Boston Bruins

Bruins to start with 'two No. 1' goaltenders

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Bruins to start with 'two No. 1' goaltenders

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
BOSTON -- There are two No. 1 goaltenders on the Boston Bruins.

Thats what the team said throughout Tuesdays media day, atleast.

If youre a Bruins fan, or even just a hockey fan, you know whatTim Thomas did last season. To keep it simple, he stood on his head. So muchso, that he was the hands-down winner of the Conn Smythe trophy, and picked uphis second-career Vezina Trophy along the way while leading the Bruins to aStanley Cup.

But having started 80 games last season (including theplayoffs), the 37-year-old Thomas is someone to keep an eye on this season, ifyoure the Bruins coaching staff.

I think a lot of it is just like last year, said Julienduring his media day press conference on Tuesday. We start off with two guysthat we call No. 1 goaltenders. And theyre still, in my mind, No. 1caliber goaltenders.

But as you saw last season, Timmy just took off, and wehad to ride the hot hat. The same thing happens this year, youve got twogoaltenders that are, in my eyes, No. 1 goaltenders. Were going to haveto see, as time goes on. The one thing thats pretty obvious, is that with theamount of games that we played last year, and where Tim is in his career,youve got to think about making sure he gets the proper rest, if we want toget the same performance from him."

Will Rask's role be bigger, then?

"We hope so," Julien said. "Butits not going to take anything away from the strength of our team. Ifanything, it will make it better, and give us some durability.

No doubt about it. And the fact that the 24-year-old Raskshould be fairly fresh after starting only 27 games last season, makes Juliensdecision to rest Thomas even easier.

The problem if there is one lies in the fact that Raskisnt just competitive. Hes ready to be a No. 1 goalie.

I didnt play too little last year, said Rask on Tuesday.I mean, I always want to play more.

I want to be a No. 1 goalie at some point, he added.And hopefully I can prove to be worth it.

But right now, Rask understands the situation, even if hewas the guy entering last season, after being Juliens go-to goaltender inthe playoffs two seasons ago. Now, Thomas is the go-to, and he understands itsa good situation to be in.

Its been a funny situation the past couple of years, saidRask. The other plays one year, and the other guy plays the other. But thingshappen, and it just goes differently every year. You dont think about it asyou go on, like, this is going to be my year. We just go game by game, and asthe coach says always, its a fair competition every night, and he tries to putus in the best spot out there.

Thomas was asked about his personal goals for the season, onTuesday. He responded with, You shoot for the same thing. Thats all you cando. That will evolve as the season goes on, to a certain extent.

He later said that around 55 games has been the usualnumber of regular-season games hes projected himself to play, leading up topast seasons.

But with his age, combined with the number of miles he rodelast season and a back-up goalie thats capable of being a No. 1, willthat number decrease this season?

Thomas said it depends on how the season goes.

If the teams on a roll and both goalies are winning, thenobviously you can play both goalies, said Thomas. If one goalies winning andthe other goalie isnt, then the goalie thats winning usually plays more.

You might be able to make like a five-game plan withgoalies . . . but if you go beyond five games, even within that five games, 50percent of the time the plans going to change. So you cant go any longer thanthat.

Any concerns with Thomas health were put to rest by the manhimself on Tuesday, as he said he carried no injuries with him into theoffseason, and carries none into the regular season, which begins on Thursdaynight.

Thomas decision to not tweak any part of his game in theoffseason does more than just suggest that he expects to start where he leftoff in the Stanley Cup Final. The words actually came out of his mouth.

If my games where it was for the playoffs last year, thenIm not going to worry about tweaking little details, he said. Im just goingto go with it.

Even if his game is where it was last year, the decision torest him more often may be something that hell also have to go with.

But Thomas isnt looking that far ahead.

Theres two goalies on a team, and we dont think ofourselves in terms of No. 1 and No. 2, said Thomas. "Thats mediatalk. I guess its traditional talk, but in todays NHL, its different. Were just two goalies, teammates, but of course, both ofus want to play. So thats the way it goes.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Kuraly 'keeping it simple' in camp after playoff success with Bruins

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Kuraly 'keeping it simple' in camp after playoff success with Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass – Just a few months ago, Sean Kuraly was the talk of the NHL world after a clutch two-goal performance in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The 24-year-old suited up for four of the B’s playoff games against the Senators after spending most of the season in Providence, and memorably scored a pair of goals – including the double-overtime winner – in an epic Game 5 win that took the series back to Boston. That’s not too shabby for a kid that had played just eight NHL games for the B’s during the regular season, but then really clicked with David Backes and Noel Acciari once the playoffs got rolling.

MORE: Thoughts and observations from first weekend of B's camp

Unsurprisingly, Kuraly now hopes to parlay that playoff confidence into carving out a roster spot for himself at the NHL level to start this season. It remains to be seen if that will happen in a crowded field of forwards, but Kuraly certainly has raised expectations heading into his second NHL training camp.

“For me the first thing is to put the [playoffs] behind you, realize it went well and then maybe realize that there’s another training camp and another year to go here,” said Kuraly, who said the coolest part of the Game 5 heroics was getting recognized for the first time while out to eat in Boston. “It’s just sticking to my game, knowing the things that worked and really keeping it simple. I think I just had a really clear role and it was communicated very clearly to me how I can help the team in the playoffs.

“It was pretty cool to see that I could help the team, and that a simple North/South kind of game is something that the team could use. Just use my body, use my speed and get pucks behind their ‘D’ while playing a good puck management game. Everyone is here to win a job, and I’m no different. I was trying to do the same thing last year, and I’m going to do the same thing this year [trying to] make the team. I’m hoping to do that in this camp.”

It’s easy to forget just how effective Kuraly was at the end of the season, but the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder finished with 10 shots on net in the four playoff games for the Black and Gold. Not only was he strong and heavy on the forecheck, but he was skating with great pace for a big man and seemed to have knocked all of the hesitation out of his game. That’s exactly what the Bruins coaching staff is looking for as they put together their roster to start the season.

It sure sounds like Kuraly has a good shot to least start the season as the 13th forward on the NHL roster, and it will be hard to keep him off the ice if he’s playing with the same determination he showed during the postseason. If Kuraly can summon a large percentage of what he showed in the playoffs, then it will be pretty difficult for the Bruins coaching staff to turn away from him.

“It’s hard to put a lot [of expectation] on him because it was a short window. It’s a different situation to me than Charlie [McAvoy], but it’s more of an excitement for me like ‘Can he bring that for us again this year from Day One?,” said Bruce Cassidy of Kuraly, who finished with 14 goals and 26 points in 54 games for the P-Bruins last season. “He brought a lot of energy and gave us an identity at the bottom of the lineup that was going to be hard to play against.

“And he created in the offensive end, and we didn’t know if that was going to come right now. It’s a bit like Noel [Acciari] where all of a sudden they were scoring and it was like ‘Wow.’ Those kinds of players are invaluable in April and May. Sometimes they get lost in the shuffle during the regular season. He went to Providence after the [Bruins elimination] but he wasn’t really able to play. Sometimes then you really see growth in players when they go out there with that kind of confidence. That’s the part we weren’t really sure about this summer, but he looks really good right now [in training camp]. Like a lot of guys these preseasons will be big to see what kind of steps they’ve taken.”

Kuraly won’t be in the lineup for Monday night’s preseason opener against the Canadiens, but it shouldn’t take long to notice him in the preseason if he’s playing the same heavy, high-energy game he did while elevating his game in the playoffs. 

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Morning Skate: The need for speed is taking over the NHL

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Morning Skate: The need for speed is taking over the NHL

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while it’s the start of a new week.

* FOH (Friend of Haggs) Josh Cooper has a piece on new Buffalo Sabres head coach Phil Housley as he gets ready for his first season behind the bench.

* Joffrey Lupul has apparently called out the Toronto Maple Leafs, in since-deleted Instagram posts, for some shady dealings with injured players. This is certainly not unique to Toronto, but it’s not often you see a player actually come out and say it.

* It was time for the Boston Bruins to get previewed by Sportsnet as part of their league-wide season preview, and they sound an optimistic tone about the Bruins returning to the playoffs provided they can fix their backup goaltending situation. I’d say that’s pretty fair, though I’d also say the Bruins need a couple of their young forwards to really step up as well.

* The letters to everybody in NHL training camp is a pretty amusing example of the different avenues that the NHL Athletic can go with their content.

* Interesting story out of Florida that Panthers GM Dale Tallon tried to trade back for Erik Gudbranson with Vancouver, but was nixed when Jason Demers used his no-trade clause to veto the deal

* The days of bulk and oversized NHL players is ending, and the need for speed is taking over the entire league. I can say with certainty that has been a point of discussion with some Bruins players early in this year’s training camp as well.

* For something completely different: I can honestly say I’ve never really thought very deeply about the sound of a woman’s voice announcing sports when I’ve heard it during a broadcast. I guess I can be glad about that after reading this New York Times piece.