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.

Bruins' Zboril uses criticism and Twitter hate as motivation

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Bruins' Zboril uses criticism and Twitter hate as motivation

BRIGHTON -- It’s easy to see that Jakub Zboril , one of the Bruins' 2015 first-round pick, has come a long way in a year.

“I feel more comfortable,” said Zboril. “After last year, when all of the people saying something about what they didn’t like about me, it really pushed me forward. I told myself I wanted to be in better shape and so I worked really hard at it.”

The 19-year-old wasn’t in very good shape for last season's training camp after coming back from a knee injury, and that carried over into a junior season for the Saint John Sea Dogs (6 goals and 20 points in 50 games). That was a drop from his 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games prior to hearing his name called by the B’s on draft night.

Zboril was back at peak effectiveness in the playoffs for the Sea Dogs with a couple of goals and 10 points in 17 games, but the chain of events caused some to wonder if the Bruins had drafted something of a bust.

It seems ludicrous, considering Zboril is a 19-year-old talented enough to be selected 13th overall in the entire NHL draft, and even more so now that he’s showing much more in his second camp with Boston. It was some good and some bad for Zboril in his preseason debut against Columbus on Monday with a misplay leading to a goal against, but Zboril also kicked off the transition pass that helped the Bruins score their first goal of game.

“From last year I think he’s made big strides,” said assistant coach Jay Pandolfo. “He’s a young kid that’s only 19 years old, and he’s going to keep getting better. So that’s what you want. The structure in his game and the overall attitude [is better]. He was a little young last year. He’s in better shape. He’s done a lot of things that we got on him for last year, and he’s taken it and listened, he’s working hard. He’s done a good job.”

It’s a long shot for Zboril to crack the B’s roster this fall, so he’s likely headed back to Saint John for another junior hockey season after watching fellow prospect Thomas Chabot get a lot of the No. 1 D-man playing time last season. He quickly shot down any possibilities of playing in Europe rather than going back to the Quebec Major Junior League, and said there could still be plenty to learn in his final junior season.

“Right now where I am, I can just learn from myself and pushing myself,” said Zboril, of going back to junior. “What I can take from last year is that my role on the team changed, and I had to be more of a shutdown D. I had to show my defensive abilities, so I improved a lot from the year before. I think I can be more of a defensive defenseman too, so there’s that.”

Still, the so-so season last year had its impact in a positive fashion with Zboril really stepping up his game. But it’s also had its drawbacks as the Czech-born defenseman was forced to deactivate his Twitter account because of the harsh criticism and messages he was getting from hockey fans. Disappointingly, Zboril said most of it was coming from people in Boston that claim to be Bruins fans, and that it was like “people just spitting on you.”

“It was really pushing me down a lot,” said Zboril. “After some games when you know you weren’t playing really good, then you go on Twitter and you just see . . . people just spitting on you. So I had to delete it.”

Zboril said he’s much happier since getting off social media. But it’s a shame that a bright young prospect’s first impression of his future NHL city was the flaming dumpster of keyboard warriors that should forever be known as “Bruins Hockey Twitter.”