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BRUINS NOTEBOOK VS DALLAS

BRUINS NOTEBOOK VS DALLAS

B's take on Stars tonight

 

BY KEVIN HARRIMAN

Boston Sports Desk Publisher

Thursday, February 3
A pair of first place teams go at each other tonight at TD Garden when the Dallas Stars invade Causeway Street. Both the Bruins and Stars come into the game with 65 points and each find themselves in the third spot in their respective conferences for the playoffs.
BOSTON BRUINS HEAD COACH CLAUDE JULIEN PREGAME PRESS BRIEFING AT 11:40 AM
On Blake Wheeler moving from wing to center last game…
Yeah it was alright. I mean the only reason it got broken down is because we cut our bench down a little bit. But I’m not disappointed in Blake [Wheeler] there. And he’s obviously still there because we still feel he can… he’s capable of doing the job.

On Daniel Paille on the fourth line…
No and I think we mentioned it at one point that it seems that everybody we put on that line has complimented those two players very well. We talked about [Brad] Marchand, at one point it was Dan Paille, there was even Blake Wheeler, guys that [are] high energy, lots of speed, and it really helped our forecheck a lot. And I think it was nice to see Dan [Paille] score, but it was also nice to see that line produce because that’s the one thing that we liked about that line as well is they really gave us a lot of energy but at the same time they were rewarded with some goals. Thorny’s [Shawn Thornton] got seven goals already. It was producing, and with Dan [Paille] there, and he had that breakaway and hit the post and then scored by doing a great job in front of the net. Now that line’s giving you a little bit of offensive production as well.

On Daniel Paille playing physical…
Yeah, cause he’s capable of that. I think when Danny’s [Daniel Paille] at the top of his game, he’s a great skater, he’s a great forechecker, he can be a physical player, finishes his checks. And last year a lot of times when he played that way he created some chances whether it was for himself or for his line. So he’s certainly capable of that, and maybe as we move on here and he plays a little more he’s going to get better in that area.

On how Marc Savard being back in Boston will affect the team…
Well I think, Savvy’s [Marc Savard] due in today. And basically he’s due in today, but I don’t think we’re going to get an answer today. I think people are all waiting for an answer here. He still has to see the medical staff. That doesn’t mean that the decision will be made tomorrow or the day after so it’s something that I know I’ve been asked everyday about Savvy and I respect that because that’s part of your job but I wont be able to have an update for you guys everyday. I think that’s going to be up to the organization here. When they do have some information, they’ll be able to share that with you. Right now I now he’s on his way back, and from there on in, it’s kind of out of my hands. It’s our doctors and our medical people and trainers that are going to be dealing with him. With concussions, as you know, it could be a matter of saying, well we’re going to give it another week and see how you feel, or we don’t know when that answer is going to come so that’s where we’re at right now with Savvy. So how is that going to impact the team? I think we’ll only be able to find that out when we do have that answer that everybody’s looking for.

On improvements from Adam McQuaid since last year…
Number one, it’s experience, the other one is confidence, and both of those things go hand in hand. We knew what we had. It’s like Marchand. He was kind of an extra player last year. We knew what kind of player he was, but you got to give those guys some time to evolve and get some experience. And you give it to them a little bit at a time and I think that’s where Adam [McQuaid] last year came in and we could see the potential. Again, he was probably…every time he played, he played okay, but he was playing really safe. And with time and confidence, you extend yourself a little bit more. And he’s obviously moving the puck, he’s up on the…up the ice on the plays, he’s using his shot. There’s a lot of things that have evolved with him. So I think that’s basically it. There’s nothing that has changed from Adam except he’s getting better with time.

On balancing the workload between Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask
I think that’s the bottom line is you have to, allow him [Thomas] to get some rest and I think we have a good goaltender in Tuukka [Rask] and we know his statistics are good, the only negative thing is the win-loss column right now.  And I have a feeling that’s going to turn around, Tuukka’s a good goaltender and we have to use him and he has to give us some games and he got to give us some wins and he’s got to give us the performance we know he’s capable of. You know we’re going to, when I say like with it, we’re going to live with the situation where we have two good goaltenders and maybe we have to start using Tuukka a little bit more and make sure Timmy [Tim Thomas] gets his rest.  That doesn’t mean the wins won’t come because Tuukka is a good enough goaltender it should allow us to win games.  Unfortunately in a lot of games Tuukka has played we haven’t scored as much as some of the games Timmy’s been in. and this is something, whether it’s by coincidence, and you hope it is, will change.

On if he feels Tim Thomas is the best goaltender in the league…
I’m going to back that up one hundred percent.  The way he’s played for us definitely a great goaltender and the thing with Timmy [Tim Thomas] that helps this hockey club is we play well in front of him, but when we do break down he’s there to keep us in the game at those key times.  And that’s what’s important for our team.  And again we may give up a certain amount of shots, at the end of the night we say ‘how many scoring chances did we give up?’ And some of those scoring chances we may not give up a ton but they’re real good scoring chances and Timmy comes up big.  And that’s what makes a difference and that’s why Timmy’s a good goaltender.

On if deciding who of the defensemen will sit out is a game time decision…
Not really.  I think I’m going to stand here and tell you we’re going to go with the same D’s.  I’m not going to mix anything up right now.  It is what it is and we keep talking about that almost everyday as well, is that we’ve got a guy in Stuey [Mark Stuart] that so far has had a great attitude towards not disrupting the team and understanding how tough it is to play.  But at the same time our six D’s are doing a great job so you don’t punish other guys for that kind of stuff.  But things always work out and Stuey knows that and has been a real, I guess helpful player in regards to that, at not disrupting the team and he’s still working hard and when he gets his chance he’ll be ready.

On what he likes best about the way the team has been playing the last 15-20 games…
Yeah I think the compete level is there.  Guys are, the intention of coming out and playing well every night is getting better and that runs into consistency now.  Do we still have breakdowns? Absolutely. I think we still need to work on our game, make sure that the consistency is more about minimizing the mistakes, having consistency in your play.  There’s times where we’ll start a game and we’re getting pucks in deep and playing in the other team’s end and then the next period we turn pucks over in the neutral zone a lot more.  And we need to get a little more consistent in that area that we maintain the flow of our game and maintain the game plan from start to finish.  And sometimes that’s still slipping a little bit and that takes away from your consistency but it’s gotten better.

On the defensemen playing a more offensive role…
No, I think what they’re telling you is what we’ve been telling them from day one.  They’re probably getting more and more comfortable at doing it.  Every practice we’ve had so far this year we always have drills where the defensemen is involved, whether it’s a two on one with the defenseman making it a three on one, we’re really trying to get that in their heads as far as supporting the attack.  And as you move on through the year it becomes, probably more and more comfortable and more and more of a second nature thing and they’re getting better at it.

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