Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Pouliot glad to be on 'right side of rivalry'
By James Murphy
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Winger Benoit Pouliot made his first appearance on the ice as a Bruin at the team's “captain’s practice” on Wednesday afternoon, and afterward the former Canadien didn’t pull any punches in discussing his previous situation with the Canadiens. When asked what he thought went wrong in Montreal the last two seasons, Pouliot pointed to a “lack of trust” between him and head coach Jacques Martin.
“I don’t know. ... I think there was maybe a lack of trust there between me and the coach,” said Pouliot, who had 30 points in 79 games last season but was benched after Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series against the Bruins and never returned. Boston eventually won that series in seven games.
“I think maybe at the end there -- at first when I got there he played me maybe 17, 18 minutes a game and things went well -- kind of went downhill after that. But last year I had a good year on the third line and fourth line all year long and it was more positive stuff than negative stuff when I was in Montreal.”
Pouliot said that due to that strained relationship it was basically a mutual parting between him and the Canadiens.
"Now it’s a new start," he said. "I haven’t met [Bruins head coach] Claude [Julien] yet but I talked to him a couple times on the phone and I am excited to see how he rolls.”
He said he’s also excited to play on the other side of the storied rivalry between the Bruins and Habs, one that he was very much involved with last season -- fighting David Krejci in the brawl-filled 8-6 Bruins win last February and then fighting Andrew Ference in Game 3 of the first round of the playoffs. Pouliot said he isn’t worried about any bad blood carrying over and told the media Wednesday that he had already spoken to Krejci to make sure that was the case.
“I’m on the team now and things like that happen,” Pouliot said. “When I was on Montreal, guys there had gotten in fights before and they’re best friends now. I’m not coming here and trying to screw up everything... I’m just looking to try and find a spot and get along with the guys as much as I can.
"I don’t know. It’s the rivalry thing and it’s not easy," he added, "but the Bruins fans can’t see me as a Canadien because I’m a Bruin and that’s all that matters. I don’t really care what people say about the rivalry. I’m a Bruin now and I’m on the right side of the rivalry. And hey, they won the Cup last year, so I’m excited."