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CLAUDE JULIEN ..” I’m not worried about the future, I’m worried about the present.”

CLAUDE JULIEN ..” I’m not worried about the future, I’m worried about the present.”

HEAD COACH CLAUDE JULIEN PREGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

On the team changing their approach to bigger games at the end of the season…
Not really. I think our guys know that we can’t change our approach to any games. They all mean a lot. They’re all must wins in our minds and we got to keep approaching it that way.

claudeOn the team giving up few goals recently and your analysis of the defensive system…
Yeah it is and that’s what we discussed here when we went through that little stretch of losing games. We were giving up too many goals. We’ve always been a team that, when we protect our end well, usually good things follow. We’re a team right now, we don’t have any 50-goal scorers. So it’s not about, necessarily, just playing defense, it’s about understanding what we have. We’ve got a lot of guys that can score but not at the rate of 50 goals so we have to make sure we keep our goals against down. Normally when we do that, we win hockey games.

On changing the lineups so much this season prepare you for line shuffling in the playoffs…
Maybe a little bit with injuries and guys moving around. There’s no doubt that gives you a better feel of who plays better with who and that kind of stuff. Doesn’t mean that you don’t have to still juggle lines as I did last game, but no doubt. We’re a team this year that’s had more fluctuation in our line combinations than ever.

On line fluctuation going into the playoffs…
I think it’s a good thing. It’s not a bad thing at all. You’re going to go with the best combinations that you have at that time and if it doesn’t work you’ll find some other ones. But, you know, at least you can move guys around and guys have had success with different players so I don’t think it’s a bad situation. I’m comfortable with that.

On Reilly Smith playing with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson …
I think those three have played well together. I know Smitty [Reilly Smith] at times has been on the right side, other times he’s been on the left side. But those three to me—and that’s why I put them back together last game. You can see with Krech [David Krejci] in the middle, it didn’t seem to be much chemistry as far as reading off eh other. So it was important for me to get Smitty back with those guys. David doesn’t mind playing the wing with Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] and Marchy [Brad Marchand]. He’s very comfortable there. He says he’s feeling better at that position and we know he’s a good centerman as well. You deal with the situation the way it needs to be dealt at the time. He’s been there and to me he’s producing, no producing, he’s making plays, his hands are still there. Him and Bergy seem to read off each other well as far as interchanging. That’s been kind of a little blessing in disguise that that’s been the case.

On Soderberg having more responsibility at center with Smith there as opposed to Kelly…
I think our guys, even Loui [Eriksson], our first guy in has to be the low guy. It’s been like that all year. I don’t think It really matters except, I think, in everybody’s mind you feel more comfortable when it’s one centerman and another centerman down low so guys that have been used to playing that position but we’ve had other lines in the past like Bergy’s [Patrice Bergeron] line where you have [Brad] Marchand and [Reilly] Smith on that line and somebody has to play low at times. We’re comfortable. That’s part of our system of how we defend.

On Krejci playing the wing because of line shuffling or him not being ready for center yet…
I would say Joe [Haggerty] it’s about finding the best combinations right now to win hockey games. I’m not worried about the future, I’m worried about the present. The present is what’s important right now and we got to continue to win hockey games here and get ourselves into a playoff spot. I don’t think we should be sitting here taking anything for granted and start planning for the future because to me it would be a big mistake.

On being a challenge to find those combinations…
Well as I said, my mind is not on the post season, it’s really on now. You got to win hockey games and take care of business and those sort of things sort themselves out. We’re capable of making those adjustments. I don’t think anything we do now is going to hurt us in the future, I think if anything it’s going to help us. I have no issues with those kind of things and you got to focus. To me, we got to focus on tonight and that’s what I’m worried about, how do we have the best players together for tonight’s game and win hockey games? It’s not about, should I put this guy because I want to see how they’ll do in the playoffs. We’re not there yet. And again I’m asking players not to look any further than tonight’s game. I got to do the same thing.

On David Pastrnak playing with Chris Kelly and Greg Campbell…
Well, you know, those are all assumptions guys. If, if, if, if [David] Krejci goes back to center, I think what you say this morning is just a mix and match. They were with different lines.

On starting the season with injuries and now having a full lineup of forwards…
It makes it harder, but it makes it better because now I have decisions to make and when you have decisions to make and you have tough ones it creates accountability amongst players. If you want to be in the lineup or whatever the case is, there’s a lot more accountability and that’s one of the things, a few things that the coaches have left to manage their team is having those extra players and good players. Having good players have to sit out for different reasons and sometimes it’s just rotation, sometimes it’s poor play, but no matter what, to me I’d rather be in this position right now than be in the position I was a month ago. This is what I have.

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