Julien rips team’s effort
NEW YORK - The NHL season half over, coach Claude Julien sounded like a man who views his team’s effort as only half full - and even less satisfying. Last season’s Jack Adams Award winner as the NHL’s coach of the year sounded fed up.
“We can’t think we are going to win hockey games playing the way we are,’’ Julien said after last night’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in which the Bruins performed listlessly for more than two periods. “We are just showing up for a period, half a period, whatever, and get ourselves back in the game, get excited. We didn’t even deserve a point tonight. We didn’t get it. We didn’t deserve it.’’
The Rangers outshot the Bruins, 35-28, and they never trailed, connecting for goals in the first and second periods before the Bruins finally showed some spunk and tied it, 2-2, with two late goals in the third.
“We talk about a 60-minute effort, and we’re not getting it out of this dressing room so far and some guys have to pick up their game,’’ Julien said. “We’re leaning a lot on guys who come in and grind it out and they are the ones who win the battles and make things happen. So, it’s the same old story.’’
In other words, grinders such as Steve Begin, Shawn Thornton, and Byron Bitz do their jobs. But the high-priced, more skilled talent, such as Marc Savard, Marco Sturm, and Michael Ryder too often don’t have an impact on the game.
Julien wants the alleged leaders in the room to do some leading.
“Right now you have to coach, you have to be a cheerleader, you’ve got to wake ’em up . . . you’ve got to do too many things that a coach shouldn’t have to do at this level,’’ he said. “These are professionals and they have to take ownership of their room at some point.’’
It clearly was the most irked Julien has been all season.
“October, November, we weren’t playing well at all . . . at all,’’ he said. “We are showing spurts, but we are just not grabbing it right now. We go in, win a couple of games, get comfortable very easily. And then we are back to some of those bad habits. We get a wakeup call again. We should be able to bounce back. I suspect our team will bounce back [tonight] That’s what it’s done all year. We aren’t able to get any momentum, or get on any kind of a streak. Because we can’t sustain it.’’
“Generally speaking, you are not going to get the perfect player in the free agent market at this time of year,’’ said general manager Peter Chiarelli. “He has been more of a one-dimensional player over the course of his career, but we watched all his playoff games, and he was above average on the defensive side of the puck. Those playoffs are at a high tempo, high intensity, and we really looked at that.
“We aren’t getting him for his defensive capabilities. We’re getting him for his offensive capabilities. And he is highly motivated because I know he wants to play in the league next year. And I’ll tell you what, he has been a world-class player his whole career and took a significant, significant paycut to join our team.’’