It isnt usually in Claude Juliens bag of coaching tricks, but he called the rare early game timeout Saturday night to great effect.
The Bs coach watched his heavy-legged team fall down to the Winnipeg Jets by a 20 score after some uncharacteristic defensive breakdowns, and Julien didnt hesitate to stop the momentum with a timeout after Dustin Byfugliens goal gave the Jets a two-goal lead. Julien didnt rant or rave to his veteran, Cup-winning bunch, but instead tried to instill a little calm back into a group that was running around well out of position.
I think it was just about obviously slowing the game down a little bit, but more so I just felt that we weren't skating very well at that point. We were getting the puck and then we were looking instead of moving. Our neutral zone speed just wasn't there at all, said Julien. We were basically standing still a lot and that wasn't the way we need to play. So I just felt that at that time, we needed to kind of refocus and slow things down a bit.
We had to find the elements of our game that make us successful, again. I just tried to refocus the team on doing those simple, little things and see where it would take us.
The timeout was followed by Zdeno Chara cranking in a power play goal from the right point to cut things to a 21 deficit in the first period, which eventually paved the way for Boston to overcome Winnipeg. At the end of the day the victory was about Charas power play prowess, Chris Kellys miraculous second period scoring outburst and the marvelous third period goaltending of Tim Thomas.
But theres also something to be said for a head hockey coach injecting himself into the game when things aren't going well early, and thats something Julien hasnt done enough to appease his critics at times.
It was the perfect call at the perfect time for the stumbling Black and Gold before they met during the first intermission and really cleaned up the other sloppy aspects to their game.
I think it helped a lot for guys to settle down a bit. Maybe you realized that you are working too hard or you are not, said Daniel Paille. I think it kind of gets you thinking a bit on what you need to improve on. I think it helped a lot.
When a team is rolling like the Bruins are in November, everything seems to happen at exactly the right moment and the puck always seems to bounce helpfully. That good stretch also surely extends to the coaches, who seem to make all of the right roster calls and timeout choices when a team is winning with consistency and regularity.
The time-honored timeout was just that right call for Claude Julien and the rest of the Bruins bench in their gritty weekend victory.