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Label works for him

Julien is standing by ‘blue-collar’ identity

By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / June 10, 2011

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — It wasn’t the first time the Bruins have been called “blue collar.’’ It goes with the territory in Boston.

But it’s notable, perhaps, because the team the Bruins are playing is considered faster, more skilled, and more talented. That might ultimately matter. Or it might not.

“I think because you say you’re ‘blue collar’ doesn’t mean you don’t have any skill or talent as well,’’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien yesterday, the day after he made the initial comment about his club. “It’s a group that comes in and works hard every day, really grinds it out.

“Our team is pretty happy with that, if that’s what we’re labeled.

“At the same time, I think the fans in Boston like that kind of a team. They’ve had those kind of teams in the past that have had success.

“That’s what Boston is all about. I think it seems to please everybody in that area, including ourselves. We like the way we have to go out there and play every night, and we take pride in it.’’

And for the past two games, it has worked. The Bruins have been able to win with the Vancouver skill players looking out of sorts, not taking enough shots, and not creating enough offense. Plus, there’s the goaltending.

Overall, it has been a very physical series. And the question was put to Julien whether that physicality has been more detrimental to the skilled Canucks than to the lunch-pail Bruins.

“I don’t know if that’s the case,’’ Julien said. “But I think our point is to finish our checks. I think it’s part of what we want to do in this series, slow down a team that’s extremely skilled.

“They’re a highly skilled team. We’re probably more of a physical team that has to bring that game. We’re built a little differently. It’s about bringing your game to the table.’’

There’s no question the Bruins have been able to do that. The question is whether they can continue to do it in Vancouver, and whether the Canucks can recover and adjust.

Julien made reference to the fact that critics have said the Bruins are less talented. He also said he can live with that — as long as his charges continue to believe in the way they play.

“We just would like to keep it simple and work hard,’’ said Brad Marchand. “We don’t have the most skilled team in the world, we know that. We just try and keep it simple.

“Obviously we’re from a blue-collar town and we’ve got a lot of blue-collar players on our team. We just like to work hard.’’

Luongo to start Game 5 Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said Roberto Luongo will start Game 5. “You can bet on that,’’ Vigneault told ESPN.com . . . Perhaps the moment the Stanley Cup Final turned was after Game 2, after Tim Thomas allowed a goal just 11 seconds into overtime. Since then, the Bruins goaltender has been incredible. “It took a couple minutes in here,’’ Thomas said. “That stone pillar there looked pretty appealing for a punch for a little while. It doesn’t happen instantaneously. It took me a few minutes.’’ . . . Asked if he felt the Bruins have control of the series, Patrice Bergeron did not hesitate in replying. “No,’’ he said, “we haven’t accomplished anything yet.’’ . . . Julien did not want to address Marchand’s hand-wiping gesture toward the end of Game 4. “I think we’re really looking for things now, aren’t we?’’ he said. “Next.’’

Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.

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