Claude Julien admitted Sunday what a lot of people have been able to tell for a long time: This year’s team is a tough group to motivate.

Dougie Hamilton pretty much said as much a week ago when he said players weren’t following the coach’s game plan, but to hear it from Julien himself is big. It brings to light an issue with the team’s character.

“We’ve been a lot livelier in the past,” Julien said. “Sometimes tough things that you go through kind of take the wind out of you, but that’s not an excuse. You have to have enough character to bring it every night, every day and there’s no doubt I think that if we can get our work ethic and our compete level up and make good decisions, we’re going to start winning games, we’re going to have fun again and the energy level’s going to be where we want it to be.

“That’s our job to create that. We have to create it as a coaching staff, as players and as a team. It’s as simple as that.”

The Bruins lost leaders this season with the departures of Shawn Thornton, Johnny Boychuk and Jarome Iginla. What Thornton lacked in on-ice effectiveness late in his Bruins tenure he more than made up for in character. Boychuk, a bit of a goofball who kept things loose, took great pride in being a Bruin. Iginla’s experience and leadership called for an received the respect of his teammates.

Despite those losses, the Bruins still have players wearing letters on their sweaters in captain Zdeno Chara and alternate captains Patrice Bergeron, Chris Kelly and David Krejci. When Chara and Krejci were hurt, Milan Lucic and Dennis Seidenberg took turns wearing an A.

All of the aforementioned Bruins have seen much better days with the Bruins and know how dominant they can be. It’s their job just as much as it is Julien’s to have themselves and their teammates motivated.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Both Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic were absent from Sunday’s practice, with coach

Both Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic were absent from Sunday’s practice, with coach Claude Julien saying after the skate that he considers both players day-to-day with undisclosed injuries.

Bergeron took only tree shifts in the third period Saturday in Columbus before leaving the game with what Julien told reporters was a minor injury. Lucic’s ailment is not known.

Adam McQuaid (thumb) practiced with the team, but Julien said that to his knowledge McQuaid is not ready to return to game action.

The lines in practice were as follows:

Marchand – Griffith – Smith
Fraser – Krejci – Cunningham
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Caron

All right defensemen, including McQuaid, were on the ice.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Bruins have placed forward Matt Fraser on waivers, presumably with the intention of assigning him to Providence.

Matt Fraser

Matt Fraser

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Bruins have placed forward Matt Fraser on waivers, presumably with the intention of assigning him to Providence.

Fraser participated fully in the team’s practice Sunday, skating in Milan Lucic‘s place with David Krejci and Craig Cunningham.

The 24-year-old has dressed in 24 games for Boston this season, scoring three goals with no assists.

Earlier in the season, Boston successfully put Jordan Caron, Cunningham and David Warsofsky through waivers, with al three players going unclaimed.

The B’s also recalled Caron Sunday. He was present for practice, skating on Boston’s fourth line with Danielle Paille and Gregory Campbell.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Many of Boston's top players have underperformed this season. (Harry How/Getty Images)



The Bruins took a couple steps forward prior to the Christmas break. Then they returned and jumped a mile backwards.

The Bruins took a couple steps forward prior to the Christmas break. Then they returned and jumped a mile backwards.

A top-to-bottom lackluster showing from the B’€™s resulted in a 6-2 blowout loss to the Blue Jackets (box). The loss dropped them to 18-15-3.

The Bruins, who were coming off consecutive wins over the Sabres and Predators, have still won three games in a row just twice this season. Getting blown out just when it appeared they were finding traction served as a perfect microcosm of their 2014-15 season.

The Bruins will return to the Garden this week to host the Red Wings, Maple Leafs and Senators.

BERGERON LEAVES

Patrice Bergeron took only three shifts in the third period and did not play the final 13:14 of the game Saturday.

Bergeron, who in the first period scored his seventh goal of the season, left the bench midway through the third. Claude Julien said in his postgame NESN interview that he was being cautious with Bergeron and sent him to the room himself.

SVEDBERG YANKED, BUT HE WAS ALSO STARTED

For the first time in his Bruins career, Niklas Svedberg was pulled from a start. It was done for good reason. He was not good.

Svedberg was taken out in the second period after allowing his third goal of the game, but he had to be bailed out by David Krejci in the final seconds of the first period in a 1-1 game.

Facing a bad-angle shot from Matt Calvert off the rush, Svedberg kicked a big rebound to David Savard, who had half an open net to deal with. Fortunately for the Bruins, Krejci went down and blocked the shot with his leg to keep the game tied.

When Kevin Connauton’€™s second-period goal chased Svedberg, it marked the third time this season the B’€™s have made an in-game goalie change.

Claude Julien often accuses the media of second-guessing, so we’€™ll good on it here. The decision to start the backup Saturday was puzzling. Boston was coming off two straight wins in a season that has seen them struggle to string wins together, and Rask had been off the ice with the rest of his team for three days entering Saturday.

CLAUDE HATES THE CALLS

There’€™s no telling whether Claude Julien is more disappointed in his players this season or the NHL‘€™s officials. Julien’€™s on-bench reactions to penalties have been stronger than ever, and he has passive-aggressively vocalized his issues with officiating to the media on several occasions this season.

On Saturday, Julien appeared highly displeased with a slashing call against Brad Marchand. After Nick Foligno called on the ensuing power play, Julien could be seen on the bench muttering choice words.

BRUINS WASTE POWER PLAYS

The Bruins got a much-needed first power play when Savard was sent off for interference midway through the second period with Columbus holding a 4-1 lead. Boston squandered that power play, landing just one shot on goal.

The Bruins soon again had reason for hope, when Fedor Tyutin was called for slashing Patrice Bergeron, but the B’€™s again failed to score and spent the last quarter of the man advantage in their own zone.

Craig Cunningham tipped a Gregory Campbell shot past Curtis McElhinney on the next shift to finally bring the B’€™s within two, but Matt Calvert would increase Columbus’€™ lead to three again with a goal in the final minute of the second.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

According to multiple reports, Simon Gagne’€™s father died Friday after losing his battle with cancer. The news was first reported by Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports.

Simon Gagne is still away from the Bruins on leave. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Simon Gagne is still away from the Bruins on leave. (Harry How/Getty Images)

According to multiple reports, Simon Gagne’€™s father died Friday after losing his battle with cancer. The news was first reported by Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports.

Gagne had taken a leave of absence from the Bruins last month following his father’€™s diagnosis. He issued the following statement on Dec. 10.

“I have taken a personal leave of absence from the Boston Bruins in order to return home to Quebec to be with my father, who was recently diagnosed with liver cancer,” Gagne said in the statement. “The doctors — who have been great throughout this whole process — unfortunately informed us that his cancer is not curable.

“I greatly appreciate the support and understanding that the Bruins organization and my teammates have given to me and my family since I let them know the news and I look forward to rejoining them when the time is appropriate. Until then, I would kindly ask everyone to respect my family and I’€™s privacy during this difficult time.”

It is not known when Gagne will return to the Bruins. In 23 games this season, the 34-year-old wing has three goals and one assist for four points.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean