Posts Tagged ‘Tim Thomas’

Hardware Hopeful

March 29, 2011

tim thomas vezina 2011

Now that the regular season is actually nearing the end, (rather than one week old when some people started handing out trophies) talk and predictions of post-season awards seems to be the Soup Du Jour on a lot of news sites and blogs today. Far be it from me to ignore a passing bandwagon.

From a Bruins perspective, the news centers around Tim Thomas, the current leader in GAA and Saves Percentage amongst NHL goaltenders, and his hopes for a second Vezina Trophy. Jesse Connolly at the Black and Gold Blog makes a great case as to why Thomas should win it. I agree completely. Aside from a brief dip in numbers due, likely, to fatigue, The Tank has lead the race from wire to wire and is most deserving.

The best line on the subject, however, comes from Down Goes Brown is an article entitled Handicapping The NHL Awards Race. On Timmy’s Vezina chances:

Tim Thomas – Has a fantastic goals against average thanks to not actually facing a shot on net ever since Zdeno Chara started standing at the blue line during pregame warm ups, pointing to the stanchion and cracking his knuckles.

DGB may be locked into some repetetive fare of late but you have to admit that one is spit your coffee on the keyboard level funny.

Meanwhile, TSN has an excellent article on rookie impact and you realize what a great year it’s been for freshmen in the NHL and just how tight a race the Calder might be this season. Three worthy goaltenders, Corey Crawford, Sergei Bobrovsky and James Reimer, and three potential 30-goal scorers, Michael Grabner, Logan Couture and Jeff Skinner (if he can pot a couple more) amongst eligible rookies is quite the bumber crop.

Hart Trophy talk seems to center around the usual candidates at the top of the scoring stats column, and another Sedin twin. I tend to dislike the notion of just handing the award to the gent with the most points. I prefer the classic definition of the award being an MVP award, most valuable to your team’s success. A player on a winning, playoff-bound team without whom the club would not be anywhere near as good. A player they could not live without. In the case of the Canucks, not only are there other players who have contributed mightily like Roberto Luongo and Ryan Kesler, but one them is an exact duplicate of Daniel Sedin.

To me, the one player who exemplifies that definition most clearly is the man we started this post talking about: Tim Thomas. Without him the Boston Bruins might be barely hanging on to an eighth place playoff spot if any. Anyone who has watched the team game in and game out will understand my thinking on this. Thomas has literally, at times, saved the Bruins’ season. In fact, the same might be said for Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers, to a slightly lesser extent.

So, there you go. Call me a homer but Tim Thomas for the Vezina and the Hart.

For your consideration.


Negative Creep

December 29, 2010

Last night’s 4-3 win in Tampa Bay against an extremely decent Lightning team gave the Bruins two consecutive road wins on back-to-back nights and 3 wins in a row overall. Thay have lept over the Canadiens for the Northeast Division lead. Steve Kampfer scored his first NHL goal. Mark Recchi scored the game-winner on a power play resulting from a questionable boarding call on superstar Steven Stamkos with just 19 seconds left in the game.

All is right with the world. Right?

Not so fast. I feel like there are still a lot of troubling issues with this Bruins team right now. Let us discuss.

Line combinations. Everyone is talking about the reuininting of the Krejci-Wheeler-Ryder like it’s some sort of revelation, a genius move that sparked the offense. While they have showed some of the chemistry from a few years back in these initial games I feel like it’s not the best move in the long term because of what it’s done to the other lines.

Marc Savard is not ready to be a first line center in the NHL again. Not yet, anyway. The first line that had been so effective has been flat of late and, while Milan Lucic continues to generate scoring chances, Nathan Horton seems to have gone completely cold and I see no connection whatsoever between the two wingers and their new center. If there was a need to switch Krejci out of that spot to fire up his game then I think the more effective Patrice Bergeron should have been moved into that spot, as he was when Krejci was injured.

Meanwhile, Tyler Seguin is seeming a bit lost out there, a man without a spot, now riding the wing with Bergeron and Recchi who work reasonable well together. Seguin doesn’t seem to fit on that line, really. Guys who grind, work hard and are responsible defensively and a youngster who is all speed and potential offense. It doesn’t work for me and it seems Julien has slotted the young forward there as a default position because there are no other slots. I’m thinking even Daniel Paille would look better on that line.

What’s the solution? Why not give Savard and Seguin another chance together and limit their ice time? Keep Recchi with them. The old guy could use the rest. It’s a potentially dangerous offensive unit if used correctly, against other team’s lesser units. Meanwhile, more productive centers like Bergeron and Krejci are paired with more productive wingers.

More negative thoughts from your favorite font of bitterness.

Milan Lucic needs to be more of a leader. It would seem he was built for the role, a big, physical winger who can score and inspire the team. However, what I see from him these days is less hitting, less physicality and more whining. A half season as a successful goal-scorer seems to have gone directly to his head and the hard-working, buzzing, emotional leader has been replaced by a guy who, because of his reputation for on-the-edge dirty play and his constant whining to the refs, is getting called for a lot of penalties lately. He may be young but he’s been around long enough to understand his role as a potential leader here. The team needs more from him in that department.

Leadership on the whole is an issue with this team. Guys in place who are supposed to fill that role just seem too passive to me. Chara, Bergeron, Lucic, Horton. Veterans all and the team’s best players but guys who seem to do things too quietly. For some reason, also, I feel like no one in that room is going to listen to Marc Savard in that role. Another guy who just does too much whining on the ice.

Again, we wonder about the personell on the team. Ryder, Wheeler, Krejci. Quiet quys. Skilled players but lacking in that grit and fire that Bruins fans long to see.

In the end there remains something unsettling about this current Bruins team. Perhaps it’s PTSD from last year’s playoff collapse. I feel unconvinced that this is the team that can take us to the Promised Land and the Holy Chalice that awaits there. It seems it’s all about character right now or lack thereof.

Where can we find some?

Stamping Tampa

December 2, 2010

boston bruins

I’m pretty sure I heard Jack Edwards have a couple of actual on-air orgasms during the Bruins wildly entertaining 8-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at home tonight. In fact, after Mark Recchi scored the team’s seventh goal, he leapt from the broadcast booth into the stands and was body surfing the TD Garden crowd in a crucifiction pose. It was that much fun.

Some noteworthy events besides the offensive explosion and Edwards’ manic revelry.

  • The return of Marc Savard. He didn’t look too bad, actually, and I find myself drooling over what he and Tyler Seguin could possibly do skating together. That’s a shit-load of quickness and talent working together. Add in the reborn Michael Ryder and suddenly the B’s have another wickedly dangerous scoring line. Certainly tonight was a massive tease in that respect. We’ll see how it develops.
  • Dennis Seidenberg’s sleight of hand goal to make it 2-0 just before the end of the 1st was a little slice of genius, faking Mike Smith out of the net on a supposed dump-in that he fired right on goal before Smith could adjust. Love goals like that. Makes the goaltender look like a right fool, that’s for sure.
  • A consistent, relentless attack and regular displays of real emotion from the entire team. They looked on the same page, finally, from the opening face-off where Shawn Thornton was jousting and yapping with David Tyrell. Chara had a big hit and played well. Lucic was an ongoing concern. Boychuck busted out that cannon of a shot from the point. Seemed like the entire team came to play physically. A beautiful thing to watch and it leaves one dreaming of more of the same. The B’s play like that they will sure as hell win a lot more than they lose. Hopefully, they understand that now.
  • David Krejci was dominant. Masterful with the puck. When he’s on his game he makes it look absolutely effortless. Total control, easy little plays that either spring other’s for genuine scoring chances or create his own. I think his recovery from his own concussion may be complete now as he becomes less tenative and feels more comfortable out there. He looked good tonight.
  • All in all one of the more entertaining games I can remember seeing in ages.

    Now somebody go call Jack Edwards from out of the rafters where he’s been swinging around the banners screaming like an out of control chimpanzee. It’s time to turn the lights out so the Bull Gang can go home.


    More Jack Edwards Haiku

    December 2, 2010

    From the broadcast of tonight’s 3-0 shutout win over the Flyers in Philly.

      good night irene
      it’s three-zero and there’s not going to be
      a comeback tonight

    Tim Thomas now leads the league in all goaltending categories once again and earns his 5th shutout of the season. Milan Lucic leads the Bruins in goals with 11.

    Good win, exorcising some of last season’s demons but, more importantly, coming out with a decent start and playing hard from the first drop of the puck to the last buzzer.

    Not too much to ask after all, was it?


    Good Times Garden

    November 19, 2010

    Things are going well when a guy scores a hat trick and is the second star of the game.

    The party atmosphere at TD Garden was thanks to a phenomanal game by Tuukka Rask who made 41 saves to earn his first win of the year via a 4-0 shutout of the visiting Florida Panthers. The Bruins were a bit on their heels all night with Panther forwards buzzing around Rask’s goal but the young Finnish netminder rescued everyone’s bacon with save after save.

    In the end, it allowed Milan Lucic to slam home three goals for his second career hat trick. Cue the music and dancing. Fun times at the Beantown Rink.

    Lucic is blossoming in a big way this season. He’s becoming the sort of Power Forward that NHL scouts have wet dreams about. Big, nasty and talented. The puck is going in for him like never before in his career. One thing is certain, the man is finally healthy. I don’t think we can discount just how badly that high ankle sprain hampered his game last season. We all said it at the time. He wasn’t the same player.

    So welcome back, Looch. You have arrived in style, for sure.

    Nathan Horton had three assists on all three Lucic goals. The Bruins’ number one line, even without pivot David Krejci, is becoming one of the killer lines in the entire NHL. Something to keep other teams’ coaches awake at night before they play Boston.

    The fun part is that we all know the team can play better, too. With Krejci back and a guy like Boychuk shaking off the rust, the team’s performance will only improve. You now have what might be the best goaltending tandem in the entire League. Think about it. A recent Vezina winner currently leading the league in all goaltending statistical categories in Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask, the guy who finished the year as the leader in those same categories last season.

    It’s all going pretty well. Hell, Shawn Thornton has 4 goals. Talk about a gentleman who deserves a little success. Go toe-to-toe with the nastiest pugilists the NHL has to offer (last night it was Darcy Hordichuk) then go out an pop one in the net in the third period. How valuable is a guy who can do that and also play a solid defensive game on your grinding line? The Bruins seem to have all the puzzle pieces falling into place this season and last night was a great example of how excellent things can be when that happens.

    Good times, indeed.


    Homeward Bound

    October 12, 2010

    The Bruins wrapped up their Griswold family European Vacation Sunday with a 3-0 shutout of the Phoenix Coyotes in O2 Arena in Prague. It was an interesting, impressive performance for many reasons, not the least of which was to make up for the poor effort shown on Saturday in the 5-2 loss.

  • Tyler Seguin’s first NHL goal, a thing of beauty. He takes a Michael Ryder aerial lob pass out of the air for a clear breakaway, couple little dekes and flips it past Ilya Bryzgalov on the back hand. Clear goalscorer’s move and the joyous celebration of an 18 year old getting his first in the big show.
  • Tim Thomas, the underdog in the B’s goaltending tandem to Tuukka Rask, pitching a shutout and clearly saying to Bruins coaching, management and fans: “I’m still here, guys.” Look for the Tank to challenge for the No. 1 spot all the way. Just two years removed from the Vezina and now fully healthy, there’s no reason he couldn’t win it back.
  • The line of David Krejci, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic looks killer. Horton seems like a natural goal scorer and his release from his Floridian prison might very well do wonders for his game. Paired with a high level playmaker like Krejci and another big, skilled forward in Lucic, it seems like the best 3-man line combination the Bruins have had in ages. Until they have an off period and Claude Julien breaks them up, that is.
  • Seems like Zdeno Chara has been given the green light to get more involved with the offense. The team lacks a true offensive defenseman and I’m not sure that Big Z really has the hands to play that role on the team, to be honest. My feeling is that he can be the best defensive defenseman in the league with his size and reach and why push him to spend too much time up ice and take away from his responsibilities in his own end just because there’s no one else. It remains the team’s biggest need going forward. An offensive, puck moving defenseman of high calibre to compliment Chara. Find that and this team could be pretty near complete.
  • Some other bookkeeping notes. You all know about Chara’s new 7-year extension by now. The Bruins have also signed Brian McGrattan to a 1-year, two way deal to give the team some depth and added toughness.

    The B’s next game is this Saturday in New Jersey. Early reports have the Devils suiting up 5 forwards, 2 d-men and Ilya Kovalchuk in goal that night thanks to injuries, suspensions and waiver rules.


    2010-11 Season Preview

    October 6, 2010

    tyler seguin boston bruins

    It’s been an odd day already today in Boston sports. The Patriots seemingly shooting themselves in the foot by trading Randy Moss. The Red Sox ownership getting into the EPL by spending $500 Million on Liverpool FC. There’s a weird buzz in the air an on the local sports talk airwaves, I tell you.

    Seems like a great day to talk hockey, if you ask me.

    The Boston Bruins finished off their preseason schedule yesterday with a sound drubbing of Liberec of the Czech Elite league thanks to a 5-point effort from Patrice Bergeron and a goal each from youngsters Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron. Feel free to pencil in each of them to the opening night roster because they will undoubtedly be there.

    In my mind, much of the story in the early going might very well be about these two impressive rookies. Not since the team debuted Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov in 1997 has there been an infusion of youthful talent as exciting as what we’ll be seeing here this season. Granted, there are no guarantees of success for either of them but the outlook is good and they have shown in the preseason that they belong. With Marc Savard out and a clear dearth of scoring from the wing last season, it’s obvious that both are needed.

    Here’s how I see the roster that will start the season. Line combinations based less on what’s happened in the preseason and more on how I configure them in NHL 11. What? 16 years of playing EA Sports hockey games doesn’t qualify me to be an NHL head coach? Whatever.


    Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
    Blake Wheeler-Tyler Seguin-Mark Recchi
    Daniel Paille-Patrice Bergeron-Jordan Caron
    Shawn-Thornton-Gregory Campbell-Michael Ryder

    Extra: Brad Marchand or Brian McGrattan


    Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
    Mark Stuart-Johnny Boychuk
    Andrew Ference-Matt Hunwick

    Extra: Adam McQuaid


    Tuukka Rask
    Tim Thomas

    Not much in the way of surprises there. Not much in the way of controversy, either. The only real debate I can see is whether or not McGrattan sticks around as a spare forward, sending Marchand to Providence, or vice versa. Adam McQuaid seems the logical choice to be the bubble d-man but it’s possible Matt Bartkowski could leap over him on the depth chart with a strong preseason.

    Actually, the defense is my one area of concern going into the season. At the top, it would seem like an area of real strengh with Zdeno Chara as the anchor but I have to admit to not being sold on the supporting cast. There remain a lot of questions concerning health, depth and ability. Andrew Ference and Mark Stuart have had some serious injury problems over the past few seasons, to the extent that I seriously question the sanity of the contract extension the latter received this past season from Peter Chiarelli, a three year deal for $2.25 each. Especially considering the Bruins’ current salary dilemmas. If either goes down, there are going to be some fresh faced youths having to be called into action because the defensive depth chart now, including McQuaid, consists of youngsters like Bartkowski, Steve Kampfer or someone like Nathan McIver. Yuri Alexandrov and many of the other prospects training in Providence just don’t have enough elite professional experience in their pockets to be totally NHL ready.

    I could be wrong, though. We’ll certainly get the chance to see.

    Salary Caps are a bitch, aren’t they, Pete? Pain in the ass.

    It’s not an issue you can ignore when discussion the 2010-2011 Boston Bruins. We saw what the Chicago Blackhawks had to do in the offseason. Trade away half your team. No easy task but they managed to do it.

    The Bruins, however, did not. Marc Savard was not traded. Tim Thomas was not traded. Michael Ryder (what? a guy can dream, can’t he?) was not traded. Silly contracts like Ference’s were added. It became a tight squeeze to fit under the cap and I ask, as a hardcore Be A GM Mode player on NHL 11, how can you not be prepared for that? Gotta think ahead. Avoid and get rid of bad deals that hamstring your ability to make moves. Add depth.

    Wait. Did I say earlier there was no controversy or debate surrounding this year’s version of the team? What was I smoking?

    Here are just some of the other issues the team will face this season.

  • Marc Savard. Will he ever be healthy again and if he is, how will they make salary room for him on the team. The elephant in the room is the idea that the star center’s absence might be a bit of a relief for the team because it puts them under the cap temporarily. Before he fell ill, Marc Savard was on the trading block because the Bruins needed salary space. Now they have it. Plus the chance to see what it will be like to play without him, if he ever gets traded which seems unlikely right now, doesn’t it? Makes you think about the seven year deal that he just signed, as well.
  • Tim Thomas. Sitting there as a clear back-up but making $5 million for the next three. I hope he plays well this season, for his own sake. If it means he can be traded then it’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned. My bet is he dying to show folks that he’s still one hell of a competitor no matter his age or what not. The Tank is nothing if not a battler. Meanwhile, Rask remains entrenched as the number one, a potential goaltending star on the rise.
  • Then, of course, there’s the sting of, oh, I don’t know, something we refer to around here as just THE WORST FUCKING LOSS IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND. EVER. Up 3-0 in the series. Up 3-0 in game fucking seven at home in your own building. Jesusfuckingchristalmighty. How to live that down when many of the core members of that monumental choke are still on this team. I mean, Dennis Wideman wasn’t to blame for it all, folks.
  • Which leads me to one last controversy. Let’s talk about the so-called Hot Seat.

  • Claude Julien. Should he be on it for what happened in the playoffs last season and in previous campaigns? I’ve heard him making the injury excuse but the truth is his team had a tendency to fall flat and let teams walk all over them at other times during the season, too. Remember Pittsburgh? It was a theme last year. Let us not forget how bad they were at times. Will there be a return of the sort of commitment the team needs to be successful including a commitment to team toughness? Is that a fault of the coaching?
  • peter chiarelli claude julien

    I don’t know. Some might think Chiarelli more deserves the hot seat for his salary cap bumbling and his recent failures in the trade market. Nathan Horton was a nice move and the Phil Kessel deal was inspired but there has been little else for the GM to hang his hat on. Cam Neely is now looking down on him and the Sword of Damocles might very well be raised if his vision of the team does not begin to materialize this season. I’d feel more comfortable leading the charge for Chiarelli than Julien right now but there may come a time when they both go if things get bad again.

    Let’s just hope that doesn’t happen, eh? Let’s watch Seguin and Charon and Rask and see if they can become real players. Same thing goes for Blake Wheeler and Milan Lucic, for that matter. Can they be consistent producers on the wing? Goals, physical play, everything. That’s what the team needs from them, of that I am certain.

    Starting this Saturday in Prague, we’ll get see what happens.

    It won’t be boring I don’t think.


    UFA Time

    July 1, 2010

    I think the best thing I’ve seen relating to the commencement of the NHL’s Unrestricted Free Agent signing period today at noon might just be this little Sortable UFA Tracker that TSN has going on it’s website. A quick and easy way to see who’s going where, what they’re getting paid, which teams are stocking up, etc.

    I’m tired of all the talk about Ilya Kovalchuk. Frankly, I don’t care where he ends up. A decent enough goal scorer but yet to show he’s the sort of impact player that is going to inspire/carry a team to the Promised Land.

    I don’t expect a lot from the Bruins as the room on their roster and under their salary cap is extremely limited until they can trim some fat and the chances of that happening this off-season seem more and more remote as time goes on. Even if Savard or Thomas can be moved, they’ll be eating equivalent contracts in return I think.

    We’ll see when the Feeding Frenzy starts at noontime.


    Nobody Puts Chiarelli In A Corner

    June 29, 2010

    Except for himself, that is, according to Ryan Lambert over at Puck Daddy who puts forth a mildly scathing indictment of Peter Chiarelli and Bruins management and why they find themselves in the postion of desperately needing to trade Marc Savard and Tim Thomas.

    That Chiarelli would consider such a situation [trading Marc Savard] at all paints a fairly bleak picture of just how dire the Bruins’ salary cap situation really is, and perhaps of their pessimism for Savard’s health going forward. It’s possible the team is trying to roll the goodwill it has garnered from local fans in the last few months into coloring Tyler Seguin as an acceptable replacement both now and for the future, but it should be clear to everyone with an even passing interest in hockey what this really is: Damage control.

    Meanwhile, Matt Kalman points us to a radio interview with Brian Burke stating that Marc Savard is not on their immediate radar even though Toronto is rumored to be one of the two teams Savard waived his no-trade clause for.

    Chiarelli’s options are going to become very limited here and, with it fully out in the open that the B’s need to move these two guys, the trade market for them isn’t getting any easier. Teams are going to want to either steal them away or unload bad contracts for them in return.

    Sounds like a painted corner to me.


    Sunday Sizzle

    June 27, 2010

    Still a lot going on post-draft, a lot of movement and rumour surrounding the Boston Bruins and other teams around the league. As it happens, I don’t have a boat load of available free time this weekend to go into it like I want to as I’m working hard on a top secret project here at the house that I will gladly share with you folks when the plan comes to fruition.

    Meanwhile, a few tidbits:

    Vladimir Sobotaka was traded to the St. Louis Blues for Boston University defenseman David Warsofsky. Warsofsky already has some decent College and Team USA credentials and reportedly has some of the puck moving skills the B’s are constantly in search of.

    david warsofsky

    David Warsofsky, Boston University

    The Draft finished up yesterday. The Bruins filled out their card as follows.

  • 2nd Round, 32nd Overall: Jared Knight – C

    Born: Jan. 16, 1992
    Ht.: 5-11; Wt.: 186 Shoots: Right
    2009-10: London (OHL) – 63 GP, 36 G, 21 A, 57 PTS, 39 PIM

  • 2nd Round, 45th Overall: Ryan Spooner – C

    Born: Jan. 30, 1992
    Ht.: 5-10; Wt.: 172 Shoots: Left
    2009-10: Peterborough (OHL) – 47 GP, 19 G, 35 A, 54 PTS, 12 PIM

  • 4th Round, 97 Overall: Craig Cunningham – LW

    Born: Sept. 13, 1990
    Ht.: 5-9; Wt.: 175 Shoots: Right
    2009-10: Vancouver (WHL) – 72 GP, 37 G, 60 A, 97 PTS, 44

  • 5th Round, 135 Overall: Justin Florek – LW

    Born: May 18, 1990
    Ht.: 6-4; Wt.: 194 Shoots: Left
    2009-10: Northern Michigan (CCHA) – 41 GP, 12 G, 23 A, 35 PTS, 22 PIM

  • 6th Round, 165 Overall: Zane Gothberg – G

    Born: Aug. 20, 1992
    Ht.: 6-1; Wt.: 177
    2009-10: Three Rivers Falls HS (Minn.) – 25 GP, 1.84 GAA, .922 SV%

  • 7th Round, 195 Overall: Maxim Chudinov – D

    Born: March 25, 1990
    Ht.: 5-11; Wt.: 187 Shoots: Right
    2009-10: Cherepovets (KHL) – 47 GP, 6 G, 8 A, 14 PTS, 30 PIM

  • 7th Round, 210 Overall: Zach Trotman – D

    Born: Aug. 26, 1990
    Ht.: 6-3; Wt.: 195 Shoots: Right
    2009-10: Lake Superior St. (CCHA): 36 GP, 2 G, 6 A, 8 PTS, 18 PIM

  • Oh, and in case you hadn’t noticed, Tyler Seguin with the number two overall pick. Three centers with the first three picks. Couple wingers a goalie and two d-men taken late. The B’s strength down the middle gets even stronger.

    Rumours continued to swirl around Marc Savard and Tim Thomas, who has reportedly waived his no-trade clause, but no movement as of yet.