BOSTON — Bruins head coach Claude Julien would never be characterized as a curmudgeon, but he was noticeably more jovial and peppy than usual after his team’s practice Tuesday at TD Garden. Apparently winning gold at the Olympics will do that to you.
Julien didn’t get a medal as a member of the Canadian men’s hockey team that won gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but that can’t take away from the fact that he was part of one of the most dominant teams in Olympic hockey history. That good mojo is something that Julien has brought back with him.
Despite the fact that he’s probably a little sleep-deprived and jet-lagged, the B’s head coach says he feels great and is ready and raring to go, as his team gets set to resume its schedule on Wednesday in Buffalo.
“If anything, to be honest with you, I think the competition that I was involved with was so good and refreshing that I’ve come back here energized,” Julien said. “I’m not tired. I’m ready to go here and I’m looking forward to getting back with my team and getting back into games. Whether it’s different in three or four days, maybe it’s different — I’ll let you know — but right now I feel no effects. If anything, the excitement over there really energized me coming back. I’m looking forward to accomplishing the same thing here with this Bruins team.”
Julien’s level of excitement is probably helped along by the team he’s returning to. The Bruins have a comfortable lead in the Atlantic Division and despite a jam-packed schedule the rest of the way, are in great position in the Eastern Conference. His players that played in the Olympics played well, and those that didn’t are well-rested after an almost two-week break. That’s certainly enough to make a guy pretty happy.
“I think the two weeks didn’t do them any harm,” Julien said. “I think with 17 games here in the month of March, those two weeks could be the best thing that ever happened to those guys. So I think our guys are a lot more in tune and in a lot better shape than when they came back from that lockout. So I think we’re ahead of the game here.”
Of course, when the puck drops Wednesday in Buffalo, that happy-go-lucky attitude Julien showcased Tuesday will disappear real quickly if things don’t go the Bruins’ way.