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Claude Julien ..”I don’t think we’re the elite team that the Washington Captials are now…”

Claude Julien ..”I don’t think we’re the elite team that the Washington Captials are now…”

JULIEN PREGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

Julien speaks his mind about his team, competing and injuries
Boston-Bruins-LogoOn how much a team win tonight would give a boost to the team…
Well I think it’s important for us to think that we need to win a hockey game here and nothing changes from before- the standings, the games in hand…you have to win. And again especially the way that last game ended we certainly needed a better performance from our team.

On facing Braden Holtby in 2012…
I don’t think I…actually I don’t think he was, from my recollection, I don’t think he was a big topic. You know we had to score some goals there’s no doubt, but for us it was about winning the series. I still remember that game seven overtime goal. It probably, in hindsight, would’ve been called back that I remember. But other than that you know it was a close series. They were still a good team back then too- they had some good players. So that’s about all. You know that was four years ago for me or close to four years ago so when I talk about we need to move on that’s what we’re talking about here. Not just about…

On a young goaltender developing and the success that he’s had…
Well you know he was a young goaltender to have a lot to gain and nothing to lose. And to have seen those situations before, you can even go back to Ken Dryden if you want but you probably wouldn’t know anything about that. [Smiles]. Yeah so, he came out of college and did a great job. Those guys have nothing to lose but more importantly than that I think you have to give him credit for… it wasn’t just a fluke it was the start of him being a great goaltender. And he is, I mean he’s done well for them. What’s impressive too is his endurance- the number of games he’s played and plays and how well he does. So I give him a lot of credit. From what I can see from the outside he looks like a very focused individual and he seems like a very determined athlete. So you have to give those guys, you know, not be afraid to give those guys even- if they’re not on your team- a lot of credit because I think he’s a guy you have to admire for how he’s handled himself.

On not having a lot of centers recently and how Joonas Kemppainen coming back will help them…
Well it hurts. I think it’s been obvious in the faceoffs and how we’ve lost faceoffs, you know, in our end especially and losing them clean and then other teams get possession of the puck a lot more than we’re used to. And you know when you don’t win them you have to chase that puck. When you win it you start with it. People don’t realize sometimes how important that is. And for our team not to have those centermen winning draws I guess closer to 55 percent or more a game is huge. We miss that. And it’s been a huge part of our game; it’s been a strong suit for a long, long time. So there’s no doubt that hurts our game.

On if Joonas Kemppainen is definitely back in tonight…
I’m still not 100 percent, but there’s a good possibility he will be.

On facing adversity and what his team does well to bounce back…
Well I think even if we have a lot of guys that are young, I think as a group our determination has been pretty good over the course of the season so far in wanting to, you know, turn things around and bounce back. And I know we’ve gone through a couple of slumps that probably lasted longer than we would’ve liked to but, you know again, the resilience of our group is there and we keep trying to grow this team and get better. I don’t think we’re the elite team that the Washington Capitals are, by no means, but it doesn’t mean you can’t play and you can’t beat a team like that. It just means, you know, throughout the whole year they’ve got the experience, they’ve got the depth. I think they’re solid in almost all positions. We were that team at one point. We’re not there now; we’re trying to build ourselves towards that.

On Frank Vatrano playing wing and what he thinks will happen when David Pastrnak returns…
Well I think we didn’t expect him to be here either for that long. I didn’t say we didn’t think he wouldn’t play a few games but I think the fact that he had a good start to the season in Providence and the fact that we ran into injuries kind of forced us to bring him up. And he’s done a decent job, you know. You’re going to see those young players every once in a while hit a dip just like everybody else, especially in their first year. So you know he’s given us some big goals; he’s given us some big games. And for him I think the biggest thing is I find he’s probably well ahead of schedule from what we all predicted. So that’s a feather in his cap- he deserves the credit for that.

On what he would like to see from David Pastrnak when he returns…
Well I’m not going to talk about [David] Pastrnak until he gets here. And when he gets here maybe I’ll tell you what I need from him. But right now I’m going to focus on what I have and not worry about what may or may not happen down the road.

On what he thinks of Alexander Ovechkin and how he’s been able to play well for so long…
Well I think Ovi [Alexander Ovechkin] in my mind has always been a great player, and he still is a great player. What I see, again from the outside, is how he’s really, really bought into the team concept where he’s been a real good leader, he’s doing things we maybe didn’t see him do earlier in his career. And you know I think Barry [Trotz] has done a great job of grabbing all of those guys and turning them into a real team and it shows. And I think that’s why, to me, I probably label them as probably one of the best if not the best team in the league right now.

On Jarome Iginla scoring his 600th goal last night…
I’m happy for Jarome because, you know, even if he was only here for a year he’s a great person and he’s been a great player in this league. And you know he deserves that recognition. He deserves to be able to reach those kinds of things. He’s a team guy, he’s a warrior, and you know there are a lot of good things to say about Jarome. And it’s unfortunate at that time we weren’t able to keep him around, but he was a good fit here and I think he enjoyed it here as well. But the situation of the cap and everything else has made this league that you lose players that you would love to keep but can’t. So I’m happy for him on a personal note. He’s deserving of it and I can’t say anything more than just being proud of him.

 

 

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