Chiarelli admits to have taken calls on Thomas


Chiarelli admits to have taken calls on Thomas

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

BOSTON Sometimes the trades that you dont make are the best ones when a general manager looks back in the all-powerful omniscience of 2020 hindsight.

Thats certainly the case for Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and the Boston Bruins after watching 37-year-old Tim Thomas firm his place in the pantheon of Bruins greats with one of the best goaltending seasons in the history of the NHL.

The Bs goalie was great from his first appearance of the regular season, and broke through with an epic postseason performance after never finding the secret sauce during his previous Game 7 experiences.

A .940 save percentage, a 1.98 goals against average, four shutouts, and a 16-9 overall record following a Vezina Trophy-winning season mean that years from now people will refer to 2010-11 as The Year of Tim Thomas.

But it almost didnt happen that way for Boston, or for the goalie that went into training camp with a snow white set of goalie pads and a white mask free of all Bruins logos that revealed a few hard feelings headed into the season.

That can happen when a player is dangled on the trade market as a necessary evil due to salary cap issues, and it pushed Thomas into prove people wrong mode headed into this year. Thats always a good place for Thomas to be once hed gotten over the initial vexation at being involved in trade whispers.

Chiarelli admitted on Friday morning hed taken phone calls about Tim Thomas, and sources indicated then to that the most seriously interested parties were Washington and Philadelphia. The Bruins and Flyers had casually discussed a deal involving Thomas to the Flyers while the goalie was recovering from hip surgery after losing his playoff starting role to a younger goaltending model in Tuukka Rask.

But the two teams couldnt agree on fair trade value for Thomas (the Bruins wanted Jeff Carter, and the Flyers were only willing to unload Simon Gagne), though Philadelphia was the place Thomas wanted to be if he was going to be moved.

The bottom line through all of it, though, was that Thomas wanted to remain in Boston where he could reclaim his job. Thomas desire to stay in New England was the constant, and at the core was proving to everyone he was worth the 5 million salary cap tag that certainly wasnt helping the team financially.

He did that and then some in setting the NHL-record for save percentage during the regular season on his way to an expected second career Vezina Trophy and then ruled the playoffs in a way an elite goaltender truly hasnt done since Martin Brodeur during his New Jersey Devils prime.

So how heavily was Chiarelli breathing a sigh of relief that Thomas was never traded, and how close did the NHLs best running rags-to-riches come to playing in another sweater?

Not really (close)," Chiarelli. "If you can recall at the time there was a kind of a mutual agreement between myself and Tim Thomas and Bill Zito to explore a trade on the premise that Tim does not want to leave Boston. Thats really where it ended. Its really where it ended.

"There were some calls in that and they kept him in the loop at all times. He kept stressing he didnt want to leave. And I said I know. . . lets just look at this very briefly. I know there are a lot of stories that flowed from it, but I cant stress enough the fact that Tim never wanted to leave. I wouldnt be doing my job if I at least didnt look at some things, and I did. You go through those things on a number of fronts with a number of players. You just field stuff. You look at them and you talk to other teams. At the end of the day you make the decision yay or nay. And here it was nay. It was an easy nay.

One would think it will be an even easier nay for a triple crown goaltender coming off the first Vezina Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup winning season since Bernie Parents run with Broad Street Bullies in Philly.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

Wednesday, Oct. 26: Crosby scores in season debut


Wednesday, Oct. 26: Crosby scores in season debut

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading while having a deep thought while watching commercials: how lost in your own quirkiness do you have to be to name your kid Beowulf?

*The Predators had a nasty case of food poisoning hit their team, and Adam Vingan has all the gory details.

*A great chat with FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jimmy Murphy and the legendary Russ Conway about the legendary Bobby Orr.

*Martin Biron says that Frederik Andersen looks like a much different player now with Toronto than he did with the Anaheim Ducks last season.

*An observation from a Tuesday with 1,000 decisions is that Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff has a really tough job.

*As mentioned above, Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen is having a tough time in his new locale, and there may be several reasons why.

*An early Christmas present for Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop would be his two front teeth.

*Pro Hockey Talk has Sidney Crosby returning on Tuesday night, and immediately leading the Penguins in a balanced attack.  

*For something completely different: A. Sherrod Blakely has his Celtics preview, and says it’s a new year with tons of new expectations for the Men in Green.

David Backes out at least 2 more games (and likely longer) after elbow procedure


David Backes out at least 2 more games (and likely longer) after elbow procedure

The Bruins look like they’ll be without gritty veteran forward David Backes for at least the next couple of games, and probably more like the next couple of weeks.

It was announced that the gritty Bruins forward underwent a procedure on Monday remove the olecranon bursa from his elbow, and that “his condition will be updated after the weekend.” The procedure is commonly performed when bursitis in the elbow becomes an untenable, and seems more like an injury that worsens over time rather than anything that happened in a particular game this season.

Backes’ effectiveness did seem to be impacted after he got into a fight with Nazem Kadri in the second game of the season in Toronto, but it’s unknown if there’s any connection between that sequence and the forward’s elbow issues. According to the AAOS (American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons) website, it may take “10-14 days” for the skin to heal following the procedure, and three-to-four weeks before a doctor would clear the average person to resume normal activity.

The 32-year-old Backes is off to a good start for the Bruins with two goals and four points in five games prior to missing Tuesday night’s loss to the Minnesota Wild, and his absence makes an already-thin Bruins forward group smaller, softer and much less dangerous. With Backes on the shelf for at least the next two games against the Rangers and Detroit Red Wings, the Bruins have recalled young center Austin Czarnik after his short stint with the Providence Bruins.