Bruins to start with 'two No. 1' goaltenders

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Bruins to start with 'two No. 1' goaltenders

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
BOSTON -- There are two No. 1 goaltenders on the Boston Bruins.

Thats what the team said throughout Tuesdays media day, atleast.

If youre a Bruins fan, or even just a hockey fan, you know whatTim Thomas did last season. To keep it simple, he stood on his head. So muchso, that he was the hands-down winner of the Conn Smythe trophy, and picked uphis second-career Vezina Trophy along the way while leading the Bruins to aStanley Cup.

But having started 80 games last season (including theplayoffs), the 37-year-old Thomas is someone to keep an eye on this season, ifyoure the Bruins coaching staff.

I think a lot of it is just like last year, said Julienduring his media day press conference on Tuesday. We start off with two guysthat we call No. 1 goaltenders. And theyre still, in my mind, No. 1caliber goaltenders.

But as you saw last season, Timmy just took off, and wehad to ride the hot hat. The same thing happens this year, youve got twogoaltenders that are, in my eyes, No. 1 goaltenders. Were going to haveto see, as time goes on. The one thing thats pretty obvious, is that with theamount of games that we played last year, and where Tim is in his career,youve got to think about making sure he gets the proper rest, if we want toget the same performance from him."

Will Rask's role be bigger, then?

"We hope so," Julien said. "Butits not going to take anything away from the strength of our team. Ifanything, it will make it better, and give us some durability.

No doubt about it. And the fact that the 24-year-old Raskshould be fairly fresh after starting only 27 games last season, makes Juliensdecision to rest Thomas even easier.

The problem if there is one lies in the fact that Raskisnt just competitive. Hes ready to be a No. 1 goalie.

I didnt play too little last year, said Rask on Tuesday.I mean, I always want to play more.

I want to be a No. 1 goalie at some point, he added.And hopefully I can prove to be worth it.

But right now, Rask understands the situation, even if hewas the guy entering last season, after being Juliens go-to goaltender inthe playoffs two seasons ago. Now, Thomas is the go-to, and he understands itsa good situation to be in.

Its been a funny situation the past couple of years, saidRask. The other plays one year, and the other guy plays the other. But thingshappen, and it just goes differently every year. You dont think about it asyou go on, like, this is going to be my year. We just go game by game, and asthe coach says always, its a fair competition every night, and he tries to putus in the best spot out there.

Thomas was asked about his personal goals for the season, onTuesday. He responded with, You shoot for the same thing. Thats all you cando. That will evolve as the season goes on, to a certain extent.

He later said that around 55 games has been the usualnumber of regular-season games hes projected himself to play, leading up topast seasons.

But with his age, combined with the number of miles he rodelast season and a back-up goalie thats capable of being a No. 1, willthat number decrease this season?

Thomas said it depends on how the season goes.

If the teams on a roll and both goalies are winning, thenobviously you can play both goalies, said Thomas. If one goalies winning andthe other goalie isnt, then the goalie thats winning usually plays more.

You might be able to make like a five-game plan withgoalies . . . but if you go beyond five games, even within that five games, 50percent of the time the plans going to change. So you cant go any longer thanthat.

Any concerns with Thomas health were put to rest by the manhimself on Tuesday, as he said he carried no injuries with him into theoffseason, and carries none into the regular season, which begins on Thursdaynight.

Thomas decision to not tweak any part of his game in theoffseason does more than just suggest that he expects to start where he leftoff in the Stanley Cup Final. The words actually came out of his mouth.

If my games where it was for the playoffs last year, thenIm not going to worry about tweaking little details, he said. Im just goingto go with it.

Even if his game is where it was last year, the decision torest him more often may be something that hell also have to go with.

But Thomas isnt looking that far ahead.

Theres two goalies on a team, and we dont think ofourselves in terms of No. 1 and No. 2, said Thomas. "Thats mediatalk. I guess its traditional talk, but in todays NHL, its different. Were just two goalies, teammates, but of course, both ofus want to play. So thats the way it goes.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

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Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at how good the Justice League and Wonder Woman trailers were this weekend.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has veteran center Dominic Moore mulling a couple of offers as he looks for an NHL contract for next season.

*Jordan Eberle joined Canadian sports radio, and agreed that something needed to change with the Oilers after continually missing the playoffs.

*I will miss Jim Prior’s trademark “The Teams are ready, so let’s play hockey!” open to every game as a PA announcer, and I’ll miss his warm personality around the rink. It’s a sad day for the BU hockey program.

*The Arizona Coyotes continue to put together a very interesting D-men picture by signing Luke Schenn to a two-year contract. For my money, Schenn has long been one of the most overrated players in the NHL.

*The Hockey News’ Mike Brophy has some thoughts and observations about the NHL offseason as it continues to wind on.

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Stubbs on Andrei Markov and his candid thoughts on everything from the Montreal traffic to the PK Subban/Shea Weber trade.

*Here’s a spot to track the travels and stories of the Pittsburgh Penguins amid their summer with the Stanley Cup.

*For something completely different: as mentioned above, here is the trailer for the Justice League that shows a much lighter, better touch with what should be a fun movie to watch. Hopefully this means it won’t be another pretty-looking, Zack Snyder funeral dirge.

 

Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

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Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

While much of the focus is going to be on the young D-men headed into Bruins training camp, it would be foolhardy to overlook a forward prospect Danton Heinen, who is in position for a real dark horse run at an NHL roster spot. 

The strong odds are that the former University of Denver star is going to be begin the season in the AHL for the Providence Bruins after putting up a couple of points in four games there at the end of last season.

Still, that certainly hasn’t stopped Heinen from setting his sights on an NHL spot out of this fall’s camp, most likely in a third- or fourth-line capacity to start things off, or perhaps at the top-six right wing spots that have given the Bruins some problems filling permanently over the past couple of seasons.

Either way, the 2014 fourth-round pick knows that his clock to fulfilling his dreams as an NHL player has started and that it’s up to him when he can start making that a reality.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to work toward my whole life, so I’m just going to try to keep getting better, have a good rest of the summer and then put my best foot forward to see what happens,” said Heinen, who had an assist and a sweet goal in the Friday scrimmage at development camp when he twisted D-man Cam Clarke around like a pretzel on a nifty rush to the net. “I just need to continue to get stronger this summer, and working on my skating to get a bit quicker.

“[The AHL] was a lot of fun to get in there and see what it was all about. It was a lot different than college hockey, and it was definitely good to get a taste of it. [Bruins officials] told me to have a really big summer getting faster and getting stronger, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Heinen, 21, continued to show in development camp last week, however, that he has the playmaking skills and hockey IQ to flourish while surrounded by more accomplished players and in tighter situations. It’s exactly what he showed while posting 36 goals and 93 points in his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Pioneers and it was what he showed while finishing last week as one of the best forwards in camp.

“He’s looked really good at [development] camp. He’s a smart player, he’s committed and I think you’ll notice him in training camp. It will be up to him, but I think he’ll definitely be pushing some guys [for an NHL job],” said Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo, who was running the Bruins development camp. “He looked good [in Providence]. He fit in well. He’s the type of player that can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ, and he’s got really good skill.

“Anywhere you put him he’s smart enough to figure it out. You could tell in his first game there was a little bit of an adjustment for him, but the second time game it really looked like he’d been playing [at that level] for a long time. He’s a quick study, and he looked really good last year.”

The Black and Gold management hope he continues to look good at main NHL training camp in a couple of months, where he’ll undoubtedly be featured, and could be a lot closer than many people think as a polished skill forward coming out of a big-time college hockey program. 

Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

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Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while everybody is working for the weekend...or during the weekend.

*The vice-presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, made quite an impression while hanging out a Capitals game with MC Hammer. They call this guy boring, but that doesn’t sound very boring to me.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob Stauffer has the news that the Edmonton Oilers are parting ways with fancy stats lad Tyler Dellow. Boy, it seems like some teams are reversing course pretty quickly on some of these smarter-than-thou advanced statistics types, aren’t they? I certainly wish Dellow well and hope he finds another gig. But Instead of baselessly wondering whether the Oilers are going to continue down the fancy stats road (which they most certainly will), perhaps this is more a referendum on nonsensical stats-driven decisions like handing out that long term contract to a perpetually underachieving Benoit Pouliot.

*The New York Rangers have locked up Chris Kreider to a four-year contract at a reasonable number, and now he has the time with the Blueshirts to see how good he can be.

*Brian Leetch opens up to the Players Tribune about his NHL experiences playing with the New York Rangers, and all of his favorite experiences from a Hall of Fame career.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker says that Carey Price’s injury from last season is no longer a concern, according to Habs coach Michel Therrien.

*The Chicago Blackhawks will appear a whopping 21 times on national television across the NBC Networks next season.

*Incoming BU goaltender Jake Oettinger is among the names to look out for at the 2017 draft, according to the NHL Central Scouting bureau.

*Travis Yost says that the Carolina Hurricanes are on the rise thanks to winning the shot differential battle. I think it’s because they have an outstanding cast of young defensemen, who are helping them control the puck and win that shot differential battle. But they still need to score more if they’re going to really be a team on the rise, so we’ll see what happens there.

*For something completely different: for those that think I’m a Democrat because I am anti-Trump, here’s a story on the DNC machinery attempting to torpedo Bernie Sanders during the presidential campaigning over the last year.