Rask appreciative of Thomas as friend, mentor


Rask appreciative of Thomas as friend, mentor

Tuukka Rask would probably qualify as Tim Thomas closest teammate on the current Bruins roster.
After all, they were goaltending partners over the last three seasons in Boston, and goalies tend to be a little removed from the rest of the players in your garden variety hockey dressing room.
But even Rask was surprised by Thomas decision to walk away from the Bruins and sit out the 2012-13 hockey season while living with his family on their new Colorado compound.
I was surprised and I wasnt. I wasnt expecting him to do that, obviously. But I really appreciate what hes done and his decision to be with his family while taking some time away from hockey, said Rask. It really didnt shock me that much. I am more sad to see him leave because we had a connection and a friendship going on. But Im sure hes happy where he is and that he gets to spend time with his family.
Everybody knew that he was tired because he had played a lot over the last couple of years, but it didnt seem like he was exhausted mentally or anything like that. It will be a little bit weird with him not sitting next to me, but Ill have to get used to it.
The surprise was tinged with a level of appreciation that Thomas unorthodox decision has opened the door for Rask to finally take over Bostons starting reigns. But one thing Rask and Thomas had never talked about was the outspoken goalies opinions about politics, lifestyles or pretty much anything outside the arena of hockey.
So Rask didnt have much of an opinion about any of Thomas politics.
I look at things a little differently because hes a friend of mine. I dont really care what he says on Facebook or whatever. We dont talk about that kind of stuff and hes always been good to me. I had been home for two or three days in Finland when Thomas decided to take the year off and somebody called me about it, said Rask. It takes the excitement out of it for you guys in the media. There was always this controversy going around thats gone now, but maybe it will be between me and Anton Khudobin next year. Who knows?
Everybody wants to start. If he steps back and takes a look at his situation and then comes back, then he comes back. But I just need to go out and do whatever I can like always.
The Finnish goalie said he hasnt contacted Thomas because his cell phone wasnt working in Finland, but that hed be reaching out to his puck-stopping mentor in the next few days.

Claude Julien on David Ortiz: 'Finishing in style, you don't see that very often'

Claude Julien on David Ortiz: 'Finishing in style, you don't see that very often'

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It hasn’t been difficult to spot Claude Julien randomly at Fenway Park on a nice summer night in Boston over the past ten years. The Bruins coach doesn’t hide his affection for the Old Towne Team. 

So, Julien didn’t waste much time before sharing his thoughts on the final season for David Ortiz and the celebration of his Hall of Fame-worthy career that’s going on at the Fens this weekend.

It might have been a chore when the rest of the Team Canada coaching staff was watching the Toronto Blue Jackets during the World Cup of Hockey, but Julien never strayed too far away from his Red Stockings.

“He’s finishing in style, and you don’t see that very often,” said Claude Julien of Big Papi, who was sitting with numbers of .316 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI that border on the ridiculous at 40 years old. 

“A lot of times when people retire the game has caught up to them big time. Not him. He doesn’t seem to have missed a beat here. I’m pretty impressed with how he’s handled this year, and what he’s done. If I’m correct he just hit the home run last night for the game-winner.

“But as you know I was in Blue Jays land for about two weeks, so I had to keep a low profile. They were watching the Blue Jays and I’m Canadian too...but I was watching the Red Sox. So, it was healthy competition for our [World Cup] coaching staff.”

The most intriguing part about all is that the best is still yet to come for Ortiz in his farewell tour as he gets one more chance to clutch up in the postseason. It'll give Julien more to marvel at over the next few weeks while showing again why Big Papi will go down as the greatest clutch hitter in the history of Major League Baseball. 


Acciari returns from lower body injury to Bruins practice


Acciari returns from lower body injury to Bruins practice

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It must have been a relatively minor lower body ailment for fourth-line center candidate Noel Acciari as he returned to the training camp ice for regular practice on Saturday morning at Warrior Ice Arena.

Acciari had hobbled off the ice in the third period of Wednesday night’ s preseason loss to the Red Wings with what appeared to be a right leg injury and the Providence College alum wasn’t on the ice the following day for training camp practice. 

But Acciari tested things out with the young players after Friday’s training camp sessions, and then was back in the mix for the Black and Gold full force on Saturday.

That’s good news for the 24-year-old Acciari, who was his usual hard-hitting and energetic self while centering Justin Hickman and Anton Blidh in the loss to the Red Wings.

“I feel good. Ready to go again,” said Acciari. “I wish we could have done a little more out there. It was my first game back out there for a while, but there’s definitely room for improvement.”

Acciari is referencing playing with the puck, and being a little more offensive-minded, as the areas where he wants to improve this season after not showing much prowess in the offensive zone last season. 

Acciari was a tough customer and unafraid to throw his body at even the biggest and strongest opponents in his blue-collar 19-game stint in Boston last season, but he also managed just a single assist along with a minus-4 rating.

So, that’s someplace where he feels he can show a bit more after posting seven goals and 19 points in a half-season for Providence last year.

“Just coming off last year, I was in a more defensive mentality. Now this year with a couple of games under my belt, I have a little more confidence to produce more offensively like I know that I can,” said Acciari. “I think the defensive part of the game and the checking is more my strong suit, but I know I can contribute offensively. As I get more comfortable around the team, I know I can help out producing points, and stuff like that.”

Staying healthy and showing some offensive “stuff” could help Acciari in his battle for an NHL roster spot out of camp where Riley Nash, Dominic Moore (who was pulled from Friday night's lineup vs. Detroit with a minor physical ailment) and Austin Czarnik among others are vying for potential fourth-line center spots.