COACH CLAUDE JULIEN
Q. Happy Father’s Day, coach. Got your first Father’s Day gift last night.
COACH JULIEN: Yeah, my kids gave it to me (laughter).
Q. Just wanted to talk about your decision to change that third line, create that third line, last night, what went into it. I guess we’ll expect to see them again on Monday night.
COACH JULIEN: I think it was mostly about, you know, about finding a spark somewhere. It was a 1-0 game. We just didn’t seem to generate much offense.
With Gregory Campbell out, our fourth line kind of lost its identity, the so-called Merlot line. I’m trying to find something here that will give us some spark. Those three guys together seemed to blend in well. Thankfully for that. They scored both goals to help us win the hockey game.
Q. Bringing you back to 2011. When the Cup Final shifted back here to Boston, can you recall your favorite memories of that week?
COACH JULIEN: Yeah, I think any time you get this far, you saw that in Chicago, the support they have from their fans. Obviously our fans have been great here as well. They’re loud. Enjoy playing in front of these guys here.
The bottom line is you still got to go out there and play the game. You can’t let that part of the I guess equation get the better of you. If anything, you want to make sure you take advantage of it.
Again, it’s really about focusing on what we have to do. We’re definitely always more comfortable at home. We don’t mind playing on the road. You’d always rather play in front of your fans.
I guess to me, it’s always been about being even-keeled. It’s one of those series where you saw it go one way one night, the next night it went our way. So many things can happen. You hear it all the time. You don’t want to get too high, you don’t want to get too low.
We didn’t get discouraged after the game. ‘Disappointed’ is the word I used. We were even more disappointed in our first period of the last game. At least we showed character, bounced back, got better.
Staying in the moment is the best way to go through this Final round anyways.
Q. When you play as much overtime hockey as this team has played so far, is there anything you do to try to make sure the guys take opportunity to get rest before Game 3?
COACH JULIEN: That’s where your trainers come in. They do everything they can, whether it’s drying equipment, whether it’s making sure they’ve got the energy. There’s always stuff in the dressing room to help you out, fruits, all kinds of stuff. All teams are well-prepared for that.
As far as the coach is concerned, don’t have much to say. You go in there and you don’t have to tell the players that the next goal wins. They know that. You go out there and play to win.
I always say the same thing: Don’t play on your heels. We got to go after it. Our guys respond well to it. My speech between overtime periods last a minute, minute and a half. It’s more about getting their rest, making sure they’re excited about going out there and trying to win it.
Q. Two years ago when you won the Cup, you had about the best goaltending anyone has ever seen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. How would you compare what you’re getting from Tuukka to two years ago?
COACH JULIEN: I think it’s just as good. No doubt. Tim has been a great goaltender for us. When you lose a guy like that, there’s always that fear that you’re not going to be able to replace him.
Tuukka’s done an outstanding job. To me, he’s been as much of a contributor to our team as Tim was two years ago.
Q. When you guys came out a little harder in the second period last night and onward from there, it seemed to have quite an effect on the game on the opposition. You had the same effect on the Canucks in 2011. How much a part of your identity is that? How much do you have to keep driving home? Or they know that’s the way they have to play?
COACH JULIEN: Our guys know what they have to do. As a coach, every once in a while, I mean, your decibels have to change a little bit in the dressing room just to get their attention. Other than that, there’s not a ton, again, that you have to say.
Our guys know at this stage of the year, as I said to the players, rest always trumps practice because right now if you don’t know what you have to do out there, you shouldn’t even be here.
Same thing what you tell your players. All you do is give them guidance. Listen, if we start doing this, doing that, it will help our game. This is what they’re doing, let’s make sure we do this. It’s all about adjustments between periods.
The only thing about last night, I felt we had a really slow start. I felt our team was ready to play, knowing our players. I was really surprised to see how much we played on our heels.
You know, you have to give the other team credit. They came out hard. They deserved that credit. We didn’t respond well. But then in the second period when we started moving our feet, slowly our game came back. It didn’t come back right away. But our feet was the first thing we needed to get going. Eventually our hands started coming back, the plays started happening. By overtime I thought we had a pretty good control of that period.
Hopefully we start on time next game because those starts in these games are important.
Q. What about pushing them out?
COACH JULIEN: Yeah, you’re not really pushing them out more than you’re probably controlling the tempo a little bit more.
You know, all it takes is one goal. You can have a ton of chances, they just have to come once and score. That’s the name of the game.
You’d rather feel comfortable at least seeing your team have the better of it. I honestly thought we did in overtime.
Q. The way that you have succeeded in the playoffs thus far, do you feel ultimately you’re going to need a fourth line? Where do you feel like you stand as far as forming one of those with Gregory out?
COACH JULIEN: We’ll figure it out. We need four lines, there’s no doubt there. Again, we managed to get a line that produced for us last night. Now we’ll work on the next one. We’ll get the right combinations here. But, you know, with three overtime periods, one game, another one, four overtime periods, you’re going to have to rely on your four lines. It becomes a lot easier as well when you’re at home.
Q. Claude, throughout your career you have gotten your share of praise, your share of criticism. It seems to roll off your back. Why is that? Must be an ego in there that says, I want to be recognized, or no?
COACH JULIEN: No, I don’t need to be.
COACH JULIEN: Because I don’t care about that part of it. I enjoy my work. If I could come to work every day, do this stuff, then walk out of the rink and nobody knew who I was, I’d be the happiest guy in the world. That’s just the way I am. It’s my personality.
I love my job. I love what I do. I hate coming up here every day (laughter). But, no, it’s just the way I am.
I enjoy the job. I enjoy being around players. I enjoy the whole process of this work. Love my job. Just don’t like the limelight that comes with it. I’m low-profile. That’s just the way I am.
Q. Your team has played so many overtime games, meant so much to the franchise, to the future. It’s so close in the way overtime is played. You kind of tell your guys to be aggressive, to go forward. Can you appreciate overtime for what it is? What makes your team good when one mistake can beat you or one play could end it?
COACH JULIEN: Well, I think the guys really ramp it up in overtime. Like, you know, we don’t let fatigue become an element of our game. If you’ve seen the overtime periods that we played, even with a short bench in Game 1, our guys just pushed and pushed.
Like I said, we had our chances to score as well as they did. But they ended up scoring that goal.
When it’s overtime, if you don’t play on your toes, you don’t go after it, you’ll never win. You may lose, but at least you lose trying.
Sitting back on your heels doesn’t give you a chance at all. So that’s the reality of things. Our guys do a great job. Like I was watching, again, the videotape of the game. We were not only trying to score, but we were working hard the minute the puck got turned over. We were back-checking.
Our back pressure was good last night, has been throughout the playoffs. That’s one of the reasons we were able to beat Pittsburgh, as well, because or back pressure was good.
It’s a commitment to the whole game. I like the way our players are thinking right now. They seem dedicated to doing it.
Q. I think these playoffs have tied for the second most overtimes in history. Any theory as to why it’s happening so often?
COACH JULIEN: I don’t know. I can’t explain it except when you go into overtime that often, it means you’re in every game. When you don’t, it’s because maybe the score’s lopsided.
Q. You’ve been asked a lot about Tyler Seguin throughout the playoffs. Was last night’s game what you’ve been waiting to see from him?
COACH JULIEN: I think he had a slow start obviously in that Toronto series. But his game got better. When you see his compete level, how hard he works to get to the puck, get the puck, hang on to it, stuff like that, it got better.
I said that just a few days ago. Right now the only thing you’re kind of waiting for is the end result. The end result doesn’t always have to be a goal because what he did last night is just as good as a goal, on that pass to Dan Paille.
As long as he continues to play the way he has, I thought last night was an excellent game for him, made some good plays, was there, everywhere around the puck, second effort was there. That’s all you can ask.
He’s only a 21-year-old kid, this is his third year. Sometimes patience doesn’t mean just for one year, patience means a little more than a year.
As long as he’s growing and getting better, I’m going to keep supporting him.
Q. Game 3, what do you expect in that game? How are you going to prevent the slow start like last night?
COACH JULIEN: Well, maybe bring them in an hour earlier. But, you know, again, I don’t think our team has played a bad first period like that in a long time. I don’t expect it to happen again.
We’re back in our building where we have our fans. I think our guys are going to be excited about that.
Nonetheless, we have to have a better start. You learn from past mistakes. That’s a mistake I think our team hopefully has learnt. We’re going to go back and play the same way.
When we get ourselves going and push pucks forward, we finish our checks, we’re willing to win races and battles, that’s when we excel. That part of our game came on stronger as the game went on.
Q. Claude, in terms of young players. Torey Krug, how do you think he responded after Game 1, in Game 2?
COACH JULIEN: Extremely well. He didn’t lose any confidence. Again, you look at last night, he pushed the puck up the middle again, was able to come back, nothing came out of it. But, you know, his game continued to go in the right direction.
I thought he was good at moving pucks. I remember just I think before one of the goals, he kept the puck in. He was being pinched. He squeezed along the wall, made a great play, kept it going in the offensive zone.
So he doesn’t lack confidence. That’s what I want from that young player. Don’t lack confidence. The odd mistake, I know it’s the Cup Finals, but there’s mistakes made in the Cup Finals like anywhere else.
I thought he handled himself well after some of the heat he was taking from the outside for that mistake in Game 1. We talked about it. I wanted him to go out there and play with the same confidence he always has. He answered that.
Q. Some pretty cool stories are emerging from the dressing room about what was said after the first period from you and from a number of guys. Who spoke loudest and who spoke the best?
COACH JULIEN: That’s a good question. That stuff I’m going to keep internally. It’s part of the process. I mean, the players make themselves accountable, I make the players accountable. That’s kind of where I’m leaving it.
Q. Claude, you mentioned in one of your first comments Gregory’s name. Now that you’re back home, presumably you will see him. Are you doing anything in particular to make sure he still feels part of this?
COACH JULIEN: Oh, absolutely. I think had it not been for the surgery that close to the start the Finals, he would have been with us. He’s going to be with us from here on in. You’re going to see him around here.
He wants to be around the team. We want him around the team. He’s part of our family. You’ll get to see him. When we go back to Chicago, it will be the same thing.
Q. In regards to gap control, what kind of adjustments can you make?
COACH JULIEN: I think we did a better job. Like I said, in the first period, in the first game I thought we were a little bit loose. We talked about that. We’re a team that excels if you give them space in the neutral zone. We just got to be on top of them a little quicker. Those adjustments that were made, maybe it didn’t look like that in the first, but as the game went on, it got better.
Q. You don’t hear a lot about Bob Essensa. Can you talk about what he does with Tuukka, what kind of coach he is?
COACH JULIEN: Well, he’s annoying to us coaches. That’s why we don’t have him here all the time. He’s quite a character.
Q. All goalie coaches are.
COACH JULIEN: They’re like goalies, right (laughter)? He’s a funny individual.
Having said that, he has that personality as a coach that he does keep the players loose. He is a funny guy. At the same time he does a real outstanding job with our goaltenders and with dissecting obviously every other teams’ goaltenders when it comes to that stuff. He spends a lot of time doing that.
As far as Tuukka is concerned, his development, what I like about Bob, the most is he can work with any kind of goaltenders. When you look at Tim Thomas, you look at Tuukka Rask, you have two great goaltenders with two different obviously styles.
He doesn’t mold the goaltender into his style, he strengthens that goaltender into his style. That’s where Bob excels. He worked with Tim. Tim is a competitor. Basically Tim, all he wanted to do was stop the puck. He had a style, but a lot of times you saw him, even when he got out of position, he was a great battler. You don’t take that stuff away from him.
If anything, I think Bob’s done a great job working with individuals. When we have both goaltenders on the ice doing drills, he doesn’t change one guy’s style to try to match the other, he just works with that guy individually. That’s what he brings to our team.
He’s been a real good asset. Again, he’s well-liked by everybody. When I say that, players love him, and so do we in the coaching room. But he does get annoying sometimes.