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Claude Julien: 'It was ours to earn'

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  June 16, 2011 01:42 AM

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Claude Julien, joined by his 5 1/2-year-old daughter Katryna on the podium, shared his thoughts on Tim Thomas, his team's resiliency, and his own vindication during his postgame press conference.

Claude, we have to start with who is the special guest of honor?

Julien: "That's my daughter, Katryna. She came all the way
from Boston to watch us win the Stanley Cup."

Claude, you've had a lot of good goalies at your disposal in your coaching career. Can you talk about the performance that Tim Thomas had through these seven games?

Julien: "Yeah, certainly would not think about saying anything negative about the goalies that I've had because I've had some great ones, Marty Brodeur and others. But Tim Thomas in these playoffs just totally dominated. That's the sign of a great goaltender.

"He was on top of his game from start to finish, and especially in this final round. He was outstanding every game. I know everybody expected him to have an average game at some point. Never came. He was in the zone, focused, never let anything rattle him and never questioned his style of play. What's happened to him right now is so deserving and so proud of him and obviously the rest of the team."

Coach, it wasn't too long ago that you were here down 2-0. Talk about the battle back.

Julien: "Again, we talked to the players and we had been down 2-0 to Montreal losing both games at home, so we had been through it and probably in a tougher situation. But at least now we were going back home, and really as you hear coaches say, you need to take a look at the small picture in order to get back in that series. We had to win Game 3 and if we did that, well, I told the guys momentum would take over and other things would take care of themselves. They did.

"You know, we came out Game 4 and played a strong game at home, also. We missed Nathan when he got hurt, you know, guys really felt like they wanted to rally around that situation and be supportive of a guy who came to us from Florida and put everything on the line. And, you know, they wanted to win it for themselves, but even more so for him.

"They really rallied around that situation. I think it was great the way our team just looked at the small picture. Every game, all we talked about was going out there and earning it.

"It wasn't ours to have, it was ours to earn."

Like any coach, you've come under your fair share of criticism throughout the season, perhaps more than others. What type of personal satisfaction do you take in this?

Julien: "You're probably the 20th guy to ask me that question tonight and I'm going tell you exactly what I tell everybody else. As a coach you're going to be subject to criticism, but the most important thing is what's going on inside that dressing room. There wasn't a guy that didn't believe in what we were doing. So it's easy to stay the course, and you got to stay the course. Today you're rewarded for it.

"Had I worried about that other stuff, I probably wouldn't be standing here today."

Coach, getting to be around the team as often as I am, I noticed that you have a paternal aspect to you with some of your younger players and even some of your older players like Michael Ryder. How hard is it to dole out the tough love and know that there is an end result and how do you feel about that now?

Julien: "There wasn't much of an issue about that, because I think the players, when they learn to know you and you understand what you're saying, there is a professional side and a personal side. Just because you have to do things professionally, doesn't mean that personally you don't like the players.

"They know that. Brad Marchand came up to me after Game 5, or I think it was Game 5 or so, and he said to me, you know, I know you're always talking to me about some of the stuff going on, but he says, I want you to know that I appreciate you trying to help me through that.

"And it's almost like a parent trying to help their kids. And at the end, you know, it's called tough love, but you're doing it for the right reasons and I think our players understood that. There was never anything personal. It was about making them better people and better players."

Claude, is it simple enough to say that the turning point in this game was the first goal or was it something else because of the struggles that you had had here?

Julien: "Scoring that first goal has always been important for our hockey club, as you know. And certainly when we scored that first goal, it did give us confidence, absolutely. Because we hadn't scored here that much and now in Game 7, you're playing with the lead. And we're a team that's done a pretty good job of playing with the lead. And that second goal came about. And I know that before we went out for the third period, everybody in there was telling each other that there is no way in the world that we could let up for a second, that we had to play a full 60
minutes.

"That's been our theme for these playoffs is 60-minute effort because they've heard me say it all year. Whenever we haven't won games, I've talked about having one bad period, two bad periods, and whenever we won, we had to put 60 minutes together. That's what the guys had to do tonight and they had to accomplish that."

You talked about putting hockey back on the map and it would be
harder to do that. Now the Bruins can enter into the pantheon of that
recent Boston championships. Have you been able to think about that at
all, that you've been able to fulfill your wish to give back to the fans?

Julien: "I think that's probably what it is. As a coach, you
stand here and you're happy about what you gave people on the outside.
There is good proof here, my family, my wife and daughter and my parents
that came in from Ottawa, my in-laws, and those people growing up had an
impact on your life. You want to do it for those people. You want to do
it for the players that have sacrificed, and their wives and girlfriends
and for the fans in Boston.

"You're paid to do a job and the job is to succeed. And when you
succeed, you've made everybody around you your fans and everybody else
happy.

"That's what I'm doing here is enjoying the moment. I want to see our
players have fun with this and they deserve to enjoy that moment. I'm very
willing to stand back and just watch them, and that will make my day."

Coach, along those lines, is it sometimes more fun to watch it
through their eyes?

Julien: "Absolutely and that's what I've taken from all of this
stuff. I've been through these situations before, and the best way is
always to stand back and watch everybody else enjoy it and enjoy it through
their eyes, as you mentioned."

Coach, can you talk about what it meant to have Nathan Horton
share in this at the end?

Julien: "Well, our players really wanted him out here, and
obviously when you've got a concussion, flying can be sometimes touchy.
But our doctors said he was well enough to make the trip. The guys came to
me this morning and said, we would like Nathan to be in our dressing room
from the get-go and be part of this preparation for the game, and he wanted
to be part of it.

"So a lot of things that happen in our dressing room were from the
players' ideas. We did a couple of things as coaches, but, as we mentioned
before Game 7 against Tampa, some of the guys, Recchi and Thornton brought
their rings in, put pictures up and decorated the room. They took charge.

"They did the same thing again with Nathan. They said we want him
around us. That shows you how united of a group we were and how we cared
for each other."


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