Boston Bruins

Claude Julien: 'I intend to keep the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry going'

Claude Julien: 'I intend to keep the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry going'

BOSTON – Claude Julien came to Boston ten years ago as a picture of class, character and principles while taking over as head coach of the Boston Bruins, and that never really changed through 419 wins and a glorious Stanley Cup run in 2011. That continued when he sent out a first class, thankful statement following his firing as head coach of the Black and Gold last week, and it was at the forefront again on Wednesday as he hosted his first conference call as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens. 

Before answering any questions, he wanted to acknowledge the work done by the man he was replacing, Michel Therrien, behind the Habs bench. Julien admitted he still holds a respectful, soft spot for the Bruins team after he was unceremoniously dismissed. He watched portions of the three Bruins games following his ouster as head coach, and said he couldn’t bring himself to root against wins for the players he battled with for the last ten years.

“Any time a coach doesn’t get a chance to finish a season then there’s disappointment. [Don Sweeney] came in, and he had certain things in mind and I had to respect that. You have to respect that your boss is your boss,” said Julien. “So far who could say he didn’t make the right move with three wins in a row? Certainly it had an immediate impact. But at the same time, do I feel bad? Yeah. When you look at the things we did well: puck possession and defensively. I think we were first in all [puck possession] categories, and spent the less amount of time in our own end, and gave the least amount of shots from the slot. We had a lot of good things, but at times it seemed like we just couldn’t get it together on certain nights. 

“We were starting to score, and we’d already been scoring quite a bit. I thought it was close. We can predict whatever we want. The Bruins are obviously on a pretty good roll there now, so for me it is time to move on. You don’t spend ten years here, and even watching the games, I wasn’t sitting at home hoping that they would lose. I have too much respect for all those players that had been enormous for me during my career in Boston. Having won Stanley Cups with the Bergerons, the Krejcis, the Charas and the Marchands to name a few, Tuukka was there as well. There are a lot of good people. I’d say every guy in there was a good person. I never had issues with any of them. So you sit here and you want them to succeed. Having said that, I’m with another team now and I need to succeed with that team. There’s obviously a rivalry that exists between those two organizations, and I intend to keep that rivalry going. But on the ice, not off the ice. I have too much respect for those [Bruins] players.”

Whether Julien wanted the bitter on-ice rivalry of the past to return or not to Bruins-Habs, the wick has been lit for an explosive clash, or two, after Julien immediately jumped from the Bruins to the Canadiens his week. He signed on to coach Boston’s most hated rivals for the next five years before he’d even had a chance to decompress on his bye week vacation in Vermont. Julien has already explained things are going to be deliciously heated between Boston and Montreal for years to come. 

It’s the way it is always supposed to be, and now Julien will have an entire chapter all to himself after heading back to Montreal after spending a decade winning with the Black and Gold in Boston. 

Beleskey happy to return from foot injury

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Beleskey happy to return from foot injury

BRIGHTON, Mass – It was absolutely an “uh-oh” moment for Matt Beleskey when he was hit on the foot with a shot Monday night in the Bruins' preseason opener against the Canadiens. Beleskey, 29, was just hoping that his foot wasn’t broken in what would have been another shot of bad luck coming off a tough season for the hard-nosed winger, so his hopes have been answered given his presence in the lineup for the preseason game Saturday night vs. the Detroit Red Wings.

Beleskey missed the past two preseason games and most of the practice time as well but returned to the ice on Friday before getting ready for tonight's game. With plenty to prove while coming off a down second season in Boston, Beleskey knows he needs a strong camp that can’t get derailed by injuries or assorted bumps and bruises.

“I definitely did not want a broken foot to start the year, so I’m glad that I was fine,” said Beleskey, who finished with three goals and eight points along with a minus-10 in 49 games last season. “I took a puck in the face during warm-ups and the shot to the foot in the third, so that’s quite a good start to the year. But hopefully, I’ve got those out of the way now.

“I felt really good in the last game. It was great to see some of the work I did in the summertime paying off, so now we build on that [against Detroit] and keep things moving. There are a lot of great players here [in camp] and there’s great competition. I’m just here to play my game and prove myself, and I’ve got all the confidence in the world I can do that.”

Now that he’s been given a full bill of health again, Beleskey will get just that chance skating with Sean Kuraly and Ryan Fitzgerald on Saturday night in Hockeytown amid a deeply competitive situation for Boston’s third line. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings for the Bruins against the Red Wings in Boston’s fourth game of the preseason:

DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak
Vatrano-Czarnik-Purcell
Beleskey-Kuraly-Fitzgerald
Schaller-Szwarz-Senyshyn

Miller-McAvoy
Grzelcyk-McQuaid
O’Gara-Zboril

McIntyre
Subban


 

Morning Skate: Sean Avery vs. Tortorella

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Morning Skate: Sean Avery vs. Tortorella

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while amazed at what has united Lebron James and Steph Curry in this wacky country of ours.

*Sean Avery has some brutal things to say about John Tortorella in his new “screaming for attention” book, but then again Avery is one of the biggest low-talent dirtbags that the NHL has ever seen. So you probably need to consider the source.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) John Shannon has a few thoughts on where the NHL needs to go in their relationship with China now that they’ve played preseason games there.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the details as Steven Stamkos stood out in his preseason debut and the first game back from last season’s injury.

*The NHL has yet to determine whether or not Marian Hossa is eligible for LTIR with a skin issue that is expected to be career-ending.

*PK Subban talks about his rule of thumb while staying away from controversy with an active social media account.

*Mark your calendars for the annual Comics Come Home event on Nov. 18 to raise money for the Cam Neely Foundation. Here Neely talks with SI about his friendships with a number of local comics, and how the comedy event became a tradition in Boston.   

*For something completely different: Today marks the 40th anniversary of David Bowie’s classic “Heroes”, so it feels like a good time to get the story behind it.