Julien pleased with early intensity

BOSTON -- While Saturday’s training camp sessions focused more on the defensive end and tightening gaps, Sunday’s two sessions at TD Garden were heavy on the transition game, with a slew of rush drills that led to nifty goals against Tim Thomas by Daniel Paille (top corner, near post), Patrice Bergeron (five-hole), Benoit Pouliot (short side) and Tyler Seguin (near post).

“It was something I’ve been working on,” Seguin said of his one-timer that landed just inside the top corner on Thomas’ stick side (and got a rise out of the two-time Vezina winner). “Last year, I seemed not to be able to get down those one-timers. A couple of times I did on the power play, but sometimes I was fanning on it more than I wanted to, so fortunately I was able to work on that this summer. That’s a pass we’ve been working on.”

Coach Claude Julien was pleased with the intensity over the first two days at the Garden, while erring slightly on the side of caution. Starting Monday, he said, the team will be doing more scrimmages in the second halves of practice sessions to get guys more accustomed to game situations.

“It’s nice to see those guys pretty intense,” Julien said. “Obviously in the battle drills it shows more, but even in passing and shooting drills, guys are skating pretty well. But we’ve also got to be careful here. Fatigue can set in pretty quickly after a tough, physical testing.”

Asked about the extra work on tightening the defensive gaps, Julien said it shouldn't be seen as an indictment on the present personnel.

“Every year, no matter what, you look to make certain things better and that’s an area we’ve identified,” Julien said. “It wasn’t a major issue, but it’s an area that we can get better at. Sometimes it’s about our [defensemen] working up the ice a little harder. If they work harder and they’re able to support the attack, then they also have a tighter gap.

“And our D’s can get that confidence in them if our third man is high and they can backcheck properly and give them some confidence to at least stand up a little bit more at the blue line.”

PROGRESS REPORT: Jordan Caron was one of several youngsters who showed promise early last season as the Bruins battled injuries, but he tailed off a bit before returning to Providence by midseason. With a guy that was going to be in and out of the lineup with the big club, Julien found it more practical to keep Caron in Providence, and pointed to David Krejci’s 25-game stint with the P-Bruins in the '07-08 season as an example.

“He really battled consistency. We sent him down and he knew why and he understood why,” Julien said. “He made sure he corrected it there and he came back and never allowed it to happen again, so that really helped him to become a better player.”

As for Zach Hamill, who has seen other P-Bruins leapfrog him to the big club the last few seasons, Julien noticed more confidence in the former No. 1 draft pick.

“Zach has struggled a little bit with that in the past, but right now he’s shown that after the amount of years he’s been at our camp, that it’s a time for him to show that he’s benefitted from it,” Julien said. “I find him playing with a lot more confidence. And he’s one of those guys that you’ll probably see more of what he can do in a game situation than in practice, because he’s a smart player, smart individual and he can make some real nice plays.”