NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

October 30, 2012

Bruins' Julien coaches youth team

HAVERHILL — Claude Julien returned to the bench on Sunday, leading a group of young players to a tight victory. And this was one impressive team, too.

The Boston Bruins coach was the special guest instructor for a youth team that won a charity raffle for his services. He helped direct Winthrop to a 3-2 victory over Watertown.

“I had a lot of fun today,” the 52-year-old Julien said. “It certainly brought back a lot of memories.”

Julien addressed the team made up of 8- and 9-year-olds before and after the game. He also met with the other team and signed autographs for as long as it took for everyone to get items signed.

While everyone enjoyed the experience, Julien is anxious to return to his regular job.

NHL owners have locked out the players for the third time since Commissioner Gary Bettman took office in 1993, including a work stoppage that canceled the entire 2004-05 season.

“That’s something I have no control about,” Julien said. “Unfortunately, I’m just a bystander like everybody else, waiting for the signal to go back to work - and that’s all I know and that’s all I can say.

“Like anybody else, I think the fans want to see hockey back. I’m no different and I think the people that are involved in those negotiations want the same thing as well. That should be underlined.”

Julien isn’t permitted to talk to his players, but he has heard about some Bruins who got “banged up” playing over in Europe. Goalie Tuukka Rask injured his groin, and Julien was asked about upper body injuries for Rask and Patrice Bergeron.

“That’s going to happen,” said Julien, who was coaching Montreal when the 2004-05 season was wiped out by the labor dispute. “Our players are banged up all year long. You knock on wood and you hope that nothing serious happens. Being banged up is part of the process. I wouldn’t expect them to all come out of there with absolutely nothing because that means they didn’t get involved much.

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