BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins appear to be back on track, with three straight victories — the most recent a 3-0 shutout of the first-place Lightning — seemingly righting the ship for a team which had struggled as the calendar flipped from October to November.
And after the airing of “Behind The B” on Monday night, it’s easy to understand how things could turn around so quickly.
This episode of the team’s behind-the-scenes show pulled back the curtain on the type of leadership the Bruins have inside their dressing room. The team obviously has a wealth of talent, with all-star players at forward, defense and in net. Yet despite having one of the most complete rosters in the league, the team went 1-3-1 from Oct. 26 through Nov. 5.
The cameras were present during that frustrating period for the B’s, and though the wins weren’t there, the attitude in the room remained strong.
The first display came from head coach Claude Julien. Though Claude is typically mild-mannered, he wasn’t afraid to lay into his players when they weren’t performing up to their standard during the second intermission in Pittsburgh.
“I can’t say enough,” an exasperated Julien told his team. “Right now, I’m trying to show some attitude, because that’s what we need. OK? Are we going to win battles? Are we going to win the races in that third period? Are we going to go get that next goal, or is this going to ride through?
“Penalty kill – how many [expletive] goals? Wonder why? [Expletive] soft – that’s why. That’s the truth. OK? So let’s take the truth and turn it into a [expletive] reality here, turn things around. OK? So we got 20 minutes here. If you want to win the game, don’t look at me like you’ve [expletive] seen a ghost. Go out there and [expletive] do a job here right now, guys. We’re a [expletive] hell of a lot better than we’ve shown.”
The Bruins tied the game just 1:05 into the third period but ultimately were beaten 3-2. They won their next game over Anaheim in a shootout, but still weren’t playing their best, and that carried over into their game against Tyler Seguin and the Dallas Stars.
In a 1-1 tie after two periods, alternate captains Chris Kelly and Patrice Bergeron noticed the team was starting to let the shaky play affect their spirit.
“Pick our heads up. More positive in here, boys,” Kelly urged his teammates. “We’re a great hockey team. We’ve got great players in here. Heads up. Help one another out. Don’t point the finger. Nobody’s playing their [expletive] best right now – nobody. No one can point the finger. Sometimes the passes are there, sometimes they’re not. It’s a game of mistakes; it’s how you react after it. Heads up here, boys. Twenty minutes, we [expletive] got a ‘W,’ smiles on our faces, listening to tunes afterwards. Let’s go here.”
“We’ve been in this [expletive] situation many times before. We know what to do. Let’s [expletive] go out there and do it,” the normally low-key Bergeron added. “Just relax out there. We’ve just gotta be smart. Play with some passion. Details on the ice, let’s go back to basics.”
The Bruins took the lead midway through the third but a bad line change by Zdeno Chara led to Dennis Seidenberg getting stuck behind Vernon Fiddler on a breakaway. Seidenberg hauled down Fiddler, who scored on his penalty shot to tie the game. The Bruins eventually lost in the shootout, with Seguin and Rich Peverley delivering the game-winning goals.
The shootout loss ended the stretch of bad results for the Bruins, but they’ve since responded by winning three straight, outscoring opponents 10-2 along the way and punctuating it with the shutout victory on Monday.
The Bruins have the talent to compete, but just by seeing a few snippets from the locker room, it’s clear that they also have the character to weather any rough patches they encounter during the season.