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.

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while thinking about and praying for the people of Manchester, England. It’s obviously an evil, cowardly act to bomb any public place, but to do it at a concert filled with women and children is the lowest of the low.

*The Capitals players are acknowledging that there’s some kind of mental block with the Stanley Cup playoffs. CSN Mid-Atlantic has all the details.

*It’s been a very odd postseason for the NHL where there are so many non-traditional teams still alive with the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Fina, and the Ottawa Senators fighting for their lives in the Eastern Conference Final. On that note, there is a ton of disappointment at the empty seats at the Canadian Tire Centre for Ottawa’s home games in the playoffs. It sounds like there are going to be empty seats tonight for a do-or-die Game 6 in Ottawa. That is an embarrassment for a Canadian city that’s supposed to pride itself on their love of hockey. Let’s hope the Senators fans have a last-minute surge to buy tickets and show some appreciation for a Senators team that’s given the Ottawa fans a totally unexpected ride through the postseason this spring. I mean, Erik Karlsson at the top of his game is worth the price of admission all by himself.  

*The Pittsburgh Penguins have the Senators on the ropes, and it’s been an impressive showing given that they’re doing it without Kris Letang.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the ownership for the St. Louis Blues giving their GM Doug Armstrong a vote of confidence.

*Another early exit from the playoffs is going to start making some players expendable on the New York Rangers roster.

*Here’s a good piece on how David Poile built the Nashville Predators, who have reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. Give credit where it’s due: He manned up and made a big move dealing away Shea Weber straight up for PK Subban. It’s really worked for Music City as they’ve stepped to the next level.

*Speaking of Nashville’s rise this spring in a wide open Western Conference, Pekka Rinne has silenced the critics he might have had by carrying his team to the Cup Final.

*For something completely different: Boston law enforcement is on high alert after the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in the UK.

 

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right.