Thomas: 'I'm on track to where I want to be'

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Thomas: 'I'm on track to where I want to be'

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com BruinsInsider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON Claude Julien wouldnt come right out and sayit over the last few days, but everybody and their mother knows thatTim Thomas will be between the pipes on Oct. 6 when the Bruins face theFlyers at TD Garden for NHL opening night.

But hellfirst get the nod in the final preseason tune-up against the New YorkIslanders Saturday night in Bridgeport at the home of the Isles AHLclub after facing only 20 shots in Thursday nights 2-1 loss to theSenators. While the 18-save game was a step up for Thomas after lettingup a couple of bad goals early in his preseason debut at the Gardenagainst the Isles, everyone knows that the 37-year-old can bebetter.

You knowthe plan is certainly to play him next game against the Islanders andsee where he is, said Claude Julien. If everything is good well makethose decisions in a week from now or a few daysbefore.

Thomas said hes on track to where hewants to be starting for the Bs on opening night, and doesnt need tosee 40 or 50 shots before proclaiming himself ready to start theregular season.

Its good to get experience with alot of shots on net and just a few shots on net, because its going tohappen at times. Even when there arent shots, you still get yourpractice out of games because youre still moving and youre stillfighting through traffic to see the pass, said Thomas. So when yourenot getting a lot of shots you focus on some of the other stuff. So ina way it can be better because when youre getting a ton of shots youdont have time to worry about anytechnique.

Thomas hasnt seemed concerned at allabout playing only a pair of preseason games as the Bruins are takingthe slow, cautious approach to their supremely talented goaltenderheading into this season, and alluded to last years 82 game workloadwhen saying he played in enough games lastyear.

The rest is certainly needed for a goaliethat didnt get a chance to truly push himself in the offseason afterwinning every goaltending award known to man. Thomas doesnt start theseason with much to prove, but has already voiced his desire to repeatas the Vezina Trophy winner, Conn Smythe Trophy winner and as theStanley Cup champion again next year.

He could pullall three and even make a run at the Hart Trophy if things go wellfor the Bruins and their goaltender this season, but hell need alittle help from Tuukka Rask as a capable understudy this season.

That whole journey begins after one last littletrip to an AHL rink on Saturday night for Thomas and the rest of theBruins.

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

Schaller (lower body) has resumed skating, conditioning

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Schaller (lower body) has resumed skating, conditioning

BRIGHTON, Mass – With the Bruins relatively healthy at this point, they may be getting their roster back to full health sooner rather than later.

Tim Schaller has missed the last seven games after suffering a lower body injury crashing into the boards all the way back in a March 8 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The 26-year-old has resumed skating on his own before or after regular Bruins practice in the last couple of days, but hasn’t yet rejoined the group after missing the last two plus weeks.

Bruce Cassidy indicated that there’s no timetable for his return as Riley Nash and Dominic Moore have tried out different linemates including fellow Providence College hockey alum Noel Acciari.

“He has just begun to skate,” said Cassidy. “I don’t know how far out he is. He is just starting the process of going on the ice for the conditioning part. That’s his stage of recovery.”

Schaller has been a regular staple on the fourth line for the Bruins this season with seven goals and 14 points in 58 games. His size, occasional offense and energy have allowed the New Hampshire kid to be a pleasant surprise for the Black and Gold this season. 

Morning Skate: Hart conversation changing daily

Morning Skate: Hart conversation changing daily

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wondering if the Bruins are going to royally choke once again.

* Old friend Brett Connolly has rediscovered his game with the Washington Capitals, and been nominated for the Masterton Trophy.

* The NHLPA is considering restricting hockey player agents from contacting amateur players under 16 years old.

* PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Halford has Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk blasting Sidney Crosby as a “whiner.”

* Josh Ho-Sang was ready for battle in Pittsburgh while wearing the No. 66 uniform that is sacred in that city.

* The Hart Trophy conversation seems to change daily around the NHL as so many different players, like Brad Marchand or Nikita Kucherov, are taking runs at consideration.

* Chinese investors are looking at the NHL as somewhere they can expand their footprint and involvement in the league.

* It’s been a tough year for Patrick Sharp with the Dallas Stars after leaving the hockey nirvana that is the Chicago Blackhawks.  

* For something completely different: All kinds of interesting information is coming out about the Han Solo movie.