Julien motivated to bring another Cup to Boston

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Julien motivated to bring another Cup to Boston

BOSTON Its something of a no-brainer for the Bruins to hand Claude Julien a multi-year contract extension heading into the final year of his current deal with the Bruins.

The longtime coach has achieved everything during a consistently excellent five years with the Bruins, leading them on their steady incline prior to last years playoffs.

Julien has won a Stanley Cup, hes won a Jack Adams Award, he led the Bruins to a No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference three years ago, and hes accumulated the most playoff wins of any coach in Bruins history.

Hes certainly the best Bruins coach of the last 20 years and arguably the best Bs bench boss since the bombastic Don Cherry during the 1970s era of the Big Bad Bruins.

The teams of the last five years have been tough, intimidating bruisers out on the ice capable of pushing around the biggest, strongest opponents. But theyve also traditionally exhibited great discipline within their offensive and defensive structure.

The Bruins dont routinely beat themselves with mindless penalties and have nearly always toed the line for their coach. They are traditionally among the NHLs top 10 teams in goals-against average, and they have finished in the NHLs top five in scoring in two of the last three years.

Add all of those accomplishments to a coaching staff thats also developed young players like Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, Adam McQuaid and Tuukka Rask over the five years, and it makes a pretty good resume.

It paints the picture of a hockey coach running a highly successful NHL program, and one thats willing to change when things need to be adjusted.

"I think you evolve every year that you coach," Julien said. "Im one of those guys that always said that the minute you feel that you know it all, is when you got to retire. Most of the guys that know it all are retired, right? But I keep trying to improve every year. Whether its through making changes and whether its something you guys see or whether its things I do in the dressing room or preparation or whatever. Youre always trying to improve and changes things . . . keep them fresh.

Julien can be tight with the controls, and particularly about his preferences with his hockey team, but the players have always had his back. With his consistent, prepared, open-minded coaching, general manager Peter Chiarelli ultimately trusts in his head coach.

"As a manager I know when I want to add a player to our mix. I know when I have complete confidence in Claude and his staff and that players will become better," Chiarelli said. "It helps me as a manager: you can look at the progression of players that weve brought into this lineup and has made this team better. Its a testament to Claude and his staff, so that makes my job a lot easier.

"Over Juliens tenure here hes shown the ability to adapt. He has a very, very disciplined team, and thats again a testament to his coaching. Yet at the same time his team is a very tough team, and thats a very difficult balance to maintain. Hes been able to do that with success. Technically hes one of the best if not the best coaches in the league."

So it should have been automatic to give the hard-working Julien a contract that will keep him in Boston until at least 2014-15. The new deal added to the five years already under Juliens belt give him the kind of NHL coaching job security that few people other than Nashvilles Barry Trotz and Buffalos Lindy Ruff truly enjoy in this day and age.

Those are my role models, said Julien, as Ruffs enters his 15th season with the Sabres and Trotz has been the only head coach in the 13-year history of the Predators. I love the organization, love the city and I think my family's extremely happy here. I couldnt ask for a better situation for myself personally.

The one thing that I said when I first came here was my goal was to try and win a Stanley Cup here in Boston. Weve accomplished that. Now my goal is to win another Cup for this Boston franchise. I remain hungry. I remain committed and dedicated to understanding that the expectations here in Boston are always very high. I love that kind of standard because thats what makes you a better coach. Thats what makes you a better team.

Julien is already looking at being one of the most accomplished coaches in Bruins history simply by studying the career totals and success in Boston during his five years in the city.

But winning another Stanley Cup and squeezing more dominant team success out of a solid nucleus might just catapult Julien into the best ever conversation that hed be far too modest to start himself.

Hayes knows he's a good player, wants to silence the critics

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Hayes knows he's a good player, wants to silence the critics

BOSTON, Mass. – There’s a long way to go toward a complete resurrection from last season’s misdeeds, but Jimmy Hayes made a nice little statement that he’s learned some lessons in Boston’s preseason debut. The Bruins lost the game, 3-2, in the shootout to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but Hayes scored one of the two goals for the Black and Gold as one of the few veterans in a very youthful lineup for Boston.

The Hayes goal was a nice give-and-go with Jake DeBrusk at the end of a nice transition play in the second period, and was the highlight of a night playing on the right wing with DeBrusk and center Austin Czarnik. The score and a team-high four shots on net for Hayes represent a good start for what he hopes is a gigantic rebound season after last year’s disappointment.

Clearly Hayes heard some of the unflattering chatter about him on sports talk radio and otherwise last season, and may even understand how his difficult season in his home city of Boston -- whether he actively expressed it to him or not -- might have been a factor in his buddy Jimmy Vesey ultimately choosing New York over Boston.

It appears the former Boston College standout is looking to change the conversation in Boston. 

“Yeah, sure am. I’ve got a lot to come out here and…[there were] a lot of comments about myself, but I know I’m a good player. I got to this level for a reason,” said Hayes, who dropped from 19 goals and 35 points with the Panthers to 13 goals, 29 points and a career-worst minus-12 for the Bruins last season.

“To be able to play at the NHL level and continue to play at that level on a consistent basis is what I expect out of myself. I do it for myself and our teammates, and to help our team win. I’ll continue moving forward.

“It’s funny being the old guy on the line. It’s nice to see those young guys and see how excited they are, and how excited I am to get back out there. That’s what I said to the guys, they still have the jitters and they still have them for the first preseason game. It shows that these guys want it and it’s been a lot of fun skating with those guys. They’ve got a lot of speed and to keep pushing the pace. Trying to keep up with them has been a lot of fun.”

There is still a long way to go for the 26-year-old winger, and his willingness to stick around the danger areas on Monday night was a welcomed one for a Bruins team that needs his 6-foot-6 body in front of the net. Hayes paid the price with stitches and a fat lip after taking a Dalton Prout high-stick to the mouth in front of the Columbus net that went uncalled on a Bruins PP at the end of the second period.

That’s all part of the big man’s game on the ice, however. It’s also the kind of battle and determined fight that Hayes will need to show much more consistently in his second season with the hometown Bruins if he’s truly looking to bounce-back from last year’s mediocre performance. 

Carlo 'arguably the best' defenseman for Bruins in preseason opener

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Carlo 'arguably the best' defenseman for Bruins in preseason opener

BOSTON – On a night when many of Boston’s young players stepped up nicely, perhaps none did more so than 19-year-old defenseman Brandon Carlo. The youngster was in a top pair role with John-Michael Liles against a decent Columbus Blue Jackets lineup that included Sam Gagner, Alexander Wennberg, Seth Jones, Brandon Saad and Sonny Milano, and had almost no miscues in his 20:16 of ice time.

Better than that, Carlo notched an assist on the game-tying score in the third period when his right point shot made it through traffic for Danton Heinen to redirect it past Curtis McElhinney from the slot. That left Carlo with an assist, a plus-1 rating and three shots on net in 20:16 of ice time to go along with some heavy battling around the net whenever Blue Jackets players tried to get too close.

“Arguably our best D, if not our best D. [He showed] real good decision-making, and his gaps are good. I can really only think of one time in the third period he kind of threw a puck away in the middle of a change, and ended up on his wrong side,” said Bruins assistant coach Bruce Cassidy. “It wasn’t a bad turnover, but it was just one that he could have made a little bit of a better decision.

“He didn’t handle the puck much in the game, that’s pretty good. He jumped up the ice, got his shot through when it was there, matched up well with whoever he was put out there [against], pushed back in front of our net. [There were] a lot of good things.”

It’s a big training camp for Carlo, who is more than likely earmarked for Providence unless he can utilize a stellar training camp performance to push over one of the seven veteran Bruins D-men with NHL contracts. That means potentially displacing Joe Morrow as the seventh defensemen on the roster, or forcing the Bruins to possibly deal Adam McQuaid or Kevan Miller if the Bruins feel he is ready for the day-to-day NHL grind.

The preseason opener was a good start that the 2015 second round pick was excited about, but things will certainly get more challenging for Carlo as the Bruins get deeper into this training camp.

“I just want to keep the same mentality, same energy. Show a little bit more physicality. I felt like I did that, but definitely could close a little quicker in a few instances overall. I just want to keep building on every game,” said Carlo. “There are some very strong guys on the puck in this league and throughout this game they had those guys out there definitely. Overall, you just have to compete just as hard as them.

“You’re dealing with NHL guys out there. [The Blue Jackets] had some pretty good guys in their lineup tonight and everyone is competing for jobs on both sides…so the speed was phenomenal. I loved it.”

The Bruins loved what they saw of Carlo in a pretty big opportunity right out of the gate this preseason, and now the teenager has set the bar if he wants to keep pushing with a hockey club that needs to upgrade their defense with strong, young players.