SCFG6: Claude Julien Post-Game
Q. Claude, you've been around the game for a long time, seen a lot
of things. Is that the craziest thing you've ever seen in a short amount
of time and among the toughest?
COACH JULIEN: Well, probably toughest for sure, when you know you're
a little bit over a minute left and you feel that you've got a chance to
get to a Game 7, and then those two goals go in quickly.
But I would probably put the Toronto comeback maybe a little crazier
than that because we had to score four goals to win that game.
But at the same time, it's one of those things where you look at who
you played against, and that Chicago team I think lost seven games in the
regular season, and you can see why. They're deep. They got stronger as
the series went on, and they're a great hockey club. They need to be
congratulated on that.
But at the same time, I'm going to stand here and tell you how proud
I am of our team, how those guys battled right until the end. Without
getting into all these injuries today because it's not the time, we battled
through a lot. You know, when you realize that you're a couple wins away
from a Stanley Cup and how those guys push through a lot of things, I have
nothing but good things to say about it.
This is a good group of guys, and it's unfortunate that it takes a
loser in these kinds of situations, but it doesn't take away the fact that
you can be just as proud of them as their coach of your players.
Q. You said you didn't want to talk about the injuries, but can you
give us a sense of just how badly your team was hurting going into this
COACH JULIEN: The reason I'm saying that is because this is not a
time to make excuses. They've got injuries, too. As the series went on,
talking about since the start of the Stanley Cup, we had some injuries.
And again, it's hard to keep guys out. They want to play through it, and
some guys were able to do that.
I think the biggest challenge for me was probably these last few
games starting with a full roster but not being able to end with it.
Somewhere along the way you have to shorten your bench because you don't
have four lines and players were getting hurt either at the beginning or
middle of the game, so that was probably the biggest challenge.
But playing hurt is part of it, and our guys did that, and that's why
I said earlier you've got to be extremely proud of those guys.
It's going to take a little while before we can realize the
accomplishment that we had in making it to the Final again, but right now
it doesn't feel good.
Q. Did you feel like their strategy against Zdeno was maybe the best
game plan? Did they wear them down the way they wanted to?
COACH JULIEN: Well, again, you have to give them credit for putting
a strategy together, but at the same time, Zdeno is one of those players
that unfortunately was not 100 percent. So he battled through it, and
that's what I mean by being proud of those guys.
Q. Particularly after the bombing in April, your team took a lot of
pride in representing the city. Talk about the heart and the emotion they
showed for the city of Boston in representing them.
COACH JULIEN: You know, at the end of the day, I think that's what
hurts the most is in the back of our minds, although we needed to focus on
our team and doing what was going to be the best thing for our team to win
a Stanley Cup, in the back of our minds we wanted to do it for those kind
of reasons, the City of Boston, what Newtown has been through, that kind of
stuff. It hit close to home, and the best way we felt we could try and
cheer the area was to win a Stanley Cup.
I think that's what's hard right now for the players. We had more
reasons than just ourselves to win a Cup.
Q. This was a game where you probably had really the start that you
wanted. Were you concerned at all that it was only a one-goal lead after
the chances that you had?
COACH JULIEN: Yeah, obviously when you look at the first period, it
could have been maybe 2, 3-0, and rolling pucks on the one where David
Krejci missed the pass, if that puck is flapped it's an automatic goal.
But that's the name of the game. You make your own breaks, and sometimes
they go your way, sometimes they don't. We lost a lot of stream in the
second period. Jagr left the bench and we had to shorten the bench. At
the pace of this game and how hot it's been and everything else, it took a
toll on our players, and we kind of regained a little bit in the third and
especially when we scored that go-ahead goal, it seemed if we could survive
that we'd give ourselves a chance here.
But unfortunately, as you know, it didn't happen.
Q. I know that after Game 5 the concern was about Patrice Bergeron,
especially after he was seen going to the hospital in the middle of the
third period. What concerns did you have after you learned what exactly
was ailing him about his ability to get out on the ice and to give you the
kind of effort that you're accustomed to getting from Patrice?
COACH JULIEN: Well, I don't think there was any concerns as far as
either he was going to play or not. Those kind of things I can't control,
and what you can control is the coaches trying to find a contingency plan.
What do you do if he's not in?
But to have him in our lineup tonight was a bonus. And again, there
was nothing that was going to stop this guy from getting in our lineup.
That's why I can't speak enough about how proud I am of our players,
because of things like that. He wasn't going to be denied that opportunity
no matter what.
Q. That final two minutes is going to be examined and examined. As
you were going through, did you have any sense that you guys were back on
your heels or were you happy with the way you guys were playing with the
COACH JULIEN: Well, they started pinching, and we talked about that.
We knew they were going to pinch, and you lose a puck battle here or there,
and they made great plays. The tying goal is a great play. They've got
their best players out there on the ice and then they made a great pass.
We got caught a little bit on the wall with their Ds pre pinching.
The other one, as you say, Johnny-on-the-spot kind of thing, he just
happen be there at the post and his stick was there. Our guys were close
to him, but, you know he just out-muscled them on that.
That's what I mean. Sometimes they go your way and sometimes they
don't. We've lived through both of them, so we know how it feels on both
sides of it, winning and being the losers.
Q. Is this a state of shock for you?
COACH JULIEN: No, I think you come in the room afterwards, you're
disappointed, but I don't think I'm in a state of shock. Again, although I
thought we were going to get ourselves a Game 7, I thought our guys, like I
said, through it all just gave it everything they've got, and I can't say
enough about that.
It was tough walking in that dressing room and seeing how
disappointed everybody was, and to try and tell them, as I often say,
there's a lot of teams that would have loved to have been in our position
tonight and getting that opportunity, and we've got to look at the
It's my job to do that and to let them know that it's been a great
year. Every time you go through adversity, which we did this year, we had
a great start, we struggled near the end, a real tough schedule the last
two months, which didn't favor us going into the Playoffs having played six
in the last nine days and having to fight through that, coming back in Game
7 from a three-goal deficit and winning in overtime.
There's a lot of good things to look at. And what we've been through
and what we've accomplished to me is a credit to those guys. A loss is
hard to take, but you've got to look a little further than that right now.
Q. Just following up on that, broadening what you said a little bit,
this season started amid such negativity with a lockout and it was such a
thrilling end, even though you were at the wrong end of it. Do you think
in a way it was a good night for hockey?
COACH JULIEN: Absolutely. I think when you look at those first
games in overtime, each team wins a game, close, exciting hockey, first
game three periods of overtime. I mean, we had the real hockey fans
excited about this series. I think it's been a good bounce back
half-season for the League personally. I think the fans got back into it,
and you always appreciate their support because if I'm a guy on the other
side, I know how I would have felt.
Our fans are very forgiving and supportive, and that's what this game
needs. In order for us to thank them or pay them back, you've got to give
them the kind of hockey I think that they saw from all the teams here in
the Playoffs. It was an exciting last couple of months.
Q. With the exception of the ending, it seemed like you enjoyed this
experience maybe more than the last time, playing around with reporters.
Was that because you realize how difficult it is to get back, maybe the
Toronto series or maybe the real-life events like the bombings and the
school shootings in Connecticut just being bigger than hockey?
COACH JULIEN: I'll be honest with you, maybe I wasn't as
demonstrative as you want the first time around, but I really enjoyed our
Playoff a couple years ago when we won. And I enjoyed this one, as well.
And you're right, the ending is the only thing that probably isn't a lot of
fun right now.
But when you get that opportunity, if you don't enjoy it, how can you
remember that as a positive thing. I tried to spread that through our
hockey club, and you can ask the players. On off days it was about having
some fun, and on game days it was let's get our heads into it, and our guys
responded well to it.
As I said this morning, our guys were excited to play, and that's
what I wanted to see. I didn't ask them to be excited. They came in and
were excited to get this challenge, and it showed. The start of the game
was great, and like I said, with maybe the consistency in our lineup and
not so many banged-up individuals, we maybe could have kept up that
intensity. We wore down as the game went on.
But at the end of the day, to answer the first part of your question,
I love this time of year. It's the best time of year to be playing hockey.
I don't care if it's the end of June or the beginning of July. How can you
not enjoy coming to the rink, beautiful weather, and best time of year to
be playing a game.