Notes: Thomas can't beat Quick


Notes: Thomas can't beat Quick

By JoeHaggerty

LOS ANGELES Tim Thomas might not have known that Jonathan Quick was born and bred as a New Englander when asked about his goaltending counterpart after Monday nights 2-0 loss to the Kings at the Staples Center.Its pretty clear that the Connecticut resident and former UMass standout gets all kinds of jacked up to play the Bruins team he grew up watching while living in a neighboring state, and Quick improved to 5-0 in his career against the Black and Gold after a 34 save shutout Monday.Thomas was pretty good in his own right while making 32 saves for the Bruins including a couple of beauties against Michael Handzus and Jarret Stoll but hasnt managed to beat the Kings in any of his last five appearances against Quick backed by hockey royalty."If we scored, that could have been a momentum changer and probably the whole game is different, said Tim Thomas. "He Quick always seems to play a good game against me. I don't know if he gets his rivalry juices up, but having said that they scored both their goals on the doorstep.Thomas then went to articulate how little a price was being paid by the forwards crashing the net and the defensemen pinching down in a shutout defeat that featured no sustained offense from the Bruins. Thomas saw the fortunate bounces all the way from the opposite side of the ice, but there were no crashing, hustling teammates ready to take advantage of them.I can't remember a doorstep chance that we got off a rebound or a puck laying there. The chances were there, but we weren't there." Shawn Thornton recognized the dull edge to his team early in the game, and picked a fight with Kings winger Kyle Clifford that turned into an extended bout between the two combatants. Both players traded some pretty good blows before skating to their respective dressing rooms.Unfortunately Blake Wheeler waswhistled ona questionableholding the stick penalty minutes later that wiped out any possible momentum gain from Thorntons fisticuffs. Monday night was Bostons first shutout loss since a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks on Dec. 20. By the end of Mondays loss the fourth line and Patrice Bergerons line were kept intact, and things had been shuffled so that Blake Wheeler, Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton were skating together and Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Michael Ryder were paired together on a top scoring line.Its understandable that it would take a game or two for each of the forward combinations to gel together in the absence of Marc Savard, but anybody watching the game could see it was about paying the price. In Bostons case it was about being unwilling to pay the price for goals and offense after spending four days on the West Coast.I dont think there was much offense from any line, said Julien. There was just nothing. You couldnt get anything out of any of the lines offensively. The Bruins were 0-for-3 on the power play with little flow or movement in a Marc Savard-less world, and only managed six shots on net in those man advantage chances. This will be the most difficult adjustment without No. 91 around to help distribute the puck on Bostons special teams opportunities.One had to wonder if part of Mondays lifeless vibe had to do with the team learning of Savard's diagnosis in the hours leading up to puck drop, but one Bruins player assured that had nothing to do with what happened on the ice. It appears the LA Kings adopted a game plan that may become more prevalent with Steve Kampfer as time goes on: Hit Kampfer hard and hit him often. Every chance the Kings had, that's what they did to the slick defenseman. Dustin Brown blasted him up high with a shoulder to the head area in the corner that shook Kampfer up during the second period, and slowed him down a bit in a few shifts following that. The more success Kampfer has, the more hes going to be met with that punishing physicality and need to succeed in spite of that. The NHL announced today that goaltender Tim Thomas has been named the First Star of the Week, for the week ending January 22. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos and New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur are the second and third stars, respectively.Thomas won all three of his starts last week for the Bruins, going 3-0-0 with one shutout and allowed just four goals on 106 shots (.962 save percentage). He made 31 saves in the clubs 7-0 win over the Hurricanes on Monday, January 17 and followed that up with a 43-save performance during Bostons 3-2 win over Carolina on Tuesday. Thomas finished his week with a 32-save effort in Colorado on Saturday.For the season, Thomas currently leads all NHL goaltenders in goals against average, save percentage and is tied for the league lead in shutouts with seven. This is his third separate Star honor of the season, as he was named the First Star of the Week (October 31) and Second Star of the Month (October) earlier this year.The Boston Bruins Foundation will donate 1,000 in Thomas name to the childrens charity of his choice the second time this season that Thomas has been the First Star and earned a donation to his charity of choice.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Chara: 'A great honor' to be nominated for Masterton Trophy

Chara: 'A great honor' to be nominated for Masterton Trophy

It takes only the highest levels of perseverance and dedication to the game to log over 1,300 NHL games and to play past your 40th birthday. Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara has both of those qualities in overflowing amounts as the fourth oldest player in the league behind Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr, Arizona Coyotes forward Shane Doan and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cullen. Chara is also the second longest tenured captain in the league behind Doan, who has been the captain of the Coyotes since 2003.

For all those reasons and more, Chara has been voted by the Boston Chapter of the PWHA (Professional Hockey Writers Association) as the Bruins nominee for the Masterton Trophy given to the player that best exemplifies “the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”

The Bruins captain has also been the embodiment of good sportsmanship in his 11 years as captain of the Black and Gold while leading teams with his steady, hard-working hand through both epic highs and lows. Chara is always at the forefront of the Bruins charitable efforts and has shown his dedication to the game by nearly always participating for his Slovakian homeland whether it’s world championships, the Olympics or the World Cup as the setting for the International tournament.

It all comes back to Chara’s love for the game, his dedication to setting an example as a professional and his enjoyment of the hard work required to play in the NHL for 18 plus seasons.

“From my first day in the NHL until today it is an absolute thrill to play in the league,” said Chara. “It’s a great honor to be nominated. I always take a lot of pride in doing my job as a professional, and doing it right. Doing all of my work on and off the ice. I’ve always felt really humble about being a part of this league and this game. It’s a game that gives you so much in life, and helps you become a better person and a better hockey player each day.

“I’m just enjoying my time with team and my teammates, and cherish the memories of winning. I just try to work every day on my game and improve. I enjoy every day whether I was 20 years old or 40 years old. I love the game, and I love everything about it.”

Chara had missed only 41 games for the Bruins in his first 10 seasons with the team in a remarkable show of durability and toughness while playing the role a physical defensive stopper. He's never shied away from the big hits, the big players or the big ice time totals. The veteran D-man is having a banner season as a 40-year-old that started out by leading Team Europe to the World Cup Final against Team Canada, and it’s continued with his season-long mentoring job helping develop 20-year-old rookie defenseman Brandon Carlo.

Chara has changed a bit from his Norris Trophy days while adjusting his game to reduced levels of physicality and out-and-out dominance, but the ability to still call on both of those qualities at 40 years old is unique for an intimidating 6-foot-9 force out on the ice. Equally impressive is his standing as a No. 1 defenseman at this point in his 18-plus year career while constantly dedicated to improving himself, and learning, both on and off ice. Perhaps Chara’s most underrated quality is his ability to move the puck and chip in offensively, a set of skills that will see him pass the 600-point milestone this season after a career built in part on a big slap shot from the point.

It’s also a great example of Chara remaking himself into more of a puck-mover and power play point producer when he was projected to be a good defense/limited offense shutdown defenseman all those years ago working his way through the Islanders’ ranks.

Chara continues to be a strong lead-by-example personality within the Bruins dressing room, one who demands hard work and total dedication to both the game and the team concept when it comes to his Boston teammates.

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.