Bruins coach Julien wants to see players avoid vulnerable positions


We’re used to coaches passionately defending their players following controversial hits. Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien didn’t do that after Penguins forward Matt Cooke knocked defenseman Adam McQuaid into the boards from behind.

In fact, before Julien seemed to be more focused on what the victims of such hits can do to avoid being hurt in the future.

“And I’ve said it before, and I’m certainly not going to change my mind because it happened to one of our players, but I’ve always said that we have to educate our players to not put themselves in vulnerable positions,” Julien told the Boston Globe. “And I’m not talking necessarily about last night, I’m talking about those kind of things that are happening and right now.

“Because the rule says you can’t hit somebody from behind. Sometimes we take advantage of that rule, and it’s dangerous.

“And in order to make our game better, I think it’s gotta come from both sides. Players gotta understand that there’s somebody coming and don’t put yourself in vulnerable position. But the player hitting, have to be aware of it. And I’ve been an advocate of that a long time and I still believe in it.”

Julien added that he wasn’t “convinced [Cooke’s hit was] a suspendable thing.”

The question of whether or not McQuaid specifically put himself in a vulnerable position was raised with the blueliner.

“I don’t know why anybody would want to put themselves in a [vulnerable] position, or would want [to get hit from behind],” McQuaid said, according to CSN New England. “If that’s the way people saw it, then they’re entitled to their own opinion.”

Furthermore, McQuaid just wants to put this incident behind him going into Game 2 tonight.

“There’s so many things to focus on and get ready for and we just get ready for the next game and that’s it,” he said.


Playoffs Tonight: Penguins look to even series vs Bruins

Matt Cooke explains his hit on McQuaid

No discipline for Cooke or Bolland after iffy Game 1 hits

Bylsma doesn’t think Cooke deserved major penalty

Playoffs Tonight: Penguins look to even series vs Bruins

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 01: Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins fight towards the end of the second period during Game One of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Consol Energy Center on June 1, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Chicago has taken a 2-0 series lead against the Los Angeles Kings. Will the Bruins be able to do the same tonight?

Pittsburgh Penguins host Boston Bruins (8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra)
Boston leads 1-0

Going into the Eastern Conference finals, the Pittsburgh Penguins hadn’t been shutout in the 2013 playoffs. They hadn’t even been held to less than three goals on more than one occasion. For at least one night though, the Boston Bruins were able to neutralize all of Pittsburgh’s offensive weapons.

With the Penguins unable to score, things got heated in the second period. Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke was ejected from the game for slamming Boston’s Adam McQuaid into the boards from behind, although it was decided that his actions weren’t worthy of a suspension, so he’ll be back tonight.

That period ended chaotically with Evgeni Malkin and Patrice Bergeron dropping the gloves and Sidney Crosby losing his cool.

Afterwards, Crosby blamed the referees for what transpired.

“They’re letting a lot go out there, and the more it gets like that, the more it’s going to escalate,” Crosby said. “You can only control and channel that stuff so much. You keep letting guys do that stuff, you’re just going to push the envelope. That’s something we obviously want to stay away from, but it’s kind of a natural thing when it gets like that.”

Regardless, the result is that for the first time in the 2013 playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins are trailing in a series.

“It’s one game,” Penguins defenseman Douglas Murray told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “If it keeps going, I think you could [label it] a trend. But you have to play right on the edge.

“You have to be competitive out there and play hard, and sometimes it goes overboard. It did a little bit [in Game 1]. We’ll learn from it, and move on.”

Pittsburgh’s Brandon Sutter added that the third line can’t be satisfied with just playing defense, according to the McKeesport Daily News. If the Bruins continue to do an effective job of stopping the Crosby and Malkin lines, then Sutter’s line needs to step up.

Boston has already taken the Penguins’ home ice advantage. If they beat them again then the pressure will be on Pittsburgh just to survive heading into Boston.

Bruins coach fears run-and-gun games vs. Pens


After avoiding questions about controversial hits, Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien gave the talk about all the rough stuff in Game 1 a big whatever, pointing to it merely being playoff hockey.* The pace of the play wasn’t to his liking, though.

While Boston survived runs of end-to-end hockey, Julien indicated that he wants his team to stick with its traditional, tighter defensive style.

“We got caught into a run-and-gun type of game.  I think we all know we’re not a team that does well in those run-and-gun games,” Julien said. ” … Luckily, whatever little mistakes we made, Tukka was up to the task.”

There’s no doubt that the Bruins coach would prefer to take it slow, but Boston has shown an ability to light up the scoreboard on occasion. They scored a respectable 131 goals this season, memorably scored 20 goals in four games against the Philadelphia Flyers in a pretty wide-open 2011 playoff series and possess this postseason’s leading scorer in David Krejci.

Still, Julien would prefer this series to be a grinding, defensive struggle. Looking at the talent at the other end, it’s easy to see why.

* – Go ahead, imagine Julien doing the hand signal. It’s a fun mental image.

Discuss: Bruins shut out, frustrate Pens


Well, that wasn’t pretty … unless you’re Tuukka Rask and his agent, that is.

The Boston Bruins beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 in a game that was skin-tight for two periods before things spiraled out of control in the third period. Boston took a 1-0 series lead in Pittsburgh’s building on Saturday.

  • The Penguins have had moments when they lose their cool, with a few meltdowns in their last series against the Philadelphia Flyers being a prominent example. Does head coach Dan Bylsma need to rein everyone in more often? Is it on Sidney Crosby instead? Or is it, dare we ask, a good thing for them to blow off steam?
  • Rask got the shutout in Game 1. In related news, he’s a free agent. How much is he worth to Boston?
  • Speaking of Bruins free agents, Nathan Horton had a goal and two assists. If he leaves Boston, which team would be wisest to snatch the power forward up?
  • Is Mike Milbury right in doubting Tomas Vokoun or does he deserve a longer leash with Marc-Andre Fleury waiting in the wings?
  • David Krejci improved his league-leading playoff points total to 19 tonight. Does he deserve more consideration as an elite player?
  • This game was wide open at times, yet it didn’t necessarily benefit Pittsburgh – at least on the scoreboard. What kind of adjustments do the Penguins need to make? Is it just a matter of getting a few more bounces?
  • Are people underestimating the Bruins once more? Who takes this series in the long run?

Bruins put Chara, Seidenberg together vs. Pens


The Boston Bruins face a well-documented yet befuddling problem that any team must answer when battling a healthy Pittsburgh Penguins team: how do you shut down one line featuring Sidney Crosby and another with Evgeni Malkin?

While matchups can change multiple times in the series, reports that the current plan is to deploy the Bruins’ top defensive pairing (Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg) against the Malkin – James Neal – Jarome Iginla trio while they use their best two-way forward (Patrice Bergeron) against his pal Crosby.

The B’s have their own one-two punch of dangerous scoring lines with Bergeron helming one and playoff scoring leader David Krejci running the other, so Pittsburgh has its own problems to solve.

It could all make for a fascinating series. Game 1 kicks off on NBC at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday.