Chara, Bergeron 'surprised' at Thomas sitting out season

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Chara, Bergeron 'surprised' at Thomas sitting out season

LAS VEGAS, NV Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron represent the bedrock of the leadership group with the Bruins dressing room. Theyre assisted by sage veterans like Chris Kelly and Andrew Ference, but its always been Chara and Bergeron addressing any issues within the Bruins dressing room head on.

So with both Chara and Bergeron at the Wynn Resort and Casino for the NHL Awards, it was finally time for the team conscience to weigh in on their All-Star goaltender walking away from the team.

Both said they were surprised that Tim Thomas has ostensibly decided that he doesnt want to play for the Bruins in the 2012-13 season, and that perhaps both parties were better off now.

I was surprised . . . I think I was surprised like everybody else, said Chara, while chatting with the media as a finalist attempting to win his second career Norris Trophy. Obviously he never mentioned anything to me, or maybe us as a team. But thats his decision. He probably has to deal with it.

Though Thomas never officially closed the door on playing next season during his infamous Facebook post about leaving hockey for friends, family and faith, it sounds like his Bruins teammates have already moved on.

Hes a mature person. If he says something then Im assuming he means it, said Chara. If he changes his mind then he changes his mind. But we have to be ready without him, and its as simple as that.

Chara said he hasnt been in contact with the 38-year-old goaltender after playing for Team Slovakia in the World Championships, and then taking his family to Florida to decompress for a few weeks after hockey season was over.

I was in the middle of spending some time with my family and really trying to stay away from hockey for a little bit, said Chara.

Bergeron was similarly surprised upon hearing the Thomas news, but has full faith that Tuukka Rask is ready for a starting job at 25 years old.

I was obviously surprised. Nobody was expecting it, said Bergeron. But at the same time its his decision. He said that it was to spend more time with his family and youve got to respect that.

Theres nothing I can say or judge that could make a difference. Im not one to judge. I know that Im fully confident in Tuukka that hes going to do the job. Hes obviously really young and hes got a lot of years ahead of him. Its a chance for him to seize the opportunity . . . I think hes ready to do that. For us its about doing the same thing weve been doing for the last couple of years and do the job.

The pathway is now clear for both Rask and 26-year-old Anton Khudobin to carve their own niches into the goaltending fraternity with Thomas out of the picture. Thomas was brilliant in winning two Vezina Trophies, a Stanley Cup and becoming a perennial All-Star goaltender.

But it also sounds like the Bruins decision-makers are ready for the dawn of a new era between the pipes in Boston.

Tuesday, Sept. 27: Jumbo Joe energizes Team Canada

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Tuesday, Sept. 27: Jumbo Joe energizes Team Canada

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering exactly what “semi-exact” means.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Josh Cooper has a piece on Jumbo Joe Thornton bringing an ageless energy to Team Canada.

*If you’re wondering where former B’s farmhand goaltender Jeremy Smith ended up, he’s now with the Colorado Avalanche.

*The Hockey News believes that the Bruins will be back in the playoffs this season after a two-year absence.

*While I appreciate the Hockey News linking to my work, I feel like it’s a key piece of info that I’m the Bruins Insider for CSN New England and not NESN.

*Is Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger the man with the plan to defeat a Team Canada juggernaut in the World Cup of Hockey.

*Dustin Byfuglien had an interesting take on the World Cup after flaming out with Team USA: “It is what it is. I didn’t really enjoy it.”

*For something completely different: this is not your father’s Converse, but it’s a sleek look that the kids are gonna love.

 

 

Young Bruins ‘acquitted themselves well’ in preseason debut

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Young Bruins ‘acquitted themselves well’ in preseason debut

BOSTON – It was an excellent night for the many varied Bruins prospects in the preseason opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The B’s eventually dropped the game in a 3-2 shootout loss at TD Garden, but not before some of their young players showed exactly what they can do.

“For sure it’s a lot of fun. Coming in here everybody’s a little nervous, but it was, once you’re out there, it’s just fun. It was good to see the young guys out there,” said former University of Denver standout Danton Heinen, who scored the tying strike in the third period on a redirect. “It was definitely adjusting. You don’t totally know what to expect and then once the game went on I kind of felt a little more comfortable. We started playing better as a team.”

Former first-round pick Jake DeBrusk set up the B’s first goal with Jimmy Hayes by executing a nifty give-and-go at the Columbus net, and young skaters Jakub Zboril and Austin Czarnik made the initial transition passes that led up to the goal. In the third period Danton Heinen redirected a Brandon Carlo point shot from the slot area, and scored in his first career game played at TD Garden in an impressive show of hand-eye coordination.

Carlo, Czarnik, DeBrusk, Zboril and Heinen all had strong performances on the score sheet and at both ends of the ice, and that’s exactly what the Bruins coaching staff wanted to see with NHL jobs potentially up for grabs in main camp.

“A lot of young players in the lineup, I won’t go through all of them, but I thought quite a few of them acquitted themselves well,” said Bruins assistant coach Bruce Cassidy. “They were given opportunities to do that. I think some of them certainly took advantage of it, and did a nice job.”

It was good that the young players stepped up and made a nice impression in the preseason debut because the veteran players will cut into their opportunities once the World Cup of Hockey crew gets sprinkled into the mix starting this week.