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.

Monday, Jan. 15: Matthews jersey sells for big money

Monday, Jan. 15: Matthews jersey sells for big money

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wondering what Claude Julien would do if one of the Bruins players was running Facebook Live during his postgame comments.
 
*Auston Matthews is obviously making a huge impression in Toronto as his Centennial Classic jersey sold for over $11,000 at a charity auction.
 
*Clark Booth knows it’s time to talk about the NFL, but instead he wants to talk about Milt Schmidt. I agree with Clark.

*Sabres goalie Robin Lehner says that his Buffalo teammates need to start doing their job as the season circles down the drain.

*Pierre McGuire talks with TSN sports radio about the Ottawa Senators, and the tough road trip coming up for them.
 
*PHT writer Cam Tucker has more bad news for the Tampa Bay Lightning as Ryan Callahan is going to be out for another four weeks with a lower body injury.
 
*As the Detroit Red Wings continue to round up the bottom in the Atlantic Division, Thomas Vanek may become trade bait.
 
*Peter Budaj is giving the Kings the saves that they need with Jonathan Quick out long term with injury.
 
*For something completely different: Tom E. Curran points out some togetherness issues with the Pittsburgh Steelers based on Antonio Brown’s Facebook post.
 

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- The Bruins are going through a nice, little bountiful stretch of offense right now after a half-season of struggle.

The Bruins are averaging more than three goals per game in their last 12 contests, and have scored a whopping 22 goals in their last six games including dropping six scores on the Flyers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Combine that with the 7-for-25 performance on the power play during the month of January, and things are finally starting to catch up with a Bruins team that was all shoot/no score for months of frustrating hockey this season.

“If you want sustained success then you have to be good defensively, but you also have to score some goals. That’s definitely part of it and we have to keep it going,” said Patrice Bergeron, who has four goals and eight points in his last nine games after struggling out of the starting gate. “You’re not going to get rewarded every night like we did [against the Flyers], but you have to find that consistency where you’re close to having that every night.”

One thing nobody should expect out of the B’s, however, is to get outside of what they do well now that they’ve started slapping some numbers up on the board. Instead the Bruins are intent on their bedrock of disciplined defense and sensational goaltending with the added offense just making it much tougher to beat them these days.

“I don’t know if we can stand here and say we’re going to sustain that we’re scoring lots of goals. I think what we need to sustain here is winning more games than we lose,” said Claude Julien. “That’s what we’ve got to sustain. Whether it’s a 1-0 or 2-1 game, or it’s a 5-2 or 5-3 game it doesn’t really matter. It’s about winning hockey games much more than it’s about how much you scored, and how much you don’t score.

“Overall when I look at the scoring chances we’re giving up per game, that doesn’t seem to have changed. Goals allowed may have changed a little bit lately, but overall I think we’ve been very steady in that area [of defense].”

So now the Bruins will again be looking for that ideal balance of offense/defense when they take the ice against the Islanders on Monday afternoon for their second straight matinee at TD Garden.