BOSTON -- Tell Benoit Pouliot he played well -- hell appreciate the compliment.
Tell him what he needs to work on -- hell embrace the constructive criticism just the same.
At 25 years old, Pouliot has developed a mature approach to his hockey career. Thats what fighting for playing time on three teams over the past six seasons will teach you.
On Tuesday night, Pouliot scored the game-winning goal (assisted by Joe Corvo and Rich Peverley) for the Boston Bruins with three minutes to go in the third period after sitting out four of the Bs previous six games. He was most recently a healthy scratch in Saturdays win over the Buffalo Sabres.
I think its more of a vocal thing, just hearing the guys, just hearing the coach talk to you, he told CSNNE.com following the Bruins 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. If I have a bad game or if I have a good game, Ill still get talked to and theyll tell me you did this good or you did that bad.
Its tough and its been like this throughout my career. Mentally, its not the easiest thing in the world but you cant put yourself down and you cant put too much pressure on yourself. When it goes bad, it goes bad and youve just got to keep your head up.
Pouliot came to the Bruins this season after nearly two with the Montreal Canadiens. One of the keys to adjusting to a new team -- and one with tight chemistry after winning a Stanley Cup championship -- has been communication.
That means putting his feelings aside and soaking in the feedback of his coaches and teammates, even if it isnt always the easiest thing to do.
When youre younger, its tough, he said. I think for any young guy its not easy. If they tell you, You played bad, you get down on yourself pretty hard. But Ive learned throughout the years. Ive had some bad years and I try not to think about it too much and just work on that.
Coach Claude Julien spoke with Pouliot about what he was looking for, and Pouliot responded.
Hes a smart player, Julien said. He doesnt have the speed of Daniel Paille, but he has the smarts, the grit, everything else. With Ben, we just felt that hes got experience in the league, and with that line, it just gave it, again, some speed. Peverley and him on each side and Chris Kelly, who I thought had a fantastic game tonight as well, it just gave us a really, to me, a pretty good third line tonight.
After listening to what his coaches and teammates have to say, Pouliot was a topic of conversation prior to the game.
Sometimes we talk before the game and a few guys had a good feeling about him, said Zdeno Chara. He works hard and its nice to get him that goal. He needs it and we all need him too, and hopefully thats going to boost his confidence and hes that kind of player that we need him to be.
And if there are any compliments or critiques along the way, Pouliot is willing to listen.