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Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Bruins players back their coach

By James Murphy

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- With the Bruins mired in a slump, losing four of their last five games and playing without the energy, passion and intensity needed to win in the NHL, the vultures have been circling above head coach Claude Julien with plenty of media and fan speculation that the 2009 Jack Adams Award winner may be on his way out. But on Wednesday morning, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told 98.5 The Sports Hub that, as far as he was concerned, Julien's job was safe. And in the afternoon, Bruins players scoffed at the talk that their bench boss should be canned.

"It's BS! That's what I think," veteran defenseman Andrew Ference said. "That's why I don't read that [expletive]. We're not talking about it. The only opinion I care about is in this room, whether it's about my game, a coach or a teammate. I don't give [expletive] what anybody else says. It's about what people in our locker room say, because that's all that matters.

"I could care less what anyone else thinks because they're not in this locker room and they don't know what's going on. They really don't know anything. It's not a shot. Its just reality. There is stuff that goes on that people love to guess at and speculate at, but they don't know."

Veteran forward Shawn Thornton said he understands the "blame the coach" mentality but that he doesn't agree with it.

"When things go a little downhill in any big market, I think people look for an excuse and will jump on any little thing and snowball it," Thornton said. "I don't think it's warranted and ultimately it comes down to individuals and us as players to show up every night and play. It has nothing to do with the other stuff. There's going to be nights in an 82-game season where you don't have it and hopefully the other 19 guys have it and pull it up for you. That's human nature. Sometimes your legs just aren't there but your effort and your intensity and passion can be there every night, and I think it's upon us to bring that, not the coach. That's just a stupid excuse as far as I'm concerned."

Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said he doesn't enjoy hearing his coach's name tossed around as a scapegoat either, and blames himself and his teammates, not Julien.

"I think we're responsible for the way we play, and if he puts out a game plan and we don't follow it, it should be our fault. It's annoying to hear all this," he said.

Seidenberg has been part of a team that saw the coach get fired before. He was a member of the Carolina Hurricanes when Peter Laviolette -- who two seasons earlier had won a Stanley Cup with Carolina -- was fired. The German rear guard recalled a very "empty" and culpable feeling.

"I remember Laviolette coming to the rink and telling us he was released from his job and it was hard because we knew as a team we didn't do our job and you're partly responsible for him getting fired. It's a weird, bad feeling."

For his part, Julien said he was happy to hear about the support from Chiarelli and his players, but that he also understands times like these are part of being a head coach in the NHL and professional sports.

"You always appreciate support. That's important," Julien said. "But right now my job is coaching this hockey club. Whatever is being said out there and however it goes is out of my control. I come in here every day with the same intentions and that's to coach this hockey club -- and make them as successful as I can.

"That's the way it goes. It's the nature of the beast and we all know that as coaches. That comes around every once in a while. I don't let that get to me. I come in and coach the same way. I'm going to do what I do the best I can.

"I hear what's going on out there," he added. "But I'm certainly not listening or reading because that's not a helpful thing for me. The only thing you can do is keep going forward."