Club record for straight wins a distant goal for Thomas

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Club record for straight wins a distant goal for Thomas

There are two truths about Tim Thomas.

The 37-year-old goaltender is a great aficionado of hockey history, and is always looking for motivation any place he can find it.

And Thomas -- who got a nice little honor Thursday morning when he was named the NHLs No. 1 Star for the month of November with a 9-0-0 record with a .941 save percentage -- may be able to put the two of them together for his next accomplishment of note.When asked about Bostons 12-0-1 record in the month of November, Thomas mentioned Gerry Cheevers' remarkable record of 32 games without a loss, set during the Bruins' Stanley Cup-championship season of 1971-72. There are marks of greatness for goaltending, andCheever's streak of going 24-0-8 without a regulation loss is unquestionably one of them.

Its an NHL record that still stands, and while Thomas admits his nine-game unbeaten streak is a long, long way from the record books, it's something he's aware of. And once the B's goaltender is made aware of something he can shoot for, he sets it in his sights and usually accomplishes it.The team clearly has something to do with it as well, and both the Bruins and Thomas don't show many signs of slowing down.

Its so far away that I cant even look that far ahead, said Thomas. The reason weve had success this month is because weve refused to look past any other teams on the schedule. I would expect that to continue moving forward.

Thomas' nine-game winning streak is a career high, but it's still little more than a quarter of the way to Cheevers' mark. Still, it would be pretty cool if the Bs goaltender could catch up to the record set by his puck-stopping ancestor in Black and Gold, and perhaps give the Bruins the mother of all win streaks after last years mastery in nearly all goaltender categories.If anybody is capable of it look no further than the second goalie in NHL history to earn the Vezina Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup in the same season.

Cheevers consecutive wins streak would be something amazing to shoot for, but Im not even halfway there, said Thomas. It wasnt even on my radar.Well, after talking about it something usually ends up somewhere on Thomas' radar. That's not necessarily a bad thing when you're the best goaltender in the world and actually capable of reaching those kinds of heights.

Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

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Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while in disbelief mode that the summer is almost over.

*Good piece on the remainders of the Hartford Whalers organization in Connecticut trying to keep the dream alive for the Whale.

*Tyler Seguin sits down for a podcast this week that I freely admit I did not have the time to listen to. I wonder if Boston even rated a mention in the conversation?

*Rating the top NHL contracts, according to the fancy stats hockey analysts, sounds like an interesting exercise.

*Tracey Myers has Duncan Keith bowing out of the World Cup of Hockey while recovering from an injury, and getting replaced by Jay Boumeester.

*The “Da Beauty” Hockey League has kept players like Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan McDonagh and David Backes in hockey shape this summer while slowly getting ready for the season.

*The Arizona Coyotes make a historic hire by naming Dawn Braid as skating coach, making her the first female coach in the NHL.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Rich Shirtenlieb guested on the #DORK podcast this week, and it sounds like he didn’t love “Stranger Things.” At the very least he liked “Preacher” better. I thought Preacher was entertaining, but I didn’t even think it was in the same stratosphere as Stranger Things. Rich also has me wanting to watch “It Follows” now, however, after his endorsement.

 

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.