Bruins notes: Thomas secures record

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Bruins notes: Thomas secures record

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Tim Thomas saw Senators forward Erik Condra rushing in on him all alone in the third period with no Bruins defenders in the area to slow him down.

It was a 2-1 game at the time and the Bs goaltender had been thinking about this kind of moment for more than a week.

Thats because hed entered the weekend with a .9376 save percentage that was going to be good enough to set the NHL single season record for save percentage since the statistic had been recorded since the 1983-84 season. But Thomas wanted to get ready for the playoffs with one last game and wanted to earn the record, and that was the 36-year-olds moment of truth.

So he tried to banish any NHL record thoughts out of his head.

To be completely honest, I had a hard time getting it off my mind over the past week or so, said Thomas. But actually I mentally prepared myself yesterday not to think about that and to play. I think Im still in that mode a little bit. It hasnt affected me; it hasnt set in yet. Part of thats because we still have business to take care of against the Devils tomorrow.

Hed already let one goal past him when Shane Hnidy turned over a puck in front of the net, and then added to his gaffe by taking Thomas out of the play as he crashed into him while allowing Bobby Butler an easy score.

So Thomas wasnt about to let anymore pass, and he somehow caught Condras shot in between his pads while dropping into a coffin-style position on the ground lying straight out as the puck settled underneath him. The Bs goaltender said he had no idea whether hed kept the puck from squeezing through, and it was pure coincidence that it was the same mummy save Dominik Hasek trademarked during his time with the Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings.

Bs coach Claude Julien knew that Thomas wanted the record deep down, and it appeared his Bruins teammates rose to the occasion around their ace goaltender after the Hnidy miscue early in the game.

Hes had a good year for us and I think deep down it seemed to matter to himso it was important for the rest of our team to help him through it and play as best as they could, said Julien. He made some great saves again tonight for us, but I think, for the rest of the team, I think they really wanted him to get that.

It was also Hasek that had his NHL record fall when Thomas finished with 31 saves in Saturdays 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden the Czech goaltender put up a .9366 save percentage mark with the Sabres in 1998-99 and had nearly a 15-year run with the record before Thomas came along.

The Bs goalie admitted that Hasek was an influence on Thomas goaltending style when he was starring for the University of Vermont Catamounts during the mid-1990s, and it was only fitting one unorthodox goalie surpassed the other one.

Dominik Hasek was a hero of mine back when I was in college: a guy who played unconventional and had a ton of success. Even at college age I was already labeled as somebody with my style and that I couldnt do it at the next level, said Thomas. And so he was an inspiration. Just actually still seeing him and knowing that hes playing. He won the Czech League not this year but the season before in Czech. Im still impressed with what hes been able to accomplish.

Thomas put the finishing touches on his Vezina Trophy resume by totaling a .9381 save percentage for the season in 56 appearances, and the record was clinched when Claude Julien announced after the game that Tuukka Rask will play Sunday against the New Jersey Devils.

That means the past three Bruins seasons under head coach Claude Julien have left the Bs with three of the top eight save percentage seasons in NHL history (Thomas twice in 2008-09 and this season, and Tuukka Rask in 2009-10), and Thomas was more than happy to spread the credit around for some impressive work keeping pucks out of the net.

That number there is a testament to the team in front of me and the way that they battled for me all year long: defensemen and forwards, said Thomas. It also reflects probably one of the best -- if not the best -- defenseman Zdeno Chara in our world out there in front of me that I think should be getting a little bit more Norris talk than at least Ive heard. Maybe he is, I dont know. I dont hear that much. But hes been stellar for us all year playing against the top players on every team, night in and night our and just doing a great job. So that save percentage number is the team number.

Julien said after the game that Chara and Mark Recchi will remain in Boston and get a day of rest rather than traveling to New Jersey for the final game of the season against the Devils in Newark. Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Seidenberg were given a day of rest against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon with both Tyler Seguin and Shane Hnidy playing.

Marlboro, Mass. Native Bobby Butler played his first NHL game at TD Garden on Saturday afternoon, and had a memorable game while scoring a goal in the first period against the Bruins. The former UNH standout was a Bruins fan growing up, and has been a solid rookie for Ottawa over the second half of the season with 10 goals scored for the young Senators.

Butler estimated he had roughly 60 friends, family and former UNH teammates in the stands on Saturday afternoon, and was excited to play in Boston despite the fact his father was in Minnesota attending the Frozen Four tournament.

It was definitely exciting to get out there on the ice, and good to be back there, said Butler. It is good to see some familiar faces out there.

Boston RW Mark Recchi played his 1,652nd game, passing Chris Chelios for fourth place on the NHLs career games played list

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

Hagg Bag: Breaking down storylines from Bruins camp

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Hagg Bag: Breaking down storylines from Bruins camp

The Bruins are now just about halfway through training camp and the World Cup of Hockey participants are finally on their way back to Boston to rejoin their NHL organization. 

Things are beginning to get back to a sense of normalcy for the Black and Gold after moving into a new practice facility and integrating some new faces into the mix at several different levels of the Original Six organization. 

So, with all of this going on and only a couple of weeks until the start of the regular season, it seemed like an appropriate time for a new training camp edition of the Hagg Bag mailbag.

As always these are real questions from real fans via emails to my jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com email account, tweets to my Twitter account with the #HaggBag hash tag and messages to my CSN Facebook page. Now, on to the bag:

 

Hey Joe

Not sure if you’re doing a HaggBag anytime soon, but here goes anyway.

I am all for the rebuild when a team is past its prime, but the World Cup just showed us we have two of the best players in the world. Add Krejci and Backes to that, and the Bruins can and should still compete in the playoffs. That is why it is so frustrating that we are returning the same AWFUL defense we had last year. You haven’t agreed there have been right shot defenseman moved in the last year or two that have been available. And now, a potential top pair defenseman in Trouba is available.

We need to go out, overpay if necessary and secure this guy. It should help us this year and in the future. This guy is a top-4 D right now.

There shouldn’t be ANY prospects off the table, including Charlie McAvoy, despite how excited I am about him. It’s not hurting you long term because Trouba is 22. I am sick of waiting for some team to hand us a player. We need to go out and get one.

--John D

JH: You picked the perfect time to send a missive to the Hagg Bag, John. I agree that Jacob Trouba might be the perfect bridge D-man to make the Bruins competitive now, and get them to a point two to three years from now when the young D-men prospects are ready to carry the team. But scouts are very mixed about how good he’s ever going to get, and some feel that he doesn’t make decisions on the ice quickly enough to really be a No. 1 defenseman, or even a top flight, top pairing guy.

That’s somebody that I’m willing to acquire if the price is right, but not somebody I’m willing to sell the entire Black and Gold farm for. There is no way I’m trading Charlie McAvoy under any circumstances. He could be a Drew Doughty Lite defenseman for the Bruins a couple of years down the road, and could potentially solve their No. 1 D-man problems from within. He is the future, and the Bruins aren’t going to mortgage the future for a player in Trouba that’s not going to make them a Cup contender.

Sorry, but a six-game tournament at the World Cup doesn’t convince me that the Bruins are only one player away from suddenly being capable of going on a long playoff run, regardless of how well Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand played. They’ve got some excellent high end forwards, they’ve got a No. 1 goaltender that should be motivated for a rebound year and they’ve got a blue line group that needs a lot of help. If the Bruins can trade Joe Morrow or Jakub Zboril along with a forward (it would have to be Ryan Spooner at this point) and a first round pick for Trouba they should do it, but the cost in trade assets and in contract terms after that might be too prohibitive at this point.

If I were keeping an eye on trades, I’d keep watching an Anaheim team that needs to shed some salary cap before they sign some of their restricted free agents. That might very well be where the D-man comes from that the B’s are seeking out right now.

Joe,

Jacob Trouba requested a trade out of Winny, perfect chance for Sweeney to redeem himself after one full season and offseason not being able to get ANY help on D. This is his chance, but I'm not holding my breath, give them what they want and get this kid!!!!

--Christopher Foley (Message from Facebook)

JH: There’s another vote for Trouba if Don Sweeney is reading this today.

 
I hope tuukka is ready to try and earn his money with the d men on the bruins

--Matthew Wilson (@mattframingham)

JH: I hope you’re right because I think the goalies for the Bruins are going to have to be really, really, really good based on the defense playing in front of them.

 

Haggs:

I know Zachary Senyshyn will miss most of camp, but is returning to juniors the only option the B's have with him? Could he play in Providence instead?

--Mike Ierardi (Message from Facebook)

JH: As we have seen, Zach Senyshyn was able to come back and be a part of camp and even picked up an assist in Friday night’s overtime preseason win over the Red Wings. But I still think the 19-year-old will end up not making the NHL roster and will end up back in junior hockey with the Soo Greyhounds.

So here’s the breakdown: Senyshyn based on his age cannot play in the AHL for the balance of this upcoming season. That’s the same situation that Jakub Zboril and Jesse Gabrielle are in as well as younger players. All three of them will need to return to junior hockey if they don’t make the NHL. Brandon Carlo and Jake DeBrusk can both play for Providence this season based on their age and experience, so they will be a part of the B’s organization where or not they crack the NHL roster next month.

 

Is the Bruins PTO signing of Ehrhoff a sign they are not in on Trouba?

--John Hersey (@Neely82010)

JH: I think it’s a sign they want to get a free look at a defenseman that was still a top-four guy just a couple of years ago. I’m thinking Claude Julien must have liked the way he was playing during the World Cup of Hockey and it’s a no-brainer for Ehrhoff given the B’s back end situation and the openings that might be there for the right performer. Certainly the Bruins are going to utilize every outlet to try and improve their defense, and this is just another one of those avenues to purse.

Joe,

I see a legitimate shot of three rookies that could and probably should make the team Czarnik, Heinen, and Carlo.

I'm not in any rush for Carlo as more ice time in Providence will probably go a long way for his development. If the Bruins move Spooner to the left wing to play with Krejci and Pastrnak, what do you think of a 3rd and 4th lines looking like this: Beleskey-Moore- Hayes Heinen -Czarnik-Nash with Acciari as the team’s extra forward.

Thanks, Stu (Message from Facebook)

JH: I don’t think a Spooner-Krejci-Pastrnak line would make it very long with Julien simply based on the defensive responsibilities. There’s not enough heaviness and nobody on that line that will be winning any battles along the boards, and that’s just a statement of fact.

I do agree that Heinen and Carlo are probably the lead prospect-type players that could win NHL roster spots, and both are off to very good starts in training camp. Heinen has two goals in two games, and Carlo has played 20 minutes in both of his preseason games with very little damage taking place during his shifts.

Czarnik is interesting because he just keeps making plays, and his versatility could end up helping him crack the final roster. But I don’t think Dominic Moore is somebody I really want as a third line center because there’s just not enough offense on a forward line that needs to be able to provide secondary scoring behind the top two lines. Here’s my final roster based on what we know right now:

Marchand-Bergeron-Heinen

Hayes-Krejci-Pastrnak

Beleskey-Spooner-Backes

Czarnik-Moore/Acciari-Nash

 
Chara-C. Miller

Krug-K. Miller

Liles-McQuaid

Morrow

Rask

Khudobin

 

Hey Joe,

What do you think about the Bruins trading for someone like right-handed D man David Savard? Columbus is looking to shed some salary and with other young defenseman coming up (Werenski, Harrington, Heatherington, etc.) they could be looking to trade a D-man. With this trade, the Bruins could then look to expose K. Miller and/or McQuaid in the expansion draft or deal one for a late pick. Let me know what you think!

Cheers, Adam

JH: I suppose it’s a possibility, Adam, but I think Brandon Carlo could make that kind of a deal a moot point if he keeps playing at his current level in training camp. If that happens then either Kevan Miller or Adam McQuaid could eventually become expendable, but I think it immediately makes Joe Morrow a player who’s roster spot might in jeopardy. That’s not even counting Christian Ehrhoff, who could easily become the seventh defenseman on the roster if he shows more than he did in Los Angeles or Chicago last season.

If it’s a trade for a defenseman, my senses tell me that it’s going to be a bigger name than David Savard that the Bruins are chasing after. But who knows? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: nothing will surprise me with the Bruins anymore after some of the stuff that I’ve seen go down over the past couple of years.

 

Backes, Pastrnak make their Bruins preseason debut tonight in Philly

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Backes, Pastrnak make their Bruins preseason debut tonight in Philly

The Bruins have announced their lineup for Saturday night’s preseason road game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center and it will include the exhibition schedule debuts of World Cup players David Backes and David Pastrnak.

Both forwards have been skating with the training camp group since Wednesday and will ramp things up after taking a couple of days to recharge following the tournament in Toronto.

Those two veterans, one of the older and one of the extremely younger variety, will mix in with the B’s group that’s been in camp for the past 10 days working out together and gaining chemistry on forward lines working together for two practice sessions each day at Warrior Ice Arena.

A number of B’s players will be back in the lineup on Saturday night after skating in Friday night’s 2-1 overtime win against the Red Wings including: Colby Cave, Seth Griffith, Danton Heinen, Joe Morrow and Riley Nash. 

Here’s the full Black and Gold lineup against the Broad Street Bullies with Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre getting the call in Philly with one of them most likely to get the entire game between the pipes a la Anton Khudobin in Detroit on Friday night: Backes, Chris Casto, Colby Cave, Tommy Cross, Austin Czarnik, Jake DeBrusk, Jesse Gabrielle, Seth Griffith, Jimmy Hayes, Danton Heinen, Zane McIntyre, Colin Miller, Kevan Miller, Joe Morrow, Peter Mueller, Riley Nash, Rob O’Gara, David Pastrnak, Tyler Randell, Malcolm Subban and Jakub Zboril.