Julien: Power-play critics need to 'take a breath'

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Julien: Power-play critics need to 'take a breath'

WILMINGTON, Mass. The streak remained alive Sunday as Claude Julien was once again asked about the struggling Bruins power play following practice on Ristuccia Arena. The Bs man advantage is now ranked 29th in the NHL after getting out to a 1-for-17 start, and is only behind the Los Angeles Kings that have started out a putrid 0-for-23 on the season.

The Bruins practiced with their top two PP units on Sunday before leaving on a flight to Carolina for the start of back-to-back games against the Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Dennis Seidenberg wasnt entered back into the mix on the second PP unit after coming back from injury Dougie Hamilton and Rich Peverley have been manning the points on the second unit for the last three games and Julien preached patience just one week into the season.

Given the Bruins track record with the power play crapping out in the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, thats a pretty special request. David Krejci probably should have been credited for a power play goal but a video replay ruled no goal against the Rangers, and both Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin have clanged posts on power-play scoring chances.

But the Bruins have also had entire two minute power play possessions in the last two games where there wasnt a single fired at the net, and the enthusiasm seemed to be flagging within the units skaters.

I thought Id be able to get away for at least one day without a power play question, said Julien. The results havent been there, but Id say in three of the four games that we moved the puck well, we hit a post and we had a goal disallowed. A lot of stuff has happened.

I could throw a lot of things at you whether it was LA winning last year without a good power play or Tampa Bay not even practicing the power play this year because they know you cant win a Cup without strong five-on-five play. But I think people need to step back and maybe take a breath a little bit . . . and not make a mountain out of a power play. We want it to work well, but its not the end of the world. Were still winning hockey games.

Its true that the Bruins and Kings made it two straight Stanley Cup champs that survived the postseason gauntlet without a high-functioning power play, and whatever the Lightning are doing is working because theyve got five PP goals in 20 tries this season. But then again they also boast Steve Stamkos cranking one-timers from the face-off dot, so perhaps that makes practicing a little less important for their special teams unit.

But the expectation is that names like Tyler Seguin, Hamilton, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic and Krejci involved in the Bs man advantage will eventually perform up to their potential, and turn the bright scrutiny of the spotlight elsewhere.

We hope with time that well get some of the results that we havent received so far, said Julien.

For now the Bruins are hanging their hat on a perfect 17-for-17 mark in killing penalties as well, so one dominant special teams unit is covering for the other one while the PP performers get their swagger back. Unfortunately theres no telling when that will be for a Bs power play unit that doesnt get the benefit of the doubt after the way things have looked over the last two years.

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while rooting for “Manchester By the Sea” to upset some favorites at the Oscars.

*Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews top the annual NHL coaches' poll produced by TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.

*The oral history of Fox’s glowing puck used for the NHL during their run with the league is an entertaining one.

*Mike Babcock gives pep talks to the reporters along with his own players while running the show in Toronto.

*The Vegas Golden Knights are moving forward with their timetable toward hiring a coach with some good candidates out there now, and some other ones potentially available soon. I’ve wondered if Claude Julien would be interested in that spot if he’s let go by the Bruins this season, but the one sure thing is that he wouldn’t be out of work long if he is relieved of his duties.

*Claude Giroux needs to start playing a little more fearlessly and without dwelling on mistakes, according to his general manager.

*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t believe that fancy stats and analytics have had a major impact on the way the Wings do things.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the rundown on a Millenial’s dream of performers at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game: Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen.

*For something completely different: keeping an eye on the notion that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President.

 


 

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

BRIGHTON, Mass – Claude Julien met with the media after Tuesday’s morning skate and there was a bit of a long pause between questions at one point early in the session.

“I understand because everything that needs to be said has already been said, right?” cracked the longtime Bruins bench boss, who was in good spirits after morning skate despite the turmoil around him.

It’s clearly less about words and more about results right now for a struggling team that’s lost a season-worst four games in a row in gut-punching fashion and has fallen out of a playoff position despite teams above them, Ottawa and Toronto, holding five games in hand on them. 

The Bruins are in a freefall at the worst possible time and at this point, Julien wants to see positive action and winning results from his team rather than the empty talk with the media.

“We want to respect our game plan, execute it well and that normally helps you. We’ve been a little bit all over the place, especially in the last game,” said Julien. “That’s what we addressed yesterday, moving forward.

“I haven’t used the All-Star break as a motivation. We’re basically looking at these last two games, and what we have to do in these last two games. I think we’re well aware of what’s waiting for them after that. The players normally know when the breaks are. That’s not for us right now. I’d like to see our focus on what we need to do [against the Wings] to right the ship. We’ve talked about it a lot, and I think right now the less said, and the more shown is probably the best thing.”

With two games left until the All-Star break, one has to wonder what Julien’s fate will be if the Bruins drop both games to Detroit and Pittsburgh before the group breaks up for All-Star weekend. 

A good showing might be enough to keep Julien calling the shots for the Black and Gold down the stretch this season. But the sense is that more of the same fragile, losing efforts from the Bruins in these final two home dates, a familiar look from this group over the past three seasons, could spell doom for the winningest coach in Bruins franchise history.

One thing is for sure: Words aren’t going to do anything for Julien, and instead it’s about cold, hard results for the coach and the Bruins players who are nose-diving in the middle of the regular season.