Chara, Bergeron 'surprised' at Thomas sitting out season

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Chara, Bergeron 'surprised' at Thomas sitting out season

LAS VEGAS, NV Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron represent the bedrock of the leadership group with the Bruins dressing room. Theyre assisted by sage veterans like Chris Kelly and Andrew Ference, but its always been Chara and Bergeron addressing any issues within the Bruins dressing room head on.

So with both Chara and Bergeron at the Wynn Resort and Casino for the NHL Awards, it was finally time for the team conscience to weigh in on their All-Star goaltender walking away from the team.

Both said they were surprised that Tim Thomas has ostensibly decided that he doesnt want to play for the Bruins in the 2012-13 season, and that perhaps both parties were better off now.

I was surprised . . . I think I was surprised like everybody else, said Chara, while chatting with the media as a finalist attempting to win his second career Norris Trophy. Obviously he never mentioned anything to me, or maybe us as a team. But thats his decision. He probably has to deal with it.

Though Thomas never officially closed the door on playing next season during his infamous Facebook post about leaving hockey for friends, family and faith, it sounds like his Bruins teammates have already moved on.

Hes a mature person. If he says something then Im assuming he means it, said Chara. If he changes his mind then he changes his mind. But we have to be ready without him, and its as simple as that.

Chara said he hasnt been in contact with the 38-year-old goaltender after playing for Team Slovakia in the World Championships, and then taking his family to Florida to decompress for a few weeks after hockey season was over.

I was in the middle of spending some time with my family and really trying to stay away from hockey for a little bit, said Chara.

Bergeron was similarly surprised upon hearing the Thomas news, but has full faith that Tuukka Rask is ready for a starting job at 25 years old.

I was obviously surprised. Nobody was expecting it, said Bergeron. But at the same time its his decision. He said that it was to spend more time with his family and youve got to respect that.

Theres nothing I can say or judge that could make a difference. Im not one to judge. I know that Im fully confident in Tuukka that hes going to do the job. Hes obviously really young and hes got a lot of years ahead of him. Its a chance for him to seize the opportunity . . . I think hes ready to do that. For us its about doing the same thing weve been doing for the last couple of years and do the job.

The pathway is now clear for both Rask and 26-year-old Anton Khudobin to carve their own niches into the goaltending fraternity with Thomas out of the picture. Thomas was brilliant in winning two Vezina Trophies, a Stanley Cup and becoming a perennial All-Star goaltender.

But it also sounds like the Bruins decision-makers are ready for the dawn of a new era between the pipes in Boston.

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.
 

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.