BOSTON — Bruins head coach Claude Julien, whose team is still up three games to two in its Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with Buffalo, is relieved that Zdeno Chara won’t be suspended for Monday’s Game 6.
Chara was assessed an instigator with less than a second left in Game 5, after he was slashed by Paul Gaustad and responded with a couple swings with his gloved fist.
When asked if he thought there should’ve been a third-man-in penalty called on Buffalo forward Cody McCormick, who joined the fracas, Julien made it clear he doesn’t want to get caught up in what happened in the past.
“Listen guys, the one thing I’m not going to do is whine,’ Julien said at TD Garden with most of his team taking the day off. “There’s enough going on as it is. So, I’m not going to be whining about all this stuff. We can take care of ourselves. This is our team, we stand up for ourselves and we put up with what happens. I don’t think there’s any reason here to start crying fool and everything else. We’ll just go out there and do our job and let our play dictate what’s going on here.”
Julien’s reference to whining obviously was a mild shot at Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff, who complained about the officiating after Game 4 and after Game 5 called Chara’s actions stupid. Julien was then asked if he pays any attention to the words of Ruff or any coach, be it regular season or playoffs. The Bruins bench boss responded in the negative, but then made it clear he’s well aware of what’s going on with his counterpart as he expanded on his initial answer.
“A lot of it – and I’ve heard and read some of Lindy’s comments – hopefully it’s his way of taking the pressure off his team because if not, then it’s a lot of whining. It’s as simple as that,” Julien said. “Every coach has his tactics and you just worry about yourself and, as I said (Friday) night, [after] it happened, we always seem to be the team that’s always doing the bad things, and they seem to be the team that’s on the nice side of all that stuff, and they do nothing wrong. So it’s kind of, I don’t know what you want to call it, but anyways … it’s tactics and those are things that in playoff coaches use, hopefully to their advantage. I don’t pay much attention to it.”
As for Chara’s decision to retaliate for Paul Gaustad’s slash with the clock ticking toward zero, Julien said the captain was justified. Often over the last few years in the postseason, the Bruins have stayed away from the extracurricular stuff against the likes of Montreal and Carolina. Julien says that his team is still striking a perfect balance between defending itself and staying out of jeopardizing trouble.
“I wouldn’t say we turn the other cheek. We’ve got to stand up for ourselves too,” said the coach. “I think it’s about doing it at the right time. Sometimes a guy takes a cheap shot at you at a time in the game where it gives you a power play, and then you say ‘OK, well I know who it is and it’s a long game.’ But the game’s over there (when Chara retaliates).
“It’s obviously a cheap shot, it was unwarranted, a two-hander, and (Chara) responded. So I don’t think there’s any damage there that’s done except to say we’ll turn the cheek when we have to and there’s time where we’ll stand up for ourselves. And Zdeno stood up for himself.”