Chiarelli admits Thomas' Bruins career might be over

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Chiarelli admits Thomas' Bruins career might be over

Peter Chiarelli wanted to make one thing clear about Tim Thomas.

He never definitively said the 38-year-old Bruins goaltender was sitting out the 2012-13 hockey season, and its clear Thomas never made things so cut-and-dry in the Facebook post read around the hockey world.

Chiarelli did speak with the goaltender in between conversations with Thomas agent Bill Zito and came away with one clear observation: there seem to be no absolutes with the Thomas situation as he walks away in the prime of his career.

I read somewhere the other day that I said it was definitive he wasnt coming back. Nothing is definitive, I guess, said Chiarelli, during a Thursday interview with CSNNE.com. He may change his mind. Im just operating under the assumption hes not coming back. I was really surprised when I first heard. My first reaction was suspicion because Im as much a conspiracy theorist as everybody else. The wheels were turning in my head as a lawyer.

But I talked to Tim and he said Pete, Im just tired. Its time for me to take the year and Im seriously considering it. The time hes telling me in advance certainly helps us out, but hes a goalie maybe in the prime of his career because success came later for him. Anything is possible and Im sure we havent heard the end of it. But I respect his decision that he wants to spend more time with his family and other things.

But the Bruins GM didnt shy away from the question when asked if Thomas might have played his last game as a member of the Boston Bruins. It would be an anticlimactic end to a mythic Bs career that included two Vezina Trophies, a Conn Smythe Trophy, a Stanley Cup championship and four All-Star appearances, but it might be the end all the same.

I dont know. Youve got a goalie in Tuukka Rask, who is ready or close to ready to be a starter. He has to do it over a period of time to cement it, but weve seen what he can do . . . hes close, said Chiarelli. Timmy and Tuukka are close. Tim has never said this, but he might just be thinking that its Tuukkas time to play.

Ive said Im operating under the assumption hes not back, so we may end up making moves based on him not being back. If thats the case then it might be that hes done with the Bruins. I dont know where that story goes, but its a different wrinkle every other day.

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t show anything on the ice in Monday afternoon’s 4-0 matinee loss, and that’s not really any kind of an overstatement.

The scoring chances were almost nonexistent despite 32 shots on net, the second period was dreadful as the Bruins gave up three goals over the course of a six minute span and there was zero added urgency in the third period once the B’s fell behind. The emotion was missing from the drop of the puck to open the game and it never showed up once the Islanders began taking control of the game.

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It was a bitterly disappointing result after the Black and Gold had played so well in their previous five games, and put in strong, winning efforts against the Panthers, Blues and Flyers.

On Monday afternoon, the passes were sloppy and errant all over the ice, there was zero physicality and the Bruins buckled once the Isles turned the intensity up just a little bit in the second period. The game was basically over once Nikolay Kulemin snapped one home wide open from the slot area with Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid and David Krejci all blowing their defensive assignments, and then Tuukka Rask followed it up by allowing a softie to Josh Bailey from a bad angle close to net.  

So Bruins head coach Claude Julien termed it a “flat” performance once it was all over with, and openly wondered whether it was fatigue-related result linked to the compacted schedule Boston has played through this season. Monday marked the seventh straight day that the Bruins held some kind of formal skate, though most of the veteran B's players stayed off the ice during last week's Wednesday off-day practice in Nashville.   

“We were flat tonight, obviously, flat from the get-go. I think that first half of the game, we didn’t give much until they scored that first goal. We were able to stay in, but we certainly weren’t generating much ourselves, from that point of view,” said Claude Julien. “His is really the first year, for me as well, going through a condensed schedule, and I’m certainly not using that as an excuse, is it fatigue?. . . But we were flat tonight. How do you explain it? I don’t know. I know that it’s frustrating. I know that it’s disappointing. That’s all I can say.

“Whether it’s mental fatigue, whatever it is. We made some mistakes tonight like, from the goals you look at, we weren’t even in the position that we’re normally in. So we were totally out of whack, as far as even defending. When you give that first goal that much room in the middle of the ice, your D’s go on the wrong side, your weak-side forward is way on the other side, and you open up the slot area, that’s something I haven’t seen much of this year. I think it said a lot from our game tonight.”

The compacted schedule certainly could be a factor for a Bruins team that’s played more games than anybody else in the Eastern Conference to this point, but the B’s also had 48 hours to recharge after winning a Saturday matinee over the Flyers. So the fatigue excuse seems a little far-fetched for a hockey club that’s no-showed a few too many times this season, and did it again on Monday afternoon against one of the worst teams in the NHL.