Boston Bruins

Thomas looks fine for Bruins

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Thomas looks fine for Bruins

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON -- Whether or not Tim Thomass role changes this season, he looked like the Conn Smythe Trophy-winning goaltender from last season on Saturday night.

Thomass 25 saves against the Tampa Bay Lightning were crucial in the Boston Bruins 4-1 victory -- and their first win of the year.

To me, Timmy looked more like the Timmy we know, coach Claude Julien said after the game. He looked calm, he looked comfortable, and he made things look pretty easy. Even on the big saves, he was challenging well. To me, thats as close to last year as Ive seen Timmy was tonight, and he certainly played a solid game for us.

Thomas felt that way, too.

I feel similar to the way I felt at the beginning of last year, he said. I mean physically anyhow. I feel good, and its good not to be worrying about injuries.

While Tuukka Rask may get the nod soon, Thomas, 37, showed no signs of slowing down against the Lightning. His veteran experience also adds another to his presence between the pipes. When the Bruins and Lightning went scoreless in the first period in spite of 24 combined shots on goal, Thomas knew what he had to do to help his team get ahead in the game.

I realize the reality is when were getting chances and not scoring that the longer I can keep the other team off the board, the more of a chance it gives us because we just need to get that first one and theyll start rolling in, he said. But if you get down a couple while youre waiting for that first one, it gets to be pretty hard. I understand the reality, but I dont feel the pressure. Its the way I think of things.

Even when the Bruins took the lead, he knew letting up on defense was not an option. With a 2-1 lead, Thomas made an impressive save against Teddy Purcell 1:44 into the third period.

He's learned in the past that nothing is guaranteed until the buzzer sounds.

Im not thinking of one big save; Im thinking I have make some saves. Basically you never want to give the other team a sniff, he said. Weve learned our lessons over the years. I remember a game we were up by three goals with three minutes left against St. Louis and they tied it up and won in overtime. So that was quite a few years ago now, but it happened to us last year a couple times where teams came back on us. Weve got to play the full 60 minutes. Thats what we learned last year.

Following the game, Thomass teammates praised his defensive performance.

Timmy made a lot of big saves at the right time, said Brad Marchand. He seems to be great at doing that. He always gives us an opportunity to win. And when he comes up with saves like that, it build a lot of momentum and really gives us a lot of confidence that we can go out and kind of pay him and get a couple of goals and get the lead. If it wasnt for him, we might not have won that game.

Zdeno Chara echoed, Timmy had again a strong game. Especially in the third, he made that blocker save, that was big. Thats what you need, that kind of strong goaltending in crucial times of the game. So he gave us a chance.

Regardless of how many games Thomas starts this season, his teammates know what to expect from him when hes on the ice.

Hes still the same Timmy, said Chara. He competes and hes playing well.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comJCameratoNBA

Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

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Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

BOSTON – With all of the talk about young forward prospects Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk, it would seem that Austin Czarnik wants to serve a reminder that he can play a little hockey too.

For the second year in a row, the 24-year-old diminutive forward is putting together a strong start to his training camp with a multi-point performance in a 4-2 exhibition victory over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Czarnik finished with a penalty-shot goal, two points and tied for the team-lead with four shots on net while playing with the energy, skating aggressiveness and in-your-face attitude that he’s going to need for NHL success. He also made his point that there are more than just a couple of young forwards in camp who can potentially help in Boston this winter.

“He was very good. I think the forgotten man, maybe, he was thinking [a bit] because we’ve talked about a lot of young guys. He’s still a young guy, and wants to make his mark and push for a job on the team,” coach Bruce Cassidy said of Czarnik, who posted five goals and 13 points in 49 games for the Bruins last season. “I thought he looked real good tonight. He won a lot of pucks. He’s always going to make plays in space, that’s his game. He won a lot of pucks and did a lot of little things well.”

It was Czarnik who really helped put the game away in the second period when he sped past a pair of defenders and forced them into hauling him down for a penalty shot with the B’s already up, 2-0. Czarnik patiently slowed his penalty-shot attempt before ripping one past Petr Mrazek’s glove hand in what ended up being the game-winning goal. Czarnik was in the middle of things again in the third on the insurance marker as he engineered a 3-on-1 rush before expertly feeding to Teddy Purcell for the sizzled one-timer.

Czarnik was downplaying the idea that he’s been overlooked in camp but show there was a strong need to remind the B’s organization how he can potentially help them as a fast, aggressive, pesky little center that can also make some plays.

“I’m not going to worry about [getting overlooked]. It’s part of life, you know it’s happened a lot? I’m not going to worry about that,” said Czarnik, who similarly won a job with the Bruins after a strong initial training camp last season. I’m just going to worry about myself and just try to do the right thing every single time and show them what I can do.

“I need to be an energy guy. There’s a lot of young talent now, you know, on the power play and everything now, so I need to try to create energy on the penalty kill and the fore-check. So that’s what my main focus is going to be.”

The energy really is the key to Czarnik’s long-term hopes with the Bruins and, consequently, the rest of the NHL. If he can play with the same skating legs, high energy and rapid pace that he’s consistently shown in preseasons, then there’s no reason to think he can’t help the Bruins. But there were far too many lulls in Czarnik’s rookie NHL season where the skating game wasn’t good enough, there wasn’t enough bite to his fore-check and there just weren’t enough plays being made on the ice.

Clearly, Czarnik is trying to change that impression in this camp with the B’s, but that could prove to be a much more difficult task with so many more quality forwards now battling for a few jobs on the roster in Boston. 

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Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise

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Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while appreciating that Brad Marchand is willing to say something is “an absolute joke.” There are not enough candid players in the NHL like good, ol' No. 63.

*So FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy writes that the Bruins are “a lowly number four nowadays” in the power rankings of the big four Boston sports teams. Certainly, Danny is technically correct in saying that the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics are ahead of the Bruins in terms of the Boston pro sports zeitgeist and that they dominate the sports conversation.

But Shaughnessy points to the Bruins doing nothing to improve themselves last summer as some kind of reason behind their low position among the other Boston sports franchises, and that’s not really a factor. The problem right now is that the Bruins are extremely young and still a couple of years away from returning to true Stanley Cup contention as a result. 
Once Charlie McAvoy is a few years into his career, some of the other Bruins prospects are in the NHL for good and Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask are still at the back end of their prime, the Bruins will once again be a Cup contender that’s pushing their way back into the championship conversation that commands the attention of the Boston fan.

Would Shaughnessy have been more satisfied with the Bruins if they spent bad money on a big free-agent contract as they did with Matt Beleskey and David Backes in back-to-back years, or if they traded premium prospect Brandon Carlo for hired gun Matt Duchene? That would be the kind of “big splash” move that a bad management group would make to appease the casual fans that don’t truly understand what the B’s are going with their draft-and-development plan.

This Bruins outfit is still a playoff team while they’re building back to that Cup-worthy level. They were playing a much more exciting, entertaining brand of hockey once Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien last winter. This isn’t a lowly team unworthy of the fans’ attention, or more importantly their sports dollar. This is much more about the all-time greatness of the New England Patriots, the deserved excitement for a Celtics team that is truly going for it after being in the Bruins current “building it back up” phase for the past few years and a playoff-level Red Sox team that really has no competition in the summertime.

This isn’t about what the Bruins aren’t doing right now. This is about what the Patriots and Celtics, and to a lesser degree the Red Sox, are doing right now. It's as simple as that in a local sports landscape that’s cyclical and constantly in motion.  

*What a great Facetime hit here from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ray Ferraro with Jay and Dan now that they’re thankfully back to their rightful home in Canada. The technical difficulties really make the whole thing come together.  

*Congrats to Jonathan Drouin for making a commitment to the city of Montreal that goes well beyond being a player for the Canadiens.

*Lots of prayers and well-wishes to Hingham, Mass., native and New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle after his stunning cancer diagnosis. Anybody that knows the Boyle family knows how courageous they are, and how much love and support that Brian will have at a time when he’s going to need every bit of it. I also included a link to a New York Post Q&A with Boyle where he talks a bit about his father’s miraculous battle with cancer as well.   

 *John Chayka is trying to bring with him a new chapter to the history of the Arizona Coyotes, but it’s seemingly always an uphill battle there.

*Nobody should have any problems with the contract extension handed out to Mikko Koivu by the Minnesota Wild.

*For something completely different: Are we seriously living in a world where the Juggalos are marching for their rights?

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