Claude Julien on Gregory Campbell: 'He's part of our family'

Mike Petraglia
June 17, 2013 - 10:22 am

From the moment Evgeni Malkin's shot broke his right leg and he skated around on it, Gregory Campbell has become a Stanley Cup legend in Boston. On Monday, part of the drama of the Bruins returning home to play Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final at TD Garden will be Campbell in attendance to watch his team play in person. He was unable to make it to Chicago for Games 1 and 2 because of surgery to repair the leg. "It's nice to see him," coach Claude Julien said Monday. "There's no doubt. Obviously he can't play. We miss him. He's a good player for us. But just to be around our team, it's nice to have him back. He's part of our family. That's how we look at things in that dressing room. If he could have, he would have been in Chicago. It was too early after surgery. From here on in, he's good to go, going to be with us the whole way." Campbell, who drew huge cheers during an appearance on the video board in Game 4 against the Penguins, was with the team Monday morning as they prepared for Game 3 Monday night. Julien has juggled the lines often since the injury to Campbell in Game 3 of the Eastern finals against Pittsburgh. Shawn Thornton has watched his playing time decrease somewhat but in Julien's eyes he still remains an integral part of the fourth line. "Let's not confuse something here," Julien said. "He's not in the lineup because of what he brings in the dressing room. We got a lot of guys that do that. He's in our lineup even though his minutes go down because he deserves to be there. He's great on the forecheck. He's actually a lot smarter of a player than a lot of people give him credit for. He reads plays well, doesn't get himself in trouble much, gets the puck out of our end. "Certainly his presence makes our team better. We've seen that at times when we've had to pull him out. There's no doubt our team is more comfortable with him in our lineup for all the right reasons." WIth Daniel Paille jumping up to join Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly on the third line, the fourth line has been a work-in-progress. With the home team having the last change, Julien figures to have a distinct advantage in getting more time for Thornton and the fourth line. "There's no doubt it makes it a little bit easier," Julien said. "Doesn't mean it's going to happen all the time, but it certainly is a lot easier. Joel's a pretty good coach, smart coach. When he senses something, he'll take advantage of it. I had to be extra careful in Chicago with that. But, again, tonight hopefully it's a little easier. Nonetheless, we're in the Final here, you got to do what you got to do. Sometimes you may play guys a little bit more, but they're capable of handling the ice time. You're right, that last change will hopefully give me a little bit of an easier change." Here is the rest of Claude Julien's press briefing before Game 3 Monday night at TD Garden: Claude, Dougie Hamilton, do you remember talking to him? What is he learning from this process now? COACH JULIEN: He's learning a lot. When you're put up to this, you have an opportunity to play some games, still have that opportunity. But it's been a good year for him. He probably had more opportunities and ice time than a 19'€‘year'€‘old could ever imagine when he came to us. He's played power plays, he's done a lot of things. He's a young player that I see a lot of good things down the road for him. So this is a great experience for him. I remember seeing those guys, like you said, probably more of a blur because your head is into the Final. Nice to see those guys come and experience this, especially this time of year. Best time of year to be around. It's an opportunity for those guys to watch some of those games and experience what it is to be around new people, as well. Q. Game 3s, you are 3'€‘0 this year, Chicago 0'€‘3. Why so good? COACH JULIEN: I'm going to tell you the same thing that I told everybody when we asked those questions about not being able to close, this and that. Stats at this time of year don't mean a thing. No matter what we are, what they are, it's about winning this game tonight. I don't pay much attention to stats when it comes to that stuff. We've seen those things change. It just takes one game to change the stat. So I'm going to focus on what we need to do tonight. Q. Physicality is such a big part of your game. Is it more difficult to employ against a team that's as mobile as Chicago is? How are you able to use it to your advantage in the last game? COACH JULIEN: I don't know if it's what you use to your advantage. They've got good mobility. There's no doubt there. From their back end all the way to the front, they're a speed team. The transition is great. They have obviously a lot of good things on that team. That's why they won the Presidents' Trophy. That's why they're in the Stanley Cup Final. It's being able to know that. Without us changing our game, trying to be better at it. Physicality is one thing. But when we finish our checks, when we have to finish our checks, I haven't seen our team run out of position just to throw the big check. It's more about if you're there, you finish your check, but we still have to play our game. Q. The guys talked about the excitement of the crowd. For you, what will it be like to experience this here at home again? COACH JULIEN: Well, there's no doubt you're a lot happier at home than you are on the road, right? But we've got a great crowd here. Our fans have been great. What can you say about the Chicago fans for them? Let's give credit where credit is due. It's pretty awesome when you go into that building and listen to them. Our fans are very capable of doing the same thing. We may not hold as much in our building, but the decibels will be just as good as it was at the United Center. Q. Claude, when we talked to Chris Kelly, he always seems subdued and quiet. According to the guys, that's not always the case. How valuable do you see his vocal leadership in reinforcing your message? COACH JULIEN: Like you said, he's subdued when he talks to you guys. There's no doubt in the dressing room, even on the ice, even practices, he does have a temper, a good temper. He's demanding, not just of himself, but everybody else around. When we're not having a good practice, there's a lot of times you'll hear him chirp before you'll hear me. That's the kind of leadership he brings. Although he feels it's been a little bit tougher for him this year because he hasn't had the kind of year he would like, I still think, and I told him it was important that he continues to be a leader. I think everybody respects him that way. He's got to bring that to us everywhere, dressing room, on the ice, practice. That's just his personality. He's a very intense individual, very demanding. That's why he's a good player for us. Q. Your goalie has been special for some time now. Was there an incident early on with Tuukka that you saw the kind of player he could become? COACH JULIEN: I think we've seen that for quite a few years. When you look at his progression throughout the years, as I mentioned before, we had such a good goaltender in Tim Thomas, it might have maybe delayed the view that people would have of him, but it didn't change our view of him. We knew he was going to be a good goaltender. In hindsight, when you look back, it might have been the best thing for him. It allowed him to mature at a reasonable rate instead of being thrown to the wolves. He's matured a lot. I'm not talking about personality, but mentally, the mental toughness, then being able to be ready game in, game out. This was his first year as the number one that he played consecutive games. I think he handled it well. Although it's a 48'€‘game schedule, condensed schedule, he had to be mentally tough to be able to get through that, to be able to get where he is right now speaks volumes about how ready he is to be that goaltender that can be just as good as Tim was for us. Q. With little or no space on the ice in this series, can you disclose what your team can do to generate that valuable space and generate more scoring opportunities? COACH JULIEN: Again, looking for strategies here. But we're a team that we'll always play the same way. We're a straightforward team. We have to move puck forwards, put them in deep, battle along the boards, make things happen. We're a team that grinds it out. We use our speed by pushing pucks forward. That's what we've got to keep doing. Q. Claude, with Gregory out, you've added Krejci into the penalty kill mix at times. He hasn't been in there for a couple years really consistently. How quickly has he been able to jump into it with your system? COACH JULIEN: Yeah, but at the same time we haven't changed a ton, just a little bit more aggressive in areas. He's always been in all the meetings, even this year, 'cause if one of our penalty killers was in the box, he would kill some penalties. He's very comfortable with it. I think he's done a great job. David is a smart player. He can read off a lot of people, is able to read the plays. To me, it was not a big issue to put him in there because he's very capable of handling more ice time. As I said before, the reason was I really enjoyed coming back with that line after a penalty kill. Q. Ference and Boychuk are similar to Chara and Seidenberg in that they don't always play during the regular season. How do they click come playoff time? COACH JULIEN: It's more we put them together. At the same time, they've played together before. They know each other well. This year we moved guys around a lot during our regular season. Guys got used to playing with each other. That was done purposely. We knew at one point everybody would have to play with everybody. You even see those kind of changes being made in the middle of a game. McQuaid for a while was with Ference, Boychuk was with Krug. You make the changes you feel you need to make. Our guys have certainly gotten used to playing with each other. Q. Krejci, sometimes guys with that type of offensive skill, it takes them a while to accept they have to play the defensive end. Can you remember what it was like to get him to accept that? COACH JULIEN: I don't think it was that tough, to be honest with you. If anything, it was always pushing him to continue to be good offensively. He's very conscientious of his defensive play and also making sure he's in the right position. At times I thought it took away from the offensive part of his game. So if there's anything, I think it was more the adjustment of him being able to play well defensively, but being able to transfer that to good offense. I think that's where he's excelled a lot. He's a proud competitor. He doesn't like to be scored on. There were times where probably there was maybe a little too much attention to that, not enough at the end other end.