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Thursday, December 16, 2010
Updated: December 17, 9:50 AM ET
Bruins' funk continues in Montreal

By James Murphy
ESPNBoston.com

MONTREAL -- Boston Bruins forward Tyler Seguin was back in the lineup Thursday, earning an assist and a plus-1 in 10:42 of the Bruins' 4-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens after the rookie was a late scratch Saturday because of flu-like symptoms and a healthy scratch Wednesday.

Seguin's healthy scratch was the topic in a radio interview Thursday morning that led to Bruins president and Hall of Famer Cam Neely criticizing the team's lackluster play of late.

Claude Julien
Claude Julien's struggling offense was criticized by Bruins president Cam Neely on Thursday.

When asked about Seguin spending Wednesday night in the press box as a healthy scratch, Neely immediately deferred to Bruins coach Claude Julien.

"Coach's decision," Neely told Boston's WAAF. When asked if the scratch was based on anything he'd seen lately, Neely said, "You've gotta ask the coach that."

Neely then went on to vent about the style of hockey his team is playing under Julien's defensive-minded system.

"Goals against isn't an issue; goals for is an issue." Neely said. "The power play is an issue. ... I think the name of the game is you still have to score one more goal than [the other team]. It's not about trying to win zero-zero."

While Neely's comments weren't brought up to a visibly disturbed Julien after the loss Thursday night, the Bruins did score three goals on 37 shots and seemed to be creating more offensive chances as they hung tough in what could've been a lopsided game with the Bruins falling behind early, 2-0. Seguin seemed to be taking everything in stride following the game Thursday.

"Last game, I got to sit up top and took it as a positive, getting to study the game a bit more," said Seguin, who sat with general manager Peter Chiarelli and the team brass Wednesday night. "I think it's always good for a rookie to sit up there and see what it's like from up top. Obviously, I gave them an excuse to do so and Daniel Paille had a great game, so they gave him another and I got my chance tonight."

After the game, veteran forward Mark Recchi acknowledged that the team was urging each other on Thursday morning to attack more and take more chances.

"We definitely wanted to improve in that area," Recchi said. He was unaware of the Neely comments, but when told of them, withheld from responding. "You look back at when we're having success and it's not because we're not being responsible, but we are opening it up, and I thought we did that tonight."

Recchi was impressed with the way Seguin responded to his first healthy scratch.

"You know, he responded really well and that's a great sign for a young kid like that," Recchi said. "We all know the skill he has, and he took what he learned from sitting up top and applied it on the ice. This kid's got a bright future."

But the question now is should Claude Julien be worried about his future if the Bruins lose their fourth straight game when they host the Washington Capitals on Saturday night if the reason for the loss, in Neely's eyes, is a lack of attack and offensive pressure?

While Julien is reportedly in the second year of what, according to numerous sources, is a three-year deal, this is still a storyline to watch going forward. No one will question the 2009 Jack Adams Award winner's coaching ability, but there appears to be some conflict within the organization regarding his style.

James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.