Claude Julien threw in the line as he was answering a question about whether the lengthy layoff between games for the Bruins had allowed him to do some work for the upcoming Olympics.
“Yeah, the Olympics,” he said. “And I spent the last couple of days solidifying the glass between the benches.”
That, of course, was a good-natured jab at Avalanche coach Patrick Roy, in town Thursday for the first time as a head coach. Roy got into a shouting match with Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau in the Avalanche’s opener, and nearly toppled the partition between the benches. He was fined $10,000.
“I don’t expect any problems with Claude Julien,” Roy responded when apprised of the quip.
Roy added, “I have so much respect for him. He’s a great coach. When you’re in the finals of the Stanley Cup two years in the last three, he deserves certainly a lot of credit and respect.”
The two have talked occasionally in the past, with Roy requesting advice from the Bruins coach.
“Every time I spoke to him, at the time I asked him a few questions, called him, he was always available,” Roy said. “He said, any time you want to talk. It’s fun to see guys open up like this with a junior coach. I respect that and I’m happy to see him being so successful here in Boston.”
Roy, who had many memorable battles at the original Garden as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, said it was good to be back in Boston. “A lot of great memories, no doubt about it,” he said.
Roy is now looking to create new memories as coach of the Avalanche, who have started a surprising 4-0-0 with Thursday night’s 2-0 win over the Bruins. The Hall of Famer started coaching at the junior level, with the Quebec Remparts, and moved this season to the NHL.
“I started just being GM in Quebec at the junior level, and there was something missing,” Roy said. “Just enjoyed [being] around the players. I guess at the junior level I wanted to make a difference in the life of those younger players, and today here I am.
“I didn’t expect to be in that position one day, but I’m very happy to be. It’s also a good opportunity for me to give back to the fans in Denver who have been so loyal and so great to myself and my family that I just feel that it’s great timing, it’s a great opportunity.”
And his players have responded.
Center Matt Duchene listed two reasons for the team’s quick start. No. 1, the close-knit nature of the group, and No. 2, Roy.
“We’re having a blast,” Duchene said. “We’re having fun. He’s great in the sense that when we need a kick in the [butt] he gives it to us, and when we need a pat on the back we get it, as well. It really feels like he’s part of our group — it’s not like coaches, then players. It’s everyone together, which is exciting.”
Carl Soderberg skated with the team for the first time since injuring his ankle Sept. 27 in the final exhibition game, taking part in Thursday’s optional morning skate.
“I think it’s a start,” Julien said. “It was good to see him out there and doing at least some line rushes and stuff like that. So, he’s progressing well, but obviously not ready to play.”
Soderberg had been skating on his own before practices this week. Julien anticipated that Soderberg will start practicing with the team on Friday, though he said he wasn’t sure whether the winger would be cleared for contact.
Eriksson: bad call
Loui Eriksson was perplexed after the game by an embellishment penalty he was given at 11:20 of the third period. Eriksson was hooked by P.A. Parenteau, and was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after he went down.
“I don’t know why they called me on that,” Eriksson said. “He was holding me and I couldn’t do anything so I don’t know, it was kind of a stupid call by him.”
The teams played four on four instead of the Bruins going on the power play. Gabriel Landeskog did get called for hooking 36 seconds later, though, so the Bruins did get a four on three, though they couldn’t take advantage.
Johnny Boychuk might not be in the NHL if not for the trade that sent him from the Avalanche to the Bruins in June 2008. Boychuk hadn’t latched on in Colorado, spending most of his time in the AHL after being drafted in the second round in 2002. He played only four games with the Avalanche before being shipped out.
“Sometimes it’s about being in the right spot at the right time,” Julien said. “He really had a good year in Providence [after the trade]. At that time we were looking for a right shot and the guy that could be big, strong, and then could shoot the puck, and he had that opportunity.
“Just talking to him the other day, he even mentioned that at one point Colorado wanted to make him a forward. So that’s how far he’s come from being a solid defenseman with us to almost being pushed out of the league.”
In for a checkup
Bobby Robins was at the Garden on Thursday to get checked out. The forward injured his knee in an exhibition game Sept. 17 and has not been on the ice since. Robins said he was hoping to get the OK to start practicing . . . The Bruins were ready to get back on the ice after having four days off between games, but Julien did see the benefits to the time off. “We finished late last year, so having a slower start is not a bad thing,” he said. “But at the same time, when you do start getting into games you get into a bit of a roll. There’s no doubt players would rather play than practice, and that’s a fact.” . . . Julien said Gregory Campbell has had no problems after recovering from the broken leg suffered in last season’s Eastern Conference finals . . . With the morning skate optional, David Krejci and Milan Lucic opted not to participate. “They’ve heard me say that often — those morning skates can be put aside for all I care,” Julien said. “I think a lot of it is maybe overrated. And it’s hard to get that out of their heads, that they need to skate in the morning. For them, they’ll tell you they feel better. So I think with time you’ll see less and less of that.” . . . Matt Bartkowski was the Bruins’ healthy scratch for the third straight game.Amalie Benjamin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.