Boston Bruins: Claude Julien Unhappy With Team’s Focus

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins have not started the season the way their fans would have liked. The Bruins are currently 7-7-1, good for 11th place in the Eastern Conference, and four points out of a wildcard spot with a game in hand on New Jersey and two games in hand on the New York Islanders. The real struggle for the Bruins has come at home where the Bruins are currently an abysmal 1-5-1 after losing to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday 3-2 after quickly going up 2-0 in the first period. While the majority of the issues are clear, like defense, goaltending, and faceoff wins not being up to par, but the most puzzling issue is the team’s consistency. “It’s not acceptable..what’s going on right now,” Claude Julien said. “We have to take, I guess, the responsibility of it that goes along with it. We have to be better. Ten minutes of good hockey is not enough to win in this league. We’re getting good starts, but we’re not sustaining that part of our game through the whole 60 minutes. We can talk about a bunch of different things but it all boils down to that.”

A season that has been boasting superb offense and power play numbers for the Bruins has also seen the worst penalty kill and goaltending statistics the team is seen in years. Tuukka Rask simply cannot catch a break and the Bruins need to rectify the situation sooner, rather than later. Tuukka Rask currently holds four wins on the season, and has a goals against average of 3.21 — not exactly numbers a $7,000,000 per year and former Vezina trophy winning goaltender should be boasting.

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While the Bruins are currently third in the league in goals-for per game with 3.27 (only behind the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens who are both tied for first with 3.65 goals-for per game) they are 28th in the league in the league in goals-against per game with 3.20. The Bruins are simply burying themselves in games by allowing essentially the exact same amount of goals against per game as they score per game. The Bruins power play and penalty kill percentages reinforce the fact that the team is being more counter intuitive than anything this season. With a league-leading 34% on the power play, the Bruins should be experiencing much more success, or at least they would if their penalty killing wasn’t sitting at a lowly 71.9%, good for last in the league.

Claude Julien knows he’s on a short leash with the Bruins after general manager Don Sweeney was hired and immediately began making changes to the team. While it’s unfair to blame Claude Julien for the disaster of a season that is currently unfolding, someone will have to take the brunt of the blame and that is usually the bench-boss. Claude Julien is a tremendous coach who knows the game inside and out; hopefully he can right the ship of the Bruins team before they sink to the bottom of the league and miss the playoffs once again.

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  • “It’s a 60-minute effort, trying to sustain your game plan – that’s what’s not happening now. We have to really focus on that (and) look at that as probably the biggest thing we have to correct.” Julien also mentioned that the issues don’t fall on one player’s shoulder. “Everybody has to get a little better,” he said. “When we talk about sustaining our game plan, it’s about the focus, it’s about the decision-making, it’s also about puck management. When you’re losing, it’s not just about young guys – it’s about everybody. Those veteran defenseman are part of that, as well.” One of the most important things that Claude Julien has always preached to his team is accountability, and it’s good to see that he isn’t blaming any particular player for the season so far.

    Julien mentioned that the issue with the team isn’t so much the players, but the focus and mentality that those players are currently playing with. “It is mental, no doubt about it. When you can’t sustain your game it’s always more mental than anything else. It’s the focus. It’s doing the right things from start to finish. You’ve got to stay focused on your game plan, on your system. When you look at our run game, when it deteriorates, we’ve just lost our focus. We’re doing uncharacteristic things that we know we shouldn’t be doing.”

    The Bruins will look to right the ship against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday for the second game of their five-game homestand.

    Follow Brandon Share-Cohen on Twitter @BShareCohen to discuss all things Bruins and sports

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