Julien focused on improving power play

January, 14, 2013
1/14/13
8:51
PM ET
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Last summer, Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien and his staff spent time trying to figure out what would work best for the team’s power-play unit. It’s been an area of concern for for Julien in recent seasons. The team wants that aspect to improve during the lockout-shortened 48-game season in 2013.

On Monday, Julien and the coaches spent most of Day 2 of training camp working on special teams. There are some new ideas and new faces on the power play, and Julien was pleased with the way both units played during the two-hour practice at Ristuccia Arena.

“We’ve got some personnel in some places this year that we feel will give us a little bit more,” Julien said.

[+] EnlargeClaude julien
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaClaude Julien did some experimenting with his power-play units on Tuesday and liked the results.
The first unit included David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin. This unit has a different look to it with Krejci on the point with Chara.

“David sees the ice very well and I know he’s very comfortable on the right side, and with Zdeno, as a pair I think they can do a great job,” Julien said.

Horton and Lucic are down low with Seguin waiting for the big one-timer. Krejci also said he’s fine on the point.

“I’m comfortable there,” he said. “It’s new for me in Boston, but I’ve played there before. I’m going to have to adjust myself pretty quickly here, but I don’t think there will be any issues.”

The second unit featured Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Seidenberg, Patrice Bergeron, Chris Bourque and Brad Marchand. Hamilton, a rookie, did not look lost while working on the PP.

“He looked good,” Bergeron said. “He seems to be pretty poised with the puck and he’s making the right play. He’s a good player, very smart and he doesn’t look like he’s 19 out there.”

Even during the lockout, the coaching staff revised and worked on the power play.

“When we had a little bit more time, we kept working on it,” Julien said. “We also had the opportunity to go to Providence and watch their team play. We saw a guy like Chris Bourque doing a pretty good job on the power play, and we know Dougie Hamilton is another guy who sees the ice well and moves it well, so those are things we started with today.

“To be honest, I liked the results. I thought our power play was moving the puck well in practice today and we were doing a lot of good things. We’ll keep working on that, and we’ve mentioned in the last little while, an area of improvement was [the power play] and hopefully we’ll get the thing done this year.”

Boston ranked No. 15 on the power play during the 2011-12 season. The Bruins scored only 43 goals on 250 power-play opportunities for a 17 percent success rate. The Nashville Predators led the league with a 21.6 percent success rate, scoring 54 power-play goals on 250 opportunities.

Even during the 2010-11 season, when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, they did it with a subpar power play. Boston scored only 10 power-play goals on 88 opportunities during its 25-game run in the postseason.

“I think [the coaching staff] looked at it a lot during the lockout,” Seguin said. “I think all of us in here know we need to make our power play better. Hopefully we can improve that.”

Now, with a shortened season, special teams will play a critical role in the team’s success.

“It’s a short season and we don’t have that much time, so special teams on both sides are going to be important,” Bergeron said. “We don’t have that much time to work on it, so today was the perfect day to do that and we’ll be ready when Saturday comes.”

The Bruins host the New York Rangers in the season opener at 7 p.m., on Saturday at TD Garden.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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