B's to Thomas: Don't you ever change

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B's to Thomas: Don't you ever change

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; The Bruins dont have a problem with Tim Thomas goaltendingstyle. They made that clear on Sunday at the TD Garden, after returning toBoston.

Thomas overtime blunder that caught him out of position forAlex Burrows' wrap-around game-winner 11 seconds into overtime on Saturdaynight was the hot topic of conversation one day later. But the Bruins wantedno part of it.

I have a pretty good idea of how to play goalie, saidThomas when asked if he felt he needed to make adjustments to his goaltendingstyle. Im not going to be taking suggestions or advice at this time. So Imjust going to keep playing the way I have.

His way isnt alwayspretty. But its worked most of the time, as Thomas is one of the major reasonsthe Bruins are four wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup.

Problem is, the Vancouver Canucks are now only two wins awayfrom the capturing the same prize, after Thomas mostly reliable, sometimesoutrageous style led to Burrows Game 2 overtime winner, which gave the Canucksa 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final.

Burrows came in hard down the left wing with Zdeno Chararight on him and Thomas decided to not only come out of the net to cut offthe angle, but he also chose to lunge at Burrows as he took the puck behind thenet.

The result was a wide open net, a Burrows wrap-around, and a2-0 series lead for Vancouver.

A day later, the Bruins are defending their goaltender, andthey dont believe he needs to change anything.

All year long weve played in front of Timmy Thomas, and tome, hes a Vezina Trophy winner, said coach Claude Julien. We are hereright now because his contribution has been really good. For us to be sittinghere, having to answer those kind of questions, is ridiculous to me.

Hes won a Vezina Trophy already, as I mentioned. Hesprobably going to win one this year, in my mind anyway, for what hes done. Soto question his way of playing is really looking for something to talk about.

Yesterday, he made some unbelievable saves to keep us inthe game, added Julien. So if we want to focus on that last goal -- which Ithink theres a lot of other players who could have done a better job -- isfocusing on the wrong thing.

Once Thomas came out of the net, there was still anopportunity to stop Burrows from wrapping the puck around the far post and intothe net. Chara was right on him, but couldnt find a way to slow him down.

Still, the sentiment in the Bruins room at the TD Garden onSunday was, win as a team, lose as a team.

And that comes with Thomas playing the way he always has.

We play the same way in front of Timmy, at leastpersonally, for as long as Ive been here, said Chara. And hes got his ownstyle, and I dont think anything is wrong with it. Its been really successfulfor him. Hes really, as we all know, hes probably one of the best, if not thebest goaltender in the league. So I dont see why we should change the way weplay or the way should he change the way he plays.

Danny Picard is onTwitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

Cassidy quells goaltender controversy: 'Tuukka's our No. 1 goalie'

Cassidy quells goaltender controversy: 'Tuukka's our No. 1 goalie'

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While the sequence of events over the past couple of days could understandably lead one to wonder who will start between the pipes for the Bruins on Tuesday night vs. Nashville, interim coach Bruce Cassidy tried to quell any hint of a goalie controversy.

The vote of confidence was certainly needed after Anton Khudobin’s fifth consecutive win halted the B's four-game losing streak with a huge 2-1 victory over the Islanders on Saturday night in the wake of Rask’s absence while tending to a short-term lower body issue.  

“[Rask] had a good practice today. I spoke with him. We’ll see how he wakes up tomorrow and we’ll make our decision. He’s our No. 1 goalie, so there’s no way we can skirt our way around that issue. He’s our No. 1 and his health is very important. When he’s physically ready to go and he tells me that, then we’ll make that decision,” said Cassidy. “He’s a guy that’s played a lot of hockey this year...and he’s not a 240-pound goaltender that can handle all of the games, all of the workload every year. We know that. I’m not going to put limitations on him, but we probably overused him at the start of the year. At this time of year, it gets tougher and tougher with any player that’s been overplayed.

“That’s why we have two goaltender, and [Anton Khudobin] has really stepped up in that last stretch and done what’s asked of him. He’s fixed that area of our game. It’s nice to have a guy that’s your No. 2 that can win you hockey games and play well. It’s a great problem to have, to be honest with you. But Tuukka is our No. 1. But Tuukka is our No. 1. He’s our guy.”

Rask declared himself fit to play after going through a full Monday practice with no issues, but said he’s still waiting to hear the final word on whether he’ll play on Tuesday night vs. the Predators. The Bruins franchise goalie also said he isn’t worried about any recurrence of the lower body injury that “popped up” in the Tampa Bay loss Thursday night, which really doesn’t bring any clarity to the entire situation.

“It was a good day back on the ice. I feel good. We’ll see what the decision is [for the Nashville game], but I feel good today,” said Rask, who is 8-8 with a .892 save percentage and a 2.91 goals-against average since the All-Star break, compared to Khudobin’s 2-0-0 with a .920 save percentage and 1.98 goals-against average. “You need to put the best lineup out as possible, and I wasn’t in any shape to play. So, there are no easy decisions this time of year, but I’ve played a lot of hockey and injuries happen. We talked to the training staff and managers and came to a decision that [Khudobin] was going to play the game, and that’s it.

“It’s obviously tough from a personal standpoint, but it’s never about one guy or two guys. It’s a team game and I feel confident that we’re going to get the job done as long as we play the way we did. It was great to see.”

Clearly, it looks like Rask is going to play vs. Nashville and that’s the safe, easy decision when it comes to a No. 1 goalie getting paid $7 million a season and perhaps it all works out with a fired up Finnish netminder after sitting out Saturday night. But nobody is going to be faulted if they wonder what’s going to wrong with Rask ahead of the next gigantic game Boston will have to play with the Stanley Cup playoffs on the line. 

Krejci leaves practice early with 'upper body issue'

Krejci leaves practice early with 'upper body issue'

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins returned to work on Monday after a big win over the weekend, but were one man down by the end of practice at Warrior Ice Arena. David Krejci exited the ice early on Monday and coach Bruce Cassidy said that the playmaking center is battling a bit of an upper body issue.

That was the reason for his abbreviated practice appearance ahead of the game Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden.

“He’s got a bit of an upper body issue, he’s got a little discomfort,” said Cassidy of Krejci, who has one point and a minus-4 rating over his past four games. “He got treated and I believe he’ll be fine tomorrow. I don’t think it’s anything major, but I can’t speculate [on it]. But that’s the issue.”

There was no play that sticks out from the Saturday night win over the Islanders were Krejci might have hurt himself, but the team’s hope is obviously that it’s something the 30-year-old can keep playing through.

With Krejci having left the ice, Ryan Spooner bumped up to the second line with the following line combos and D-pairings finishing out an hour-long practice:

 
Marchand-Bergeron-Backes

Stafford-Spooner-Pastrnak

Vatrano-Nash-Hayes

Beleskey-Moore-Acciari

 
Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

C. Miller-K. Miller

 
Rask