Chiarelli, Julien getting 'impatient' for an NHL season

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Chiarelli, Julien getting 'impatient' for an NHL season

SAUGUS Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli have both been through the drill before.

The Bruins head coach was serving in the same capacity for the Montreal Canadiens during the 2004-05 NHL lockout, and Chiarelli has lived through three work stoppages along the way as a player agent (1994-95), an assistant general manager (2004-05) and finally as the GM of the Bs this season.

Chiarelli and Julien have kept busy by traveling to Niagara and Belleville to check out Dougie Hamilton and Malcolm Subban and making themselves regular attendees at Providence Bruins practices and games. But just like everybody else both GM and coach are waiting impatiently through the peaks and valleys of the CBA negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA.

So on Thursdays deadline set by the NHL to save an 82-game schedule beginning on Nov. 2, Chiarelli was hoping for the best while bracing for another potential flat-line in negotiations. The worst: no conversations will pass before the end of business on Thursday and then the NHL will be expected to cut a significant portion of the regular season schedule a month or more on Friday.

Its a hockey bummer, of course, but one that Chiarelli is advising all of his employees to ride through.

Im not used to being on the sidelines and watching. I obviously respect the two parties greatly and know theyre trying to get something done here, said Chiarelli, who along with Julien dropped in on a Mens League game at Hockey Town USA on Wednesday night as part of efforts to stay involved with the community during the lockout. I told all my scouts not to get too high or too low with all of the media stuff and false starts. Of course, Im finding myself getting too high and too low.

Im a little impatient, bored and frustrated . . . all of that stuff. But theyll figure it out.

Julien meanwhile was at the helm of the Habs franchise when the NHL lost a year in 2004-05, and was actually fresh off a dispatching of the Bruins during the previous springs Stanley Cup playoffs. The Bs coach learned some level of patience by sitting out an entire hockey season, but wasnt eager for hockey history to repeat itself again this season.

Julien is still optimistic that wont happen.

Having gone through it before, I know the stages that you through . . . but it wont make things any better. Im like everybody else that Im anxious to get it going. Its out of my control. Were stuck in the middle and just trying to prepare as best we can, said Julien. We want to be ready yesterday. If it starts then well be ready to go. Theres no doubt about that. That keeps you motivated, but theres an empty dressing room that we hope fills up soon.

Im still very optimistic that theres going to be a season. I continue to think that way. There are times when you get more excited that you hear news, and then the next day it kind of gets thrown out the window. But in my mind Im staying as ready as I can be because Im a believer there will be a season.

So both Julien and Chiarelli will wait patiently through the NHLs Thursday deadline to start the regular season on Nov. 2, and keep an ear to the ground for the next piece of heartening news amid a disheartening lockout. Perhaps it will be next week or next month, but both members of the Bruins organization feel its coming this season eventually.

Curran: Pats already winning the mind game

Curran: Pats already winning the mind game

FOXBORO -- There’s this book called “The Obstacle is the Way,” written by an author named Ryan Holiday.

PATRIOTS-STEELERS PREGAME

Therein, the 29-year-old author explains how many highly successful people use adversity as a springboard. Holiday explains that dwelling on impediments to success -- whether they be personal shortcomings, daily challenges that confront us or just bad luck -- hinders our ability to accept them and move on undeterred . . . which is critical to success.  

It’s a book I first became aware of when reading a feature on John Schneider, the Seahawks GM. Schneider said he was told about the book by Bill Belichick confidante and former Patriots executive Mike Lombardi in 2015.

“[Lombardi] said, 'That's really where you would get a great vibe for what [Belichick] is like and what his philosophy is and how he approaches life and his football culture and all. I went out and purchased it right away, and it was awesome.”

The book came to mind last week when Mike Tomlin, in his postgame address to his team, lamented that the Patriots were “a day-and-a-half” ahead of Pittsburgh in prep time and that the Steelers wouldn’t be back in Pennsylvania until 4 a.m.

Already there was that “I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’ . . . ” woe-is-me approach that gave not just Tomlin an issue to fixate upon, but his players as well. Kind of like the idle intimation Tomlin made after the 2015 opener that the Steelers headsets gave them issues.

Of course, by Monday morning, the Steelers had more to deal with, as Antonio Brown broadcast live 17 minutes of locker-room footage. The Steelers fixated on that through Wednesday. Then the flu descended on their locker room and reportedly affected 15 players. Early Sunday morning, the Steelers had the fire alarm pulled at their hotel and -- even though they didn’t evacuate -- it’s shaping up as something the Steelers will be muttering about for weeks.

Or even years. They still think they got jobbed out of a Super Bowl by “Spygate” even though the 2001 Patriots beat them because of two special-teams touchdowns more than anything having to do with alleged taped signals.

Contrast that with the Patriots. After they sat on the tarmac in Providence for three hours on New Year’s Eve waiting to take off for the finale in Miami, Tom Brady talked about the opportunity the delay afforded the team to catch up on rest or preparation.

It’s just the way the Patriots have been hard-wired since Belichick took over. Screw the mottos, like “Do Your Job” or the hokey “One More”. (Can someone tell me that if “One More” occurs, what's next year’s saying? “One More One More?”) If there’s been a mantra for success that underpins everything the Patriots have been about it would be: “It is what it is.”

Quarterbacks coach passes away? (Dick Rehbein in 2001.) Very sad. But it is what it is. Starting quarterback has artery sheared? (Drew Bledsoe in 2001.) Is what it is. A league-sponsored witch hunt is carried out prior to the Super Bowl with the starting quarterback in the crosshairs? (Deflategate/Tom Brady in 2015.) It is what it is. That quarterback’s ultimately yanked off the field for four games? (Brady's suspension, 2016.) Is what it is.

Bill Parcells once said, “If you give a team an excuse they will take it every time.”

So it was with that in mind when the Patriots in 2003 boarded a plane for Miami and Belichick told them they were going down there to win and that he “didn’t want to hear about the heat or the plane ride or the f****** orange juice.” The Patriots got the point and extracted a 19-13 overtime win -- the first time they’d won there under Belichick.

The Patriots have had plenty of fire alarms pulled on them over the years -- three times during their week in Indy prior to Super Bowl 46, at least once in Arizona prior to SB49 -- and never did those cause the outcry that this minor disturbance caused.

That has to do with the mythology around the Patriots and Belichick that’s grown and festered for a decade-and-a-half.  The rest of the paranoid NFL imagines a KGB-style intelligence agency and wound up more concerned with the Patriots than readying a great team tto unseat them. Which is handy when explaining to your owner why the Patriots routinely win at the rate that they do. They cheat. What better way to cover your ass?

It can work for a while, right Ryan Grigson?

Another pro sports dynasty that enjoyed the kind of long-term dominance New England's in the midst of also won a lot of games because opponents got spooked by dead spots in the floor, hot locker rooms and cold showers in the original Boston Garden.

In other words, this mental tenderness exhibited by teams that choose to rage at the unfairness of it all rather than laugh and soldier on is nothing new.

Today, the ill-feeling, sleep-deprived, Steelers -- who had to cram their preparation around the distraction caused by a great player -- will play their most important game in six years.

God willing, the headsets work.