obviously, when you’re a coach you like hearing those things because our job security is very minimal,” Julien said. “It’s nice to see my boss is still happy with the job I’ve done and hopefully I can continue to do that and continue to make him happy.”
* Julien attended the Bruins’ rookie tournament that took place over the weekend in Coral Springs, Fla. Boston finished the three-game tourney with a 0-1-2 record against the Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning.
“It was a good tournament overall,” Julien said. “All of our games were close. We tied two and lost one, and the one we lost by a goal is a game we blew a 4-0 lead, so I think the young guys played hard, they played well. It was definitely a lot easier to watch those players play against other players and see them in a real game situation. I liked what I saw. There are a lot of young guys that are just turning pro that got a good taste of it before they got to the main camp. Overall, very positive.”