Bruins Need to Find Ways to Fight Through Frustrations to Turn Around Season


Bruins Need to Find Ways to Fight Through Frustrations to Turn Around SeasonWILMINGTON, Mass. — The Bruins are a frustrated bunch.

That's hardly shocking for a team that's won just three of its first 10 games and currently sits in last place in the Eastern Conference. But how they handle that frustration and find a way to get past it is of vital importance. Allowing that exasperation to fester will only lead to more problems.

"There's always going to be frustration when things don't go your way," Bruins forward Milan Lucic said after Monday's practice. "It's almost like you're in quicksand. When you're trying too hard it tends to go the other way on you. I think for us as a team right now we have to focus on what we do best and simplify our game."

The Bruins are doing their best to keep the frustration in check and stay positive, but that's not easy when the losses start piling up as they have so far this season.

"Getting frustrated is not going to help," Bruins center Gregory Campbell said. "Feeling sorry for yourself is not going to help. The solution is in this room. So it's up to us to find it."

Bruins coach Claude Julien has done his best to search for the solution. He's tweaked the lines repeatedly. He's alternated between working the team hard in practice and laying off the whip to try to let them refocus. On Sunday, he even kept them off the ice completely, choosing instead to have the team study video to see where they have strayed from their plan this season.

And the Bruins still believe in that plan. They have not implemented it as effectively as they have in the past, but the Bruins remain steadfast that Julien's system is as sound as ever and the personnel in place can execute it.

"I think we've proven that this group works," Lucic said. "If you look into too much you can almost go stir crazy. This group works and the only way we're going to start working again is if we start playing like a group again. I think that's our biggest challenge right now. We need everyone going at the same time and everyone being on the same page and trusting the system. When we're going as a group and are playing that system that we know how to play, we've obviously shown that we can be one of, if not the best team in the league."

Julien isn't giving up on his charges either, and believes maintaining faith in his players and in his system are the keys to turning the team's slide around.

"You've got to keep trying," Julien said. "If you show any signs of discouragement, how can you expect your players to work hard and work out of it? So you've got to lead by example and that's the tough part of my job right now to lead by example and find solutions."

The biggest part of the solution is to find the balance between playing with the physical style and emotion the Bruins need to employ to be successful without letting that frustration take over and having that emotion get out of control. That's happened all too often this season, with ill-timed and undisciplined penalties costing the club any chance at victory.

"We're trying to find that fine line to play aggressive to play with that edge, but play within the rules," Campbell said. "That's been a challenge for our team. When we find that balance, we're built on being physical and being strong and hard to play against without taking penalties and putting ourselves in tough situations. That's just another area that we have to be sharper in. We want to play physical, but we can't keep taking penalties."

Lucic agreed, but does feel that the mistakes the Bruins have made in being overaggressive at times stem from a positive source. They have their hearts in the right place. Now they just have to get their heads on straight.

"Obviously there's been times when we've taken penalties at wrong moments," Lucic said. "It goes to show that we have to be the bigger man in situations like that. We have to suck it up and be the bigger man so we don't put our team down a man.

"The emotion that we're showing, I think it shows that we care and that we're trying to do the right thing," Lucic added. "The reason that we're getting mad is that we're trying so hard and we want to do so well and it's not going our way. But I think we're a team that when we're in control of our emotion and use it the right way that's when we're at the top of our game."

The Bruins recognize that things are being called tighter this season. They aren't getting away with some of things they were able to do in the past. Some of that comes from opponents being unwilling to engage them know how the Bruins feed off such altercations and some of it comes from referees cracking down to prevent such tactics. But the Bruins can't use that as an excuse.

"I don't get caught up in the refereeing," Campbell said. "We have a reputation in the league as a tough team. But I don't feel like the microscope is on us any closer. I think for the most part the refs are pretty fair. You might get a bad game here or there, but they're only human too and they're trying to do their job."

Now it's up to the Bruins to do their jobs, regardless of whatever restrictions they may encounter. Nobody else is going to help them get out of this funk.

"Ten games in, you should be able to get back to form and start feeling good about yourselves," Lucic said. "There shouldn't be any excuses at this point of the season. We have to take it upon ourselves to figure it out."

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