Bruins respectfully move on from Tim Thomas era

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Bruins respectfully move on from Tim Thomas era

Its safe to say the Bruins players had turned the page Bob Segar-style long before Thursdays deal that sent Tim Thomas to the New York Islanders.

Its a paper transaction as far as Im concerned, said Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton matter-of-factly of the deal that sent the former Bruins goaltender to the Isles in exchange for a second round pick in either the 2014 or 2015 NHL draft if Thomas ever reports to New York for goaltending duty.

Certainly there was still an appreciation for a Bruins goalie who made four All-Star appearances during his career in Boston, captured a pair of Vezina Trophies and led the Bs to an unforgettable Stanley Cup title in Conn Smythe style. No matter what Thomas believed politically or what he might have deigned to post on Facebook, his teammates supported him as long as the best goaltender on the planet was his closing act.

He was a great goaltender and I definitely appreciated what he did for this hockey club. You look at the solid five years that he put together was probably better than any other goalie in the league from 2007-08 to last season, said Milan Lucic. Obviously he was a big part of the team winning a Stanley Cup here and things didnt end off the way everybody had hoped. Its time for everybody to move on. But youve got to appreciate the effort he put forth for this hockey club because he did give it his all . . . hes got two Vezinas and a Conn Smythe to show for it.

Most teammates echoed Lucics sentiments about respect for Thomas contributions and perhaps a slight tinge of lament at the way things ended for him in Boston. Bruins coach Claude Julien stressed the respect word when speaking about Thomas, and the way he performed during the coachs five years managing the goaltender with the eccentric personality.

I have a lot of respect for Tim Thomas for what hes accomplished, said Julien. As a player: a two-Vezina Trophy winner, a Stanley Cup champion and an MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Hes done a lot. Even for those that view him differently as a person, I never had an issue with Tim. He had his own thoughts and ideas as a player and you run into that all the time as a coach.

There are different personalities in that dressing room that you deal with, and you learn as a coach that you have to respect them for who they are. It doesnt mean there arent times where you talked about the differences, but you always worked it out.

Tim wasnt a bad person and Ive been very clear on that. Hes a person that was pretty strong in his own views at times, but was never a bad person. Thats why we never viewed his as a distraction at times. He was a guy that thought differently. Guys said all the time that as long as he stops pucks then were okay with it.

The trade to the Isles became necessary when Thomas decided he no longer wanted to stop pucks for the Bruins, and instead opted to focus on faith, friends and family while putting Boston in a bind. The Bruins, in essence, were just happy to have the 5 million cap liability lifted from their books.

A year ago a Tim Thomas trade would have yielded much more than a conditional second round pick for the Bruins organization, but his value plummeted once he announced his NHL sabbatical.

But thats now the challenge for Islanders GM Garth Snow and the Isles players should Thomas ever show up at Nassau Coliseum with his goaltending gear ready to continue his NHL career.

The window has closed on his time in Boston, and everyone at TD Garden has respectfully moved on with their hockey lives.

STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

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STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh rookie Jake Guentzel beat Nashville's Pekka Rinne with 3:17 left in regulation to put the Penguins ahead to stay in a 5-3 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.

Guentzel snapped an eight-game goalless drought to help the defending champions escape after blowing a three-goal lead.

Nick Bonino scored twice for the Penguins. Conor Sheary scored his first of the playoffs and Evgeni Malkin scored his eighth. The Penguins won despite putting just 12 shots on goal. Murray finished with 23 saves for the Penguins, who used the first coach's challenge in finals history to wipe out an early Nashville goal and held on despite going an astonishing 37:09 at one point without a shot.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Predators. Rinne stopped just seven shots.

The Penguins had all of three days to get ready for the final following a draining slog through the Eastern Conference that included a pair of Game 7 victories, the second a double-overtime thriller against Ottawa last Thursday.

Pittsburgh downplayed the notion it was fatigued, figuring adrenaline and a shot at making history would make up for any lack of jump while playing their 108th game in the last calendar year.

Maybe, but the Penguins looked a step behind at the outset. The Predators, who crashed the NHL's biggest stage for the first time behind Rinne and a group of talented defenseman, were hardly intimidated by the stakes, the crowd or the defending champions.

All the guys from the place dubbed "Smashville" have to show for it is their first deficit of the playoffs on a night a fan threw a catfish onto the ice to try and give the Predators a taste of home.

The Penguins, who led the league in scoring, stressed before Game 1 that the best way to keep the Predators at bay was by taking the puck and spending copious amounts of time around Rinne. It didn't happen, mostly because Nashville's forecheck pinned the Penguins in their own end. Clearing attempts were knocked down or outright swiped, tilting the ice heavily in front of Murray.

Yet Pittsburgh managed to build a quick 3-0 lead anyway thanks to a fortunate bounce and some quick thinking by Penguins video coordinator Andy Saucier. Part of his job title is to alert coach Mike Sullivan when to challenge a call. The moment came 12:47 into the first when P.K. Subban sent a slap shot by Murray that appeared to give the Predators the lead.

Sullivan used his coach's challenge, arguing Nashville forward Filip Forsberg was offside. A lengthy review indicated Forsberg's right skate was in the air as he brought the puck into a zone, a no-no.

It temporarily deflated Nashville and gave the Penguins all the wiggle room they needed to take charge.

Malkin scored on a 5-on-3 15:32 into the first, Sheary made it 2-0 just 65 seconds later and when Nick Bonino's innocent centering pass smacked off Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm's left knee and by Rinne just 17 seconds before the end of the period, Pittsburgh was in full command.

It looked like a repeat of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa, when the Penguins poured in four goals in the first period of a 7-0 rout.

Nashville, unlike the Senators, didn't bail. Instead they rallied.

Ellis scored the first goal by a Predator in a Stanley Cup Final 8:21 into the second. Though Nashville didn't get another one by Murray, they also kept Rinne downright bored at the other end. Pittsburgh didn't manage a shot on net in the second period, the first time it's happened in a playoff game in franchise history.

Nashville kept coming. Sissons beat Murray 10:06 into the third and Gaudreau tied it just after a fruitless Pittsburgh power play.

No matter. The Penguins have become chameleons under Sullivan. They can win with both firepower and precision.

Guentzel slipped one by Rinne with 3:17 to go in regulation and Bonino added an empty netter to give Pittsburgh early control of the series.

Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

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Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while hoping everybody on this Memorial Day takes some time to appreciate all of those that made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. We should also take a moment to say thanks to people like the three heroes in Oregon that stood up to a hateful bigot earlier this week, and in doing so reaffirmed what the majority of people living in the US believe we are all about while trying to live up to that ideal every day.
 
-- A number of NHL legends are shaking their heads at the dirty play that we’re seeing in these playoffs, particularly those plays targeting the superstars that people pay big money to see in the postseason. Why should anybody be shocked by this? The rooting out of enforcers, and fighting, has taken accountability out of the game for the cheap-shot artists and dirty players, and leaves little real deterrant for players looking to take out opponents with dangerous plays. I wrote about this a couple of years ago when the NHL threw the book at Shawn Thornton for going after Brooks Orpik, and in doing so chose to protect somebody trying to hurt opponents (Orpik) and punish somebody trying to protect his teammates (Thornton). It was a sea change for the league, and something players didn’t forget as more and more enforcers were quickly weeded out of the NHL. This is what the rule-makers and legislators wanted, and now it’s what they’re getting just a couple of years later with dangerous stick-work, cheap shots and a general lack of respect for fellow players.
 
-- Here's why the Tampa Bay Lightning would consider trading a player like Jonathan Drouin, and the major impact that could have on the offseason trade market.
 
-- Down Goes Brown has a Stanley Cup Final rooting guide for the other 28 other fan bases now that Nashville and Pittsburgh are in the final series.

-- So which goaltender has the edge in the Stanley Cup Final: Nashville's Pekka Rinne, or Pittsburgh's two-headed monster of Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury?
 
-- Scotty Bowman says winning back-to-back Stanley Cup titles has become monumentally difficult since the advent of the salary cap.
 
-- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are pushing each other to be betters, and showing exactly how a team should be led by its superstars in the salary-cap era for the league.
 
-- For something completely different: We can confirm through this report that a lot of hot dogs are eaten in the summertime. So glad we have people to research these kinds of things.