Bruins try to recapture defensive identity

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Bruins try to recapture defensive identity

BOSTON -- Sometimes, players don't realize how bad they are until they see it on video.

That's why Bruins coach Claude Julien had his players show up to the TD Garden on Sunday to focus "specifically" on the video of their 4-2 loss in Montreal on Saturday night.

"When you see it, it kind of opens our eyes," said Julien. "We've attacked different areas, at times, and showed them. But today was more of the whole package. And that's why we kept our whole day on video, more than on practice. You need to realize it, before you can do something about it."

Sundays are usually the team's day off. And while the now 3-7 B's didn't skate today, they did have to come in and watch film of what they've been doing wrong.

"When things are going like this, obviously, I'm not really surprised with having to come in today and having to look at things," said Bruins center Patrice Bergeron. "Because that's the only way we're going to come out of it. It's about putting some work into it, some hours into it, and finding ways. No one else but us can do it."

Amidst rumors of potential trades because of an early-season slide that only seems to be getting worse, the Bruins are confident with the players they have. For no other reason than the fact that a majority of the players inside that dressing room hoisted the Stanley Cup several months ago.

But everyone's in agreement. Something has to change. Not personnel, not lines, not defensive pairings. That change needs to come from re-capturing their pride and identity that led them to a championship run last season.

"Right now, when things are extremely hard, you've really got to rely on your structure and doing things properly," said Julien on Sunday. "Get your structure back, and get your execution back, and keep it simple. And work from there.

"We've got to get back to the things that made us successful," added Julien. "We're a team that likes to put pucks forward and move it forward, and put it behind their D's and go to work and grind it out and win those battles. From there, a lot of things happen for us. As the game goes on, we get more space, we get more opportunities to make plays. We've just got to get back to doing those things."

And after watching video on Sunday, now they know.

It's all about defense.

"Where our team's strength comes from, is that, anytime we've been good defensively, we've been able to feed offensively from that," said Julien. "When we come back hard, when we back check hard, and all five guys come back in the zone, and we cause turnovers and we go up the ice together, that's where our strength, offensively, comes from."

Sunday's video session brought some clarity to what they've been doing wrong. Too many players caught up-ice. Not enough players getting back on defense. Relying on individual efforts to produce goals.

The Bruins know that's not who they are. They know that's not what got their hands on the Cup.

They just needed to see it on video to realize just how much they've steered away from that style.

"We're not a very good team when we stretch or try those long passes, because when a guy gets the puck, he's by himself," said Julien. "We're a team that relies a lot on support and chips and races, and stuff like that. So, our strength offensively, comes from how well we play defensively. I've always said that, you do well defensively, you're going to get the puck a lot quicker. This is what we are, as a team, and this is what we have to understand.

"That's how our team is built. And there's nothing wrong with being built that way, because it got us a Stanley Cup 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.