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Notes from Bruins media day

Notes from Bruins media day

bsd logo 1On how he has seen the transition go from the offseason until now…
Mr. Jacobs: A number of new players have been brought in, so to that end, it’s a major change. On the other hand, there’s so much stability under there, within the coaching staff and the operations, I don’t think there’s significant change in that sense. But I think you have a lot of confidence in Donnie’s [Don Sweeney] leadership – he’s been here 10 years, and before that, he spent his whole career with us, pretty much, so there’s a lot of stability.

On if he made more cuts today…
Don Sweeney: Yeah, we did. We made a couple other transactions before practice and we’ll also make a couple. We have not spoken to a couple of the players, right here after practice, so yeah, we’ve cut down the roster significantly again today.

chara-seidenbergOn if he knows when he’ll have a decision on the backup goaltender…
Don Sweeney: Well, we’re going to go through the rest of the other game tomorrow and we’re going to sit down as a group. Bob Essensa’s been working hard, in terms of analyzing from his side of it, as well as we are as a staff. I’m sure Claude [Julien] will weigh in on where he fits, where we think it fits in and it’s been a heckuva competition throughout camp. Our young players have played particularly well. Obviously, Gus [Jonas Gustavsson] was thrown a curveball with his first child being born to he and his wife and went off for a couple days, came back, was able to play last night, so we have a big decision to make, but we feel confident in being able to make that moving forward.

On the emerging young defensive corps and Zdeno Chara being a leader for them…
CLAUDE JULIEN: Well I think there’s no doubt that Zee’s [Zdeno Chara] experience comes in handy when it comes to the young players and I think we’ve all been — in our careers — in that position to have some young players around us and have been able to share our knowledge and our experiences. Throughout the years, it has helped us become better. That’s where Zee [Zdeno Chara] is extremely good in that role. He’s been like that for many, many years, so obviously might be in a situation where he’s been more of that role — for example, this year — but at the same time, I think we’ve got some exciting guys back there that’s going to help make our team better and grow in the right direction, so I see a lot of positives in that area. But you know, Zee [Zdeno Chara] is asked to do his job and do it well. We don’t want him to do more than he has to. Like I said, sharing your experience is something that we’ve all done and something that comes easy to him.

On his outlook on the kind of start to the season the team needs, versus what they would like to do philosophically with integrating young players into the lineup…
Well, that’s a good question because we’ve tracked in the past and by Thanksgiving, if you’re in the playoff picture, generally by the end of the year, you’re still going to be in the playoff picture. But you mentioned, this year we have a lot of younger players that I think well develop over the course of the year and develop over the course of the year and I think the coaching staff’s going to do a really good job in helping these players develop and I think we’ll see the team improve over the course of the season. But having said that, we still have enough players that have been around the game long enough and are good NHL players — really good NHL players that I think can help bring those guys along at a quicker pace and I feel like we can have a strong start because of that.

On what he saw or didn’t see from Alexander Khokhlachev during camp, and what he thinks about his comments that he doesn’t feel like he’s gotten a real chance…
DON SWEENEY: Well, all players are entitled to their opinion. I feel that Alexander has a tremendous upside skill-wise. He still has a lot to learn away from the puck. He needs to go through these experience. He’s only 22 years old, so I look at the big picture for all of our young players. They’ll determine when they’re ready to play and when they can help us at the National Hockey League level. I do believe he’s a player that can step in and whether he can play up and down the lineup sort of remains to be seen, but we want him to continue to work hard to fill in those gaps, be it face-offs — there are small details of the game that show up on the score sheet each night and you can look at the analytics side of things — those things can add up and the amount of time you play in your own end is the result of losing draws at times, it’s taxing on other players. There’s little areas of the game that every young player needs to go through and experience and come out the other side of it better. He wants to advocate for himself, so I don’t blame him for that, so that’s what I didn’t feel we needed to comment publicly on it.

On 3-on-3 overtime…
Don Sweeney: Well I think it’s an exciting part of the game. Obviously I saw the impact last year that it made at the AHL level, where the vast majority of games — 75 percent I think — were completed in overtime, rather than going to the shootout. The shootout will be there if it’s needed. I think the players are excited about it. You know, Claude’s [Julien] spent a lot of time in practice preparing the players to be put in those situations and I would assume the rest of the coaches around the league are trying to do it in similar fashion. But the players themselves have been excited about the change and adapting to sort of seeing — hey, you realize if you have a chance at one end, if you miss, the goalie doesn’t have some Velcro on it and chances are it’s an outnumbered chance going the other way, so I think it’s exciting for the game. It’s part of the game. It exists in a traditional part of the game, as far as when you go to 3-on-3, and the nuances we were talking about last night on the plane if you know, when the guy comes out of the box you’re in 4-on-4 and it changes for us all of us. But I think it’s exciting for the league going forward.
Cam Neely: Yeah, I agree, I’ve never really been a fan of the shootout so anything you can do to get rid of shootouts is fine by me. To Donnie’s [Don Sweeney] point, I like that Claude [Julien] had tried a few different things, whether it was three forwards or two forwards and a D and you know, I think it’s important for us to try those things, but yeah, the line changes are going to be important and making sure you hit the net because we’ve seen play go the other way and the game ends pretty quick.

On Dennis Seidenberg’s injury and Zdeno Chara’s day-to-day injury, and if there are players now that they can identify that are ready to take on bigger minutes…
Claude Julien: First of all, I don’t know if it’s because those two guys are injured. But I don’t think it has anything to do with their age. It’s just injuries that happen and unfortunately it happened to two of our veteran players back there. But I don’t agree with age. These guys are probably two of the guys who are in the best shape of our hockey club, so I think it’s a coincidence first of all, but second of all, I think there’s a lot of guys who have been around now for a long time and it definitely takes more minutes, there’s no doubt about that and we all know that transition comes along the way and some players grow in their roles and become better players, so they’re entitled to have more ice time. It has to come off someday, and most of the time it comes off people who have a lot of ice time, so I don’t see that as an issue — I see that as an asset. I still know that those guys can still play big minutes. If other guys can take some minutes away it means that you have a better balance and guys that are fresher down the road.
Don Sweeney: I mean I’ll follow up with the fact that I think that we used this training camp experience without those two players to our advantage to spread the wealth around, to spread some minutes around. You’ve got several players that acquitted themselves well. We played all our younger players up and down, we haven’t just been relying on our returnees. So that’s part of the transition that Claude [Julien] spoke about. We’re moving forward with some of these guys that we believe will step up. Guys that gain experience throughout the league night in a night out and it’s a growing process and we’re committed to allowing these guys to find their way, so to speak, within the framework. We haven’t changed the identity, as to how we’re going to defend. I think we’ve done a good job throughout training camp up and down our lineup and that’s a testament to the coaches and the way they’re going to approach the game and our players as the buy in.

On if he’s happy with Training Camp and if he sees progress…
Cam Neely: Yeah, I have seen progress and I think it speaks to our roster this year and players looking at pushing for jobs, and especially on the back end. And even the forward group we had some kids come in and probably, we had them stay longer because of the way they were pushing for jobs. And I think it’s important for us to continue to have those players throughout the organization that are going to push for jobs. And it makes the player feel safe, maybe a little less safe, which is always a good thing. And you know, I think competition is key, it really is. And you know, you never like seeing anybody het complacent and you know if you have competition coming from below it’s hard to get complacent.

 

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