By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON Despite the struggles of Tomas Kaberle, which have frustrated the Bruins since the 33-year-old defenseman arrived in Boston, coach Claude Julien preached patience while assuring that hes sticking with the embattled blueliner for Game 5 Monday night at TD Garden.Kaberle was on the ice for the game-tying and game-winning goals in Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning and appears to be skating at rock bottom, confidence-wise, after earning only 11:35 of ice time.Its clear by amount of the ice time he received that the Bruins coaching staff has little confidence in Kaberle, and theres no sugarcoating the soft-serve play that lead to Sean Bergenheims game-tying goal. But Julien assured the media Monday afternoon that Kaberle would be in the lineup,.The Bruins' power play, which the arrival of Kaberle was supposed to spark, is 11-for-118 since he got here and there have been a number of Kaberle defensive breakdowns in the second and third periods of games that have cost the Bruins dearly. His ice time has decreased consistently throughout the playoffs, and he hasnt played 20-plus minutes in a game since the Montreal series.
Julien can say he has confidence in Kaberle, but the fact that hes a bottom-pairing defenseman with Adam McQuaid screams otherwise.If you know the game well enough, you would understand that theres some experience back there, said Julien. Youve got to also think, 'Is the guy coming in going to be a better player than Kaberle? Some people wanted certain players out of the lineup earlier on, and our patience has paid off. I dont know why we decide that we should be taking him out of the lineup when there are other players, too, that have struggled.We have patience. We believe in those guys. In Kaberles last game, that third goal, maybe he loses the puck. But our system calls for support on that. Our support wasnt there. Hes not the only one to blame. The winning goal he blocks a shot, makes a great play and hes trying to get off the ice. We turn the puck over. So do we keep blaming Kaberle? I think people are a little hard on this guy and Im one of those guys thats going to support him. Im one of those guys thats going to keep him in the lineup.It should be worth noting that one of the players people wanted to get into the lineup was Tyler Seguin, and he had a bit of an impact on the conference finals once he was finally inserted into the series. Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said that Dwayne Roloson was prepared for Game 5, but wouldnt come right out and say the 41-year-old would be his starter. The belief here is that Roloson is playing with an injury on his right lower body, and that Mike Smith will get the start with the Tampa Bay goalie seemingly far less than 100 percent. Julien and his players expect to see the same resiliency thats served as a calling card for the Bruins since very early in the playoffs.I think were a resilient team, Theres no doubt about that, said Julien. You hear that word quite often. But we realize that were also a team that has given up some leads. We need to get better in that area. But the one thing weve been able to do is bounce back.We understand our faults and we understand where weve gone wrong and the next game we try and redeem ourselves. I dont expect any different from them going into the game tonight.