Inspired by his critics, Thomas dominates

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Inspired by his critics, Thomas dominates

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Nobody on the Bruins wanted to hear the media criticize Tim Thomas game after their Game 2 overtime loss.

At least, thats what they told the media on Sunday, a day before Game 3.

Everybody in the Boston organization knows what type of player and person Thomas is. They know that the only reason hes carried his team to the Stanley Cup Finals, while making a strong case for his second Vezina Trophy in three years at the age of 37, mind you is because he thrives on a me-vs.-the-world mentality.

Thomas is one of the best goaltenders in the National Hockey League in this late stage of his career because he enjoys proving people wrong.

So when the media asked him on Monday if he felt he needed to change his style after the way he lunged out of the net in overtime on Saturday night in Vancouver Thomas was respectfully blunt.

I have a pretty good idea of how to play goalie, he said. Im not going to be taking suggestions or advice at this time. So Im just going to keep playing the way I have.

Thomas had a chip on his shoulder. As well he should have.

Bruins coach Claude Julien said it was ridiculous that Thomas style was even being questioned.

Maybe it was ridiculous. But the Bruins can say what they want. They know how Thomas plays when hes being questioned, and the criticism was pouring down on Causeway Street entering Monday nights Game 3.

As they probably expected, Thomas responded by making 40 saves in an 8-1 win in Game 3 at the TD Garden.

And afterwards, the Bruins goaltender still carried that chip on his shoulder.

I was happy with at least the base of how I was playing in the first two games, said Thomas. I mean, I had a 1.5 goals-against in regulation the first two games, so I think Id rather listen my goalie coach Bob Essensa over anything else.

Thomas did seem more like a stay-at-home goaltender on Monday than he did during Alex Burrows rush down the left wing 11 seconds into overtime of Game 2. But that wasnt because he changed anything about his style. His defense did a much better job of not letting those breakdowns happen, making sure that the chances Vancouver had werent all coming from breakaways down the wing.

He had a reason tonight to stay in his net, said Julien after the Game 3 win. I thought we did a pretty good job of keeping them on the outside. We didnt give them those opportunities, coming with lots of speed and shooting and doing things they did in the other games. So I think Timmy just adjusted to the game.

Thats why we talked about Timmys game. He didnt change his style. Lets not get this wrong here. He just played the way he had to play. Tonight was a night where he could stay in his net a little bit more. Theres going to be nights when he has to come out and challenge, and thats the way he is.

The one goal Thomas allowed was off the stick of Jannik Hansen, with 6:07 left to play in the game. It was a one-timer from the left post that Thomas had no chance on, which cut Bostons lead to 5-1.

Other than that, Thomas was at his best in Game 3. And he needed to be, because the Canucks had eight power plays. And as it always goes, your goaltender is your best penalty killer.

That first period was very tight. It was a close game, and even through the second, there were some really good chances for the Canucks, said Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference. The amount of power plays they had tonight, your goalie is big in those kind of games. He showed up huge.

And the Bruins know that all the criticisms and suggestions about Thomas style that came up after Game 2, will only make him better.

Hes going to beat to his own drum, no matter what anybody says, said Ference after Game 3. I mean, that definitely brought a smile to a few guys in this locker room, to hear that suggestion.

And for good reason.

Danny Picard is onTwitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

Bergeron ties it, Marchand wins it for Team Canada in World Cup final

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Bergeron ties it, Marchand wins it for Team Canada in World Cup final

Team Canada has the Boston Bruins -- two in particular -- to thank for a championship.

Patrice Bergeron tied the game on a power play at 17:07 of the third period, and Brad Marchand scored a short-handed goal with 43.1 seconds left to win it as Canada defeated Team Europe, 2-1, Thursday night and won the World Cup of Hockey title.

Click here for the complete story.

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

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Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston.