Thomas responds to Luongo's verbal barbs

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Thomas responds to Luongo's verbal barbs

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs

BOSTON Tim Thomas finally got to voice his response on Sunday afternoon to Vancouver Canuck Roberto Luongos strange plea for compliments and tire-pumping.

Luongo seemed to feel like Thomas hadnt duly complimented his Vancouver counterpart through the series, and that misplaced sentiment came after Luongo stridently stated that he could have stopped the game-winning goal in Game 5 that Thomas couldnt make a play on.

On Luongo saying he would have stopped Maxim Lapierres goal, the 37-year-old Bruins goalie took the high road saying that he didnt want to get into it while stressing that he was focused on what I can do to help my team win going into Game 6. There was the slightest hint of a stress on the my team portion of Thomas statement.

But the likely Vezina Trophy winner couldnt resist responding to Luongos bizarre assertion that the Canucks' puck-stopper has pumped the tires of the Bs goaltender throughout the series and in turn Thomas has said nothing nice about him.

I guess I didnt realize it was my job to pump his tires, said Thomas to a barrel of laughter from the crowd. I guess I have to apologize for that.

I stick with all of the other goalies in being one and knowing what it takes to perform at this level and with this amount of pressure. I understand to a certain extent what every other goalie is going through.Luongo responded later in the afternoon with the contention that he was never trying to be negative in his original answer about the Lapierre goal, and that the ensuing media frenzy has been the ultimate misunderstanding of innocent intentions. Most aren't buying it despite the Vancouver goalie's protestations."Listen, I know we're in the Stanley Cup Final and everything is under the microscope and going to get blown out of proportion," said Luongo. "Obviously my whole comment I don't think was a negative comment if you take the whole comment."But at the end of the day, I'm one win away from winning a Stanley Cup. That's all I really care about now. All the other stuff is noise to me and doesn't really affect what's going to take place for me tomorrow night. To be honest with you, I don't really care."The more Luongo opines about things he has no business addressing and states how much he truly doesn't care about somebody "pumping his tires," the more a guy like William Shakespeare would say the Vancouver netminder "doth protest way too much." The bottom line for Luongo: improving on a TD Garden scene that's been a house of horrors as he allowed 12 goals in two games that amounted to a lot more than "a couple of bad bounces" as he attempted to spin it for the media. The bottom line for Thomas: he has a chance to remain hot and make sure people will be pumping his Stanley Cup Final tires for a long time to come.When the puck drops on Monday night for Game 6, it will be with all of the hue and cry in the rear view mirror and everyone focused on the actual goaltending play that started kick-started the entire flap in the first place.

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

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right. 
 

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling like we’ll be getting a Pittsburgh/Nashville Stanley Cup Final, which I suppose would be the best possible outcome at this point.

*You hear the name and it just gets you angry all over again if you grew up watching the Bruins. Ulf Samuelsson is in the running for an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to a report.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston says it appears that the time is running out on a Cinderella season for the Ottawa Senators.

*A taste of winning at the world championships with Team Sweden could fuel Alex Edler’s desire for a change from the rebuilding Vancouver Canucks.

*Interesting piece on a former can’t miss goaltending prospect with the Nashville Predators that ended up totally missing, and what he’s been up to in life since then.

*Guy Boucher explains to Pro Hockey Talk why he kept changing goaltenders in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Don Cherry explains that he hates afternoon hockey during his Coach’s Corner from Hockey Night in Canada in the Game 5 blowout between the Penguins and Predators.

*A good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt on the Nashville Predators, and the evolution of the franchise into a team on the verge of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

*For something completely different: What a win by the Boston Celtics in Game 3 in Cleveland, and quite an interesting, fired up interview with Al Horford afterward.