Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien has an appealing Everyman quality to him. He is rarely bombastic, mostly understated and often affable, but he's never, ever at ease in the spotlight.
He was asked Sunday if there was some ego that lurked somewhere deep inside that craved attention.
"No," he said.
"Because I don't care about that part of it. I enjoy my work. If I could come to work every day, do this stuff, then walk out of the rink and nobody knew who I was, I'd be the happiest guy in the world. That's just the way I am. It's my personality," Julien said.
"I love my job. I love what I do. I hate coming up here every day," he said from his perch at a podium in front of several dozen journalists.
"But, no, it's just the way I am. I enjoy the job. I enjoy being around players. I enjoy the whole process of this work. Love my job. Just don't like the limelight that comes with it. I'm low-profile. That's just the way I am."
Campbell along for the ride
Gregory Campbell, who suffered a broken right fibula while blocking a shot against Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference finals, had surgery to repair the injury and so did not travel to Chicago for the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals. That will change this week and as the series goes along, Julien said.
"I think had it not been for the surgery that close to the start of the finals, he would have been with us. He's going to be with us from here on in. You're going to see him around here," Julien said.
"He wants to be around the team. We want him around the team. He's part of our family. You'll get to see him. When we go back to Chicago, it will be the same thing."
Essensa a crease character
The Bruins are one of those teams in the NHL that does not allow its assistant coaches to comment on players. But Julien had high praise for longtime goaltending coach and former NHLer Bob Essensa for his work with the Bruins’ goaltenders and specifically Tuukka Rask.
Well, sort of high praise.
"Well, he's annoying to us coaches. That's why we don't have him here all the time. He's quite a character," Julien joked of Essensa.
"They're like goalies, right? He's a funny individual," Julien quipped.
On a serious note, though, Julien said Essensa’s approach, which is to teach to a goalie’s individual strengths as opposed to trying to impose a specific style, has served the team well.
"Having said that, he has that personality as a coach that he does keep the players loose," Julien said. "He is a funny guy. At the same time, he does a real outstanding job with our goaltenders and with dissecting obviously every other teams' goaltenders when it comes to that stuff. He spends a lot of time doing that.
"What I like about Bob the most is he can work with any kind of the goaltenders," the Bruins coach said. "When you look at Tim Thomas, you look at Tuukka Rask, you have two great goaltenders with two obviously different styles. He doesn't mold the goaltender into his style; he strengthens that goaltender into his style. That's where Bob excels. He worked with Tim. Tim is a competitor. Basically Tim, all he wanted to do was stop the puck. He had a style, but a lot of times you saw him, even when he got out of position, he was a great battler. You don't take that stuff away from him.
"[Essensa has] been a real good asset. Again, he's well-liked by everybody. When I say that, players love him, and so do we in the coaching room. But he does get annoying sometimes."
Gasp for Rask
Speaking of Rask, when the former Toronto Maple Leaf prospect was traded to the Boston Bruins for netminder Andrew Raycroft in June 2006, former netminder Glenn Healy, now a national broadcast analyst, was on the draft room floor.
He said there was an audible gasp from at least three clubs when the trade was announced.
"Probably one of the worst trades the Leafs have made in the last 20 years," Healy told ESPN.com. "It was like, 'What?' That kind of 'wow' moment."