Bruins focused on the here-and-now for playoffs


Bruins focused on the here-and-now for playoffs

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The Bruins know it how it feels. They realize what it takes.

As the defending Stanley Cup champs, the memory of hoisting hockey's most prized possession is ever so vivid. But the memory of how they got to that point of ultimate success also remains clear.

While preparing for Thursday night's playoff opener against the seventh-seeded Washington Capitals at the TD Garden, Bruins players echoed a similar reason for last year's success:

Don't live in the past, and don't look to the future.

"I think what we've learned the most is, we never looked too far ahead of what we had to do," said Bruins forward Milan Lucic after Wednesday's practice at Ristuccia Arena. "And that's our mindset right now. All our focus is focused on Game 1 and Game 1 only, and coming out hard, and making the most of our home-ice advantage."

It would have been easy for last year's Bruins to curl up into a ball and succumb to the pressures of falling behind 2-0 in both their first round series against the Montreal Canadiens, and again in the Stanley Cup Finals series to the Vancouver Canucks.

The B's lost the first two games of both rounds, but ended up winning both in seven games. And being able to put those early losses behind them was the main key to their success.

"It's huge, especially right now," said Bruins forward Brad Marchand. "If you lose a game or two, you can't dwell on it. You have to continue to worry about the next game, and what you have to do to win that one.

"You saw we did it a couple times last year against Montreal and Vancouver," added Marchand. "We got down by a couple games, and we didn't panic. We let it go. We built on the things that we were doing well. And it got us back in both series'. That's what you have to do. You have to let a loss go, let a bad game go, and worry about being better in the next one."

Bruins coach Claude Julien believes his team is ready to carry that same mentality into this year's playoff run.

"That's not going to change," said Julien. "We've done that in the past, and we're going to continue to do that. We're a team that lives in the present, and not in the future. We don't live in the past, and last year's last year."

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.