Thomas in a groove after preseason action


Thomas in a groove after preseason action

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
Tim Thomas was glad to get that last one in.

After feeling like a stranger in a strange hockey land in his first exhibition game against the Islanders after the summer layoff, he faced a measly 20 shots in a preseason loss to Ottawa last week. It made the 37-year-old goalie feel better that he finished off the preseason with a 3-2 win over the Isles Saturday night.

Better than the victory, Thomas finished with 25 saves against many of the Islanders regulars including John Tavares, Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo among others and didnt allow a single goal in the final two periods. The action got hot and heavy around him for the first time, and finally made him feel like he was again stopping pucks for the Bruins.

It was a little bit easier to be busier than I was in the last two games," Thomas said. "Its tough when you go from the playoffs where youre really busy to the first couple of preseason games where youre like a goalie for the Red Wings in the early 2000s when they were dominating and seeing 20 shots or whatever. It was better to get a little bit more action.

Thomas was forced to scramble into action on several occasions with Tavares crashing in toward the net, and looked much quicker with his glove hand when Streit and Co. started bombing shots at the Boston cage from the outside. It was a marked improvement over the first couple of games, but the three appearances in preseason also allowed Thomas to charge up his batteries after an extreme workload.

Thomas played in 66 regular season games during the 2006-07 season with the Bruins and a combined 65 games (regular season and playoffs) during the 2008-09 season that registered as the highest workloads of his career. But that was before the Vezina Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup all happened last year and Thomas played a combined 82 games (regular season and playoffs) while carrying his hockey club to Stanley Cup immortality.

So Thomas, as much as anybody, seems to know that selective rest during the season is going to help him be all that he can be once the postseason grind begins anew. The Bs goaltender was hesitant to proclaim himself ready for opening night even after getting into the winning feeling against the Isles last weekend but he did admit that a few practices at the beginning of this week should put him into his happy puck-stopping place.

Feeling like he was entering the regular season on a preseason winning note and playing in back-to-back games both seemed to put Thomas mind at ease that hed be ready when the real shots start firing Thursday night against the Flyers.

I think I would have been fine no matter what. But getting the winning feeling before the preseason ends certainly helps. Its a lot better than the losing feeling, Thomas said. Im right on track, but Ive still got a few days left before the season starts. Hopefully well be ready to go because I think Thursday is going to be a fun night raising the banner. Not only that but weve got a game against the Flyers too.

That will start a whole new journey.

Thomas and the Bruins have to hope this years journey has the same kind of happy ending as last years Stanley Cup story.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Larry Robinson parts ways with Sharks

Morning Skate: Larry Robinson parts ways with Sharks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while refraining from shoving any world leaders today.

*Larry Robinson and the San Jose Sharks are parting after working together for five seasons, per FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Kurz.

*Speaking of Kurz, he also has a Sharks mailbag on which players are most likely to be traded out of San Jose during the offseason. Somebody has got to go, and you’d think it would be somebody without much tread left on the tires.

*Moving on to other topics, Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler said that losing a Game 6 in the Western Conference Finals to the Nashville Predators was the “toughest” loss of his career. I don’t see how this is possible. You see, Kesler is no slouch at falling short. In fact, he’s a tremendous loser, having dropped a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at home in 2011 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, and also having lost a Gold Medal Game for Team USA at the hands of Sidney Crosby and Canada in 2010 in overtime that was also played in Vancouver. It took a simple Google search to find an actual postgame video of Kesler crying into his hockey glove on the bench in the aftermath of Game 7 vs. the Bruins. So, pardon me if I’m not buying Kesler talking about a conference finals loss as the worst of his career when he was one home win away from being a Stanley Cup champion in Game 7, and proceeded to lose like he’s done many, many times in the most important games of his career. Dude, you’ve been through tougher losses. Trust me on that one.  

*The idea of trading Alex Ovechkin might be gaining some traction with the Capitals fan base, but it doesn’t seem to be based on reality at this point.

*The pride of Melrose, Mass, Conor Sheary, delivered in Game 7 for the Penguins as they return to the Stanley Cup Final in back-to-back seasons.

*Bobby Ryan said his strategy for success in the playoffs, at least in part, was staying off the phone. Maybe he ought to try that a bit more during the regular season.

*Congrats to the folks at NBC for another successful Red Nose Day that featured a reunion of the “Love Actually” cast among other things.