SCFG6: Claude Julien Pre-Game
Q. Coach, with the NHL draft coming up, I wonder if you have had any chance to look at any of the prospects?
COACH JULIEN: Good question, because I don't want to answer -- I was going to say, you must have won the prize for the first question asked about Bergeron, right? (Laughing).
Okay, I was looking at Walshy. For sure he was going to have his hand up. I'm disappointed in you today. (Laughing).
Patrice will dress for warm-up tonight, and I'm feeling confident that he'll play.
Q. For both teams given the heat today and the condition of the ice, how important is it to keep the game simple because it could be sloppy?
COACH JULIEN: Well, obviously with some fans in the building tonight, it'll get obviously warmer. I thought the ice this morning was in pretty good shape, and they've done a good job. Walking in here yesterday with 90-plus degrees it was nice and cool in the arena.
But those doors are going to open I would imagine and some of the heat will come in. But those are conditions that you have to play with at this time of year. Everybody has been through it, and two teams are going through the same conditions. Both teams are going to tell you the same truth; keep the game simple and try and avoid those mistakes from overhandling pucks in those kind of ice conditions.
Q. In the last day both Lucic and Nathan Horton have commented about how they felt their line had to do a little more, create more opportunities for themselves. What's your assessment of how they've been the last few games?
COACH JULIEN: Well, I like the fact that they're thinking that way. That's what you want your players to say. You want them to be more demanding. You want them to tell you that they want to be better, they need to be better. And those two guys answered that question.
I'm sure if you asked everybody on our team they probably would have said the same thing, they want to bring a little bit more. That's just because like everybody else, we want to win, and to be able to do that, you've got to give a little bit more.
Q. Yesterday you talked a bit about nerves and then also just wanting your players to be excited for the game. How important is it for them to at least try to go out there and have fun and enjoy the moment?
COACH JULIEN: Well, I don't think we have a choice. You know, when you look at it, we don't have a choice. You've got to go out there and play, and what you've got to do is be excited about this opportunity. I don't want to get into all of this, but I always say the same thing; there's 28 teams right now that wish they were in our position. Always take the positive out of everything.
Just because we're down 3-2, we haven't lost the Cup yet, okay. We still have a chance to win it. It's about focusing on going out there and doing it and having fun doing it.
Q. When you look at your team, where do you see the biggest influence Andrew Ference has had on this club over the years?
COACH JULIEN: I think a lot of things, his heart, desire. On and off the ice he comes to play every game, whether he has a better game one night than other. He's always coming to play, and you know he's going to give you everything he's got. Same thing in the dressing room, he cares about his teammates and does all the little things every year. Those jackets and stuff like that, come from him. And the guys have learned to rely on him because he enjoys it.
When you see the other things he's done outside with the community, good person, good teammate, and like I said, very reliable player every time he steps on the ice.
Q. You often refer to winning battles out on the ice, and tonight being the ultimate battle to survive, is there any difference in preparing the charges tonight for Game 6?
COACH JULIEN: Well, I don't know if they're different, but obviously there's got to be a little bit more urgency, right? It's a do or die. Again, you play on your toes, not on your heels. You've got to win races and win battles, and that doesn't change. Probably need a little bit more determination at making those things happen tonight.
Q. You talked about positivity and being positive, yet it seems like in these situations with this group, and yourself included, you guys tend to do well in these situations. What are some of the characteristics in your hockey club that you like that makes them succeed on the ice in these big situations?
COACH JULIEN: I guess they enjoy that challenge. Just when everybody thinks they're down, they love that challenge of proving people wrong. I mean, we've been knocked down so many times for all different reasons, but we're very capable of bouncing back. We know we can.
At the same time we've got a lot of confidence in each other in that dressing room, from the coaching staff down to the players. There's a lot of trust and confidence, and that's what makes a good team and a good group.
I think, as I mentioned earlier, I like the excitement of our team right now. They're excited to play tonight. They're not afraid of it. They're excited for the challenge.
Q. It's been a struggle offensively for Marchand this series and Tyler all Playoffs long, and Horton said yesterday he thinks he needs to be better offensively. As a coach how can you take some of the pressure off them or is it up to them to get themselves out of a difficult situation?
COACH JULIEN: I think it's a little bit of both. You can talk to them a little bit, but the last thing you want to do is put too much pressure on them thinking that you're on them.
At the same time they've got to do their share of saying, you know what, it's my responsibility. Accountability in our dressing room is very important. I need to help our team out and my teammates and everybody. So it comes from both sides. I think it's a mutual thing that has to -- a little bit from the coaches to either showing some positive things or show them where they can be better in order for them to have a bigger impact. Then it's up to them to go out there and do it.
Q. Chris Kelly was talking about how there's no cliques on the team and they're all just like a big family and all hang out together outside the locker room. What does that show and say about the character of this group and just how important it is?
COACH JULIEN: Well, it is. I think the thing that I like about our team, as you mentioned, it doesn't matter if you're on the road. It's not always the same guys that are together. Some nights you'll see a certain group together, then it's a different group of guys. So they mix and match very well. It's not always the same two, three guys having supper together.
And not only that, you'll see some young guys with some older guys, and it's like older guys taking younger guys under their wings. It goes back to what I said earlier about our hockey team; we don't see anybody as superstars in that dressing room.
If people on the outside want to call them super star players, that's fine. But in our dressing room we all believe we're on the same level and treat each other with respect.
I think that's one of the reasons we're here right now is because we play for each other and we respect each other. That's a big key to success of a hockey club. You don't want to always have to have the same personalities and don't want to always have to be best of buddies, but you have to respect each other. I think we've got that in our dressing room.
Q. Jay Pandolfo said that he could be in if Bergeron didn't go. Is one tied to the other or could we see Pandolfo in even if Bergeron is in?
COACH JULIEN: Well, I know Pandolfo is going to be in the warm-up tonight for sure, so is Caron, so we're going to have a few guys out there. And Bergeron is going to be out there, as well. If Bergeron can't go, then I have got some decisions to make. Again, there's a little bit more in the thought process than just picking a guy. I need to make decisions based on what the needs will be for tonight's game.
Q. After Game 4 there was so much talk about needing to be better defensively. Do you feel maybe in Game 5 there was too much focus on that?
COACH JULIEN: No, again, you give up two goals, scoring chances, they had some. I mean, it wasn't outrageous as far as the number of them and stuff like that, so I don't think defensively we were a bad team. I think offensively it took us a while to start generating some scoring chances or some really good scoring chances.
As I said yesterday, the two goals that Kane scores are ones that he goes into those quiet areas that eventually puck comes up to him, and he's very good at finding those.
I said it before, it's more about awareness of where he is on the ice. I think that's a big part of taking away his scoring chances because a lot of them have been scored that way.
Q. Regular season or maybe even early in the Playoff series, maybe you can be a little bit patient with a line or a combination of something. When you get to this point tonight, do you feel like if you don't see what you need to see, do you need to make your decisions a little quicker?
COACH JULIEN: I don't plan on getting to that point tonight. That's the way I have to think. I think our guys will be ready to play. But if something like that happens, then I've got to make those decisions based on what I see or what's available.
So it's easy to say mix and match, but you've got to have the right components together and you have to have the players available, so sometimes you want to move somebody else but you don't have anybody that's better in that situation.
It's easier said than done, but as I said, I have confidence that our team will be a good team tonight.