Thomas and Price engage in rare goalie fight

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Thomas and Price engage in rare goalie fight

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON There have been plenty of fights and scraps over the lengthy history of the rivalry between the Bruins and the Canadiens, but not many like this.

Two separate line brawls took place including a bloody mess that included Gregory Campbell tuning up Tom Pyatt with 40 seconds left go in the game and the two heated division rivals punched and jabbed their way to 13 fighting majors and seven misconducts in a bloodthirsty hockey game.

The Bruins ended up taking an 8-6 win over the Canadiens that widened their lead in the Northeast Division, and also featured that rarest of events: a brawl between All-Star goaltenders Tim Thomas and Carey Price. The goalie fight, more hugging and play fighting as Price called it than anything else, was the exclamation point at the end of a fight started by Brad Marchand barreling into Steve Wisniewski behind the Montreal net on an icing call.

Zdeno Chara ripped in on Max Pacioretty, Brian Gionta jumped Brad Marchand, Wisniewski and Steve Kampfer paired off and both Tomas Plekanec and Roman Hamrlik tackled Mark Recchi behind the cage. While the refs separated all those combatants both Price and Thomas decided to drop their gloves and masks, and try their own hand at the fighting thing.

Thomas had a big 'ol plan and thought he could use a little strategy against the younger, bigger Price, but none of that worked out very well in the end. In Boston's first fight from a goalie since "Lord" Byron Dafoe in 2002, Thomas didn't quite take home the decision.But he did manage to stay healthy when there was more than a little concern from his coach watching behind the bench. "Its not something you like to see," said coach Claude Julien. "You never like to see your goaltenders get into those kinds of things but I'm certainly not sitting here and condemning him for doing that. Its the heat of the game. They were both willing combatants and you live with that."

Heres Thomas take on the fisticuffs between masked men:

Price was jumping in to the fight. I went off the blue line and he backed into his crease. So then Im like okay, and then he went in again. You just cant let it be an outnumbered situation, so thats what I was thinking when I went down there, said Thomas, who admitted hed fought a few times in junior hockey but not at all as an NHL goalie. He was more than willing to fight. And I had this big old plan. I was going to grab his right and I was going to throw lefts because I know hes bigger and taller and has a reach on me.

I thought I could do a better job throwing lefts in him. When I went to grab, he got a good hold on my right arm and I got nothing. So then I was like, oh now what do I do? I know hes got a big right cocked and ready to come, so I tried to switch arms and get my right free. I grabbed him by the back of the shirt, and when he threw the right I pulled on. I was trying to pull him off-balance and his shirt came off his head and then I fell. When I was falling my left arm came free, but then it was over. He fought with the fighters manners as far as not hitting when youre down.

Both goalies were very wary of the Brent JohnsonRick DiPietro fight that went down last week, and ended with the New York Islanders goalie and former Boston University star suffering facial fractures from one Johnson punch that knocked him off his skates. That meant they were careful and respectful given the cordial relationship theyve had while attending NHL events over the years.

I know Timmy pretty well. I think we were just out there play fighting more than anything, said Price. Neither one of us really wanted to get hurt, but we are out there doing whatever we had to do, I guess.

Whether it was play fighting or the real thing, it added to the heat and intensity that was brewing on the ice between the two teams and more importantly allowed both Thomas and Price to smile about it afterward. When Thomas was recounting the fight with reporters after the game, one of the Bs equipment guys yelled out Timmys a Killer! as he walked by the scene in the dressing room.

Thomas certainly proved he was no killer, but he did show he was another member of a hockey team standing up for each other in their biggest show me game of the hockey season.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

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.