Claude Julien Defends Bruins’ Play by Pointing to Toll Treacherous Schedule Has Taken on Team

Dougie HamiltonBOSTON — Bruins head coach Claude Julien has had plenty that he could be upset about when it comes to his team’s play as of late. The B’s have fallen off of their early-season pace, and they don’t look nearly as sharp as they did when they were running off points at a historic rate.

The head coach would certainly like things cleaned up, especially with only 10 regular-season games remaining after Monday’s 6-2 win over Carolina, but he knows that it hasn’t been easy on his guys. The Bruins are in the midst of the toughest part of their schedule, which included a 17-game March schedule with plenty of travel.

Julien used his postgame news conference Monday night to remind fans, the media and perhaps most importantly his players alike, how difficult this stretch has been.

The head coach was originally asked about whether he liked his team’s physical presence right now, which he answered before going into a spirited defense of his club.

“I don’t know,” he said. “There are some guys that could probably finish their checks more, no doubt. You just have to look at the sheet, but at the same time the sheets not always accurate.

“I think as much as we stand here and we, not demand, but question how could our game be and all that — I’m going to tell you again, like a lot of teams, those players aren’t robots. The schedule has been as tough as it could ever be on an athlete. We got to be careful of how hard we push those guys, because they are tired. I don’t know if anybody’s been through that schedule before of every second day including traveling, and [travel], and the expectations of coaches, and you guys and fans. That’s not an easy situation.

The Bruins went 13-2-2 through the season’s first two months, but they are just 11-7-2 since March 1.

“So it’s easy for us to criticize, and I say us I include ourselves as coaches, but you have to take the time and analyze what’s really going on here. It’s been a real tough schedule and those athletes are put through a grind that they’re not normally put through in a regular season. A regular reason was the first two months that was a regular schedule. You saw how well we played and what our record was so you have to look at what the schedule has been in the last two months, or last month plus this one and understand that has an effect on our game there’s no ifs and buts about it.”