Chiarelli 'not inclined' to trade Thomas

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Chiarelli 'not inclined' to trade Thomas

While the speculation exists that the Bruins organization or goaltender Tim Thomas or perhaps both might be eyeing a parting of the ways via a deal this summer, Bs general manager Peter Chiarelli said the team hasnt crossed that bridge yet.

The 38-year-old Thomas is entering the final year of his contract with the Bruins, and the Bs goaltender was good-but-not-great during a seven-game series loss to the Washington Capitals.

Thomas finished 11th in save percentage among playoff goalies after putting together a pedestrian .922 save percentage during the regular season, and he coughed it up in Game 5 at TD Garden with a couple of soft goals surrendered in the third period.

With two young goaltenders in the Bs pipeline in Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin and Thomas experiencing low moments on and off the ice during the regular season, Chiarelli said hes satisfied with the status quo from his goalies. Thomas no-trade rights are gone as of July 1 and his contract could be attractive now to a team starved for goaltending, but thats not a bridge hes crossed.

I view it the same way I saw it going into the last summer: the biggest difference being Tuukka Rask obviously didnt play towards the end because of his injury. Theres no uncertainty there with regards to Rask being back and healthy, said Chiarelli. I know Ive seen speculation about moving a goalie and all that stuff, but certainly Im not inclined to do that. Tim didnt have statistically the year he had before, but I thought he had a very good year. We have, if not the best, one of the top three goalie tandems in the league.

Thomas wouldnt come right out and clearly say whether he definitely wanted to stay in Boston or go elsewhere, and simply said he never thinks about it in those terms. He was asked about playing the rest of his days as a Boston Bruins and retiring as a member of the organization and his answer wasnt an unqualified yes.

Its so early why even get into that? said Thomas. Who knows how long Ill playor not? Well cross that bridge when I get there.

He also said he wouldnt change anything he did either on or off the ice during the regular season, and that includes skipping out on the White House visit back in January.

I did the best I could. On and off the ice I tried to do what I felt was right. I tried to prepare myself as much as possible to do the best job I could do on the ice, said Thomas. Thats obviously the most important thing as a hockey player.

Thomas for his part clarified his wethey statements after Game 7 by saying he was using the word they to make sure his teammates were getting credit without him involving himself in the complimentary statements.

Its because Im trying to give them credit without giving credit to myself. They deserve a huge amount of credit. Dont read too much in the theyus thing, please. What Im trying to say is that this is a special group of guys in here. Whether we won the Cup last year or whether we failed this time. Its a special group of guys that bodes well for the future of the Boston Bruins.

How much longer will Thomas be a member of that special group? It could be a year, it could be longer than that or he could have played his final game as a member of the Black and Gold as one of their best goaltenders in a long history of greats.

The summer should be full of answers for both Thomas and the organization after a playoff run that never lived up to anybodys expectations.

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.