NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB, prior to the Bruins’ Thursday night game against the Oilers, as well to discuss Claude Julien‘s contract extension. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Julien inked a three-year contract extension over the weekend. McGuire said he has noticed Julien has become more comfortable working within the organization and with his coaching staff.
“I think they are really comfortable because there is a great relationship between the general manager, Peter Chiarelli and the coach Claude Julien,” said McGuire. “I think they’ve become more and more comfortable over time and the one thing I think the Bruins like more than anything else is the stability of their franchise. It’s a very stable franchise and both guys have shown they can handle it.
“One of the things I think Claude is really learning to do over time is delicate authority. [Assistant coach Doug Houda] is getting a lot more responsibility, especially when it comes to changing the defense. Hiring a former head coach in the NHL in Joe Sacco, I think that helps you a lot. Doug Jarvis is one more cherished assistant coaches in the league. I think he’s learned to delegate authority really well. Quite frankly, I think it works really well in Boston. I enjoy being around their team and part of that reason is because of their coaching staff.”
The Bruins have enjoyed some success of late, winning three in a row and four-of-five. The wins have come against some of the weaker teams in the league — including the Panthers and Sabres — but McGuire notes the team can only play who comes up on their schedule.
“You’re always looking for your team to be a little bit better all the time, but I think like some college teams, you can’t pick your schedule, you have to play the way it comes down,” McGuire said. “They play Edmonton tonight, then they have a nice weekend off before they have to play next week against New Jersey and Toronto. They have a nice opportunity to give themselves a reward by beating Edmonton, a team not one of the upper-enchalant teams in the league.”
McGuire has liked what he’s seen from the Bruins of late, especially in their games against the Sabres and Panthers.
“What I liked about their game against Florida and their game against Buffalo more than anything else was how hard they competed,” he said. “Their game with Ottawa, I thought they were just good enough to win, and they did win. But, I really like that compete factor in the Florida game and obviously Buffalo game. The fact is they are winning and you have to put points in the bank. Every one of these games is like a playoff game now.”
The Bruins’ 2014 first-round pick, 18-year-old defenseman David Pastrnak, won AHL Rookie of the Month for October by totaling nine points (two goals, seven assists) in seven games with Providence. Pastrnak is actually the youngest player in the AHL. McGuire was asked if he could be called up to the Bruins soon, but he believes he needs some more time with Providence to fine-tune his skills.
“His skill level is excessive. I mean, that is the one thing … he is a kid born in the Czech Republic and played a lot of hockey up in Sweden and so did I,” McGuire said. “The one thing you always hear about him — and I watched him play and talked to scouts who have watched him a lot more than I have — is his skill level is excessive. That is the thing you need to watch. Can he do it? He probably can, but over the course of an 82-game schedule that is hard. It is the grind, when you are a kid you think you can do it, but at the halfway point you are like, ‘Oh boy, this is harder than I thought.’ I think that is the biggest thing. He needs one more year of seasoning before he can really lave a huge mark in terms of how hard he can compete in the league.”