Beers: Don't expect Thomas' workload to decrease

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Beers: Don't expect Thomas' workload to decrease

Tim Thomas has slumped with the rest of the Bruins over the last few months, which raises concerns among those who feel the B's need the Thomas of 2010-11 -- the impregnable last line of defense -- to defend their Stanley Cup championship.

Making it worse is the injury to Tuukka Rask and the ineptitude of newly acquired Marty Turco, which is forcing coach Claude Julien to lean on Thomas as Boston attempts to hold off Ottawa for first place in the Northeast Division (and second or third place in Eastern Conference) down the stretch.

But Bob Beers, the ex-B's defenseman who now serves as analyst on the Bruins' radio broadcasts, doesn't think Julien has a choice.

"It's really important for them to finish second in the conference," Beers told Lou Merloni on 'Sports Sunday'. "That gives them home-ice advantage for the first round. That's imperative for them right now. And Thomas gives you the best chance to do that."
Beers says it's obvious Thomas is playing tired - "Look at his age; look at how many games he's played . . . He played the 25 games in the playoffs last year. He went deep. June 15 was the last game." -- and there could be little things Julien can do to to keep him rested.

"They don't have that many back-to-back games, so you get a day in between, you give him some rest in between, you give him a rest maybe on game days where you don't skate him in the morning," said Beers. "Whatever the case is, try to get him his rest."

Just don't expect to see much of Turco unless the Bruins can put some space between themselves and the Senators.

"If you can open up a little lead over Ottawa -- you've got the games in hand, you get a few point lead -- then maybe you'll see a little bit of a change," sand Beers. "But I don't see them deviating from Thomas being the guy right now."

That being the case, Thomas' strong performance against the Flyers in Saturday's overtime win was a hopeful sign. But Beers warns not to take too much out of it.

"That game against Philadelphia was encouraging, but I'm not convinced yet that he's out of his slump," said Beers. "It's only one game."

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.