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.

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious. 

Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

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Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It’s a bit of a helpless feeling for an NHL general manager watching their star players participate in an intense hockey tournament like the World Cup of Hockey that doesn’t directly benefit their respective teams.

Not helpless because of the tournament’s outcome, obviously, but helpless because players could return from Toronto dinged up, or even worse significantly injured.

Aaron Ekblad had to shut it down for Team North American with what many speculated was a concussion, and Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray is out a month, or more, with a broken hand sustained playing for the same young guns team.

So, it certainly must have been an uneasy few moments for Don Sweeney when Brad Marchand was pulled from Team Canada’s last game for the concussion protocol after a nasty-looking collision with Team Europe forward Marian Hossa.

Marchand went through the testing, and ended up returning to the game no worse for the wear. But it could have been a lot worse for a Bruins team that can’t afford to be missing Marchand, Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara, who are still playing for teams alive in the semifinal round of the tourney.

“I would expect all of us to have been in a similar situation. For everybody - any general manager, coaches, staff, you're concerned about [injuries],” said Sweeney, talking about the World Cup and Marchand’s close call. “I mean, especially when you realize the stakes are going to go up as the tournament goes along. The pride involved - it's a risk. There's no question, it's a risk.

“But you also want to see them play their best hockey and they're not going to hold back. Yeah, it's a definite concern. You've got your fingers and toes crossed.”

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask have already returned to Boston fully healthy. David Backes should be joining the team anytime now after Team USA’s rude dismissal from the tournament. But Sweeney and the Bruins still have their sensors out for the three B’s players taking part that aren’t quite out of the woods yet before returning to B’s camp in one piece.