Thomas postgame reaction raises questions

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Thomas postgame reaction raises questions

BOSTON -- Tim Thomas noticeably used the pronoun "they" -- not "we" -- when discussing his Bruins teammates at multiple points after Bostons Game 7 loss to the Washington Capitals.

The 38-year-old goaltender, who is clearly intent on being viewed as an individual first and foremost, was good but not spectacular in his teams 2-1 loss to the Capitals. A tipped puck beat him for the first goal, then Mike Knuble barreled over him in overtime before Joel Ward scored the dagger.

Thomas now enters an offseason filled with the unknown.

He's entering the final year of his contract, and his no-trade clause expires this offseason. Plus, the Bruins will likely have 25-year-old Tuukka Rask (a restricted free agent) waiting in the wings.

Thomas showed some signs last night that he may be anticipating a trade.

Some observers said they spotted him stepping on the Bruins logo in the middle of the home dressing room -- a definite no-no -- after the game was over.

Then there were the references to therest of the Bruins team as they at least five times during his postgame interview. If one were a conspiracy theoristitsounds like there is a clear separation of State and Tim Thomas going on.

"What it says about our guys is that theyre battlers and theyre still champions," he said. "They gave everything they had to the bitter end. Unfortunately this is sports and they fell short this time."

The remarks were consistent with Thomas' tendency to paint himself as an individual.

He made waves when he skipped the team's visit to the White House earlier this season, a statement that many within the Bs organization felt created an unneeded distraction. His subsequent posts to his Facebook page only exacerbated the issue.

After that, many speculated that Thomas and the Bruins would part ways when the season was over. And perhaps Thomas wants to go. Perhaps he's had enough of the Bruins after they didn't back him staunchly enough following the White House imbroglio.

But before he can be dealt, the team must answer a few questions.

Is a combination of Rask and Anton Khudobin ready to take over as the goaltending tandem? And what might the Bruins get in return?

It would have been difficult for the Bruins to trade Thomas if he had put together another magical postseason this year, but that didn't happen. The Capitals made sure of it. His .923 save percentage only ranked 11th among playoff goaltenders.

The Capitals stuck to their game plan. They made it very difficult for us to generate any offense or any momentum with the style that they played, said Thomas.

Then Thomas launched into his "they" not "we" comments.

Was it a verbal slip? Or was it the first sign that the goaltender and his team are headed for a permanent breakup this summer?

Stay turned to Thomas Facebook page, which should be lighting up with context clues any day now.

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

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Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston. 

 

 

Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

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Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while looking forward to watching the Luke Cage Netflix series.

*The Cult of Hockey has no issues with yours truly ranking the Edmonton Oilers 29th out of 30 teams in my first preseason NHL power rankings.

*An interesting piece about Brian McGrattan and his battle with alcohol in his career as an NHL tough guy. I can honestly say having covered him a bit when he was in the Bruins organization that he was one of the scariest dudes I’ve ever talked to in an NHL dressing room. A nice guy, but very intense and always looked like he definitely enjoyed his work on the ice.

*Dennis Seidenberg hopped on with the Hockey Central crew today to talk about his new contract with the New York Islanders.

*PHT writer and Friend of Haggs (FOH) Mike Halford has Guy Boucher with some serious Dion Phaneuf love going on in Ottawa.

*Jack Eichel is oozing confidence and swagger in his second NHL season with Buffalo looking to make a big step up this season.

*Scott Burnside said that the World Cup of Hockey could be coming to an end tonight and I think most predict that it will with a little bit of an anticlimactic thud due to the sheer awesomeness of Team Canada.

*For something completely different: “Aleppo Moment” sounds like a great name for a rock band. Not so much for a Presidential candidate.