Notes: Thomas can't beat Quick


Notes: Thomas can't beat Quick

By JoeHaggerty

LOS ANGELES Tim Thomas might not have known that Jonathan Quick was born and bred as a New Englander when asked about his goaltending counterpart after Monday nights 2-0 loss to the Kings at the Staples Center.Its pretty clear that the Connecticut resident and former UMass standout gets all kinds of jacked up to play the Bruins team he grew up watching while living in a neighboring state, and Quick improved to 5-0 in his career against the Black and Gold after a 34 save shutout Monday.Thomas was pretty good in his own right while making 32 saves for the Bruins including a couple of beauties against Michael Handzus and Jarret Stoll but hasnt managed to beat the Kings in any of his last five appearances against Quick backed by hockey royalty."If we scored, that could have been a momentum changer and probably the whole game is different, said Tim Thomas. "He Quick always seems to play a good game against me. I don't know if he gets his rivalry juices up, but having said that they scored both their goals on the doorstep.Thomas then went to articulate how little a price was being paid by the forwards crashing the net and the defensemen pinching down in a shutout defeat that featured no sustained offense from the Bruins. Thomas saw the fortunate bounces all the way from the opposite side of the ice, but there were no crashing, hustling teammates ready to take advantage of them.I can't remember a doorstep chance that we got off a rebound or a puck laying there. The chances were there, but we weren't there." Shawn Thornton recognized the dull edge to his team early in the game, and picked a fight with Kings winger Kyle Clifford that turned into an extended bout between the two combatants. Both players traded some pretty good blows before skating to their respective dressing rooms.Unfortunately Blake Wheeler waswhistled ona questionableholding the stick penalty minutes later that wiped out any possible momentum gain from Thorntons fisticuffs. Monday night was Bostons first shutout loss since a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks on Dec. 20. By the end of Mondays loss the fourth line and Patrice Bergerons line were kept intact, and things had been shuffled so that Blake Wheeler, Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton were skating together and Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Michael Ryder were paired together on a top scoring line.Its understandable that it would take a game or two for each of the forward combinations to gel together in the absence of Marc Savard, but anybody watching the game could see it was about paying the price. In Bostons case it was about being unwilling to pay the price for goals and offense after spending four days on the West Coast.I dont think there was much offense from any line, said Julien. There was just nothing. You couldnt get anything out of any of the lines offensively. The Bruins were 0-for-3 on the power play with little flow or movement in a Marc Savard-less world, and only managed six shots on net in those man advantage chances. This will be the most difficult adjustment without No. 91 around to help distribute the puck on Bostons special teams opportunities.One had to wonder if part of Mondays lifeless vibe had to do with the team learning of Savard's diagnosis in the hours leading up to puck drop, but one Bruins player assured that had nothing to do with what happened on the ice. It appears the LA Kings adopted a game plan that may become more prevalent with Steve Kampfer as time goes on: Hit Kampfer hard and hit him often. Every chance the Kings had, that's what they did to the slick defenseman. Dustin Brown blasted him up high with a shoulder to the head area in the corner that shook Kampfer up during the second period, and slowed him down a bit in a few shifts following that. The more success Kampfer has, the more hes going to be met with that punishing physicality and need to succeed in spite of that. The NHL announced today that goaltender Tim Thomas has been named the First Star of the Week, for the week ending January 22. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos and New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur are the second and third stars, respectively.Thomas won all three of his starts last week for the Bruins, going 3-0-0 with one shutout and allowed just four goals on 106 shots (.962 save percentage). He made 31 saves in the clubs 7-0 win over the Hurricanes on Monday, January 17 and followed that up with a 43-save performance during Bostons 3-2 win over Carolina on Tuesday. Thomas finished his week with a 32-save effort in Colorado on Saturday.For the season, Thomas currently leads all NHL goaltenders in goals against average, save percentage and is tied for the league lead in shutouts with seven. This is his third separate Star honor of the season, as he was named the First Star of the Week (October 31) and Second Star of the Month (October) earlier this year.The Boston Bruins Foundation will donate 1,000 in Thomas name to the childrens charity of his choice the second time this season that Thomas has been the First Star and earned a donation to his charity of choice.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally


Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious. 

Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy


Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It’s a bit of a helpless feeling for an NHL general manager watching their star players participate in an intense hockey tournament like the World Cup of Hockey that doesn’t directly benefit their respective teams.

Not helpless because of the tournament’s outcome, obviously, but helpless because players could return from Toronto dinged up, or even worse significantly injured.

Aaron Ekblad had to shut it down for Team North American with what many speculated was a concussion, and Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray is out a month, or more, with a broken hand sustained playing for the same young guns team.

So, it certainly must have been an uneasy few moments for Don Sweeney when Brad Marchand was pulled from Team Canada’s last game for the concussion protocol after a nasty-looking collision with Team Europe forward Marian Hossa.

Marchand went through the testing, and ended up returning to the game no worse for the wear. But it could have been a lot worse for a Bruins team that can’t afford to be missing Marchand, Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara, who are still playing for teams alive in the semifinal round of the tourney.

“I would expect all of us to have been in a similar situation. For everybody - any general manager, coaches, staff, you're concerned about [injuries],” said Sweeney, talking about the World Cup and Marchand’s close call. “I mean, especially when you realize the stakes are going to go up as the tournament goes along. The pride involved - it's a risk. There's no question, it's a risk.

“But you also want to see them play their best hockey and they're not going to hold back. Yeah, it's a definite concern. You've got your fingers and toes crossed.”

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask have already returned to Boston fully healthy. David Backes should be joining the team anytime now after Team USA’s rude dismissal from the tournament. But Sweeney and the Bruins still have their sensors out for the three B’s players taking part that aren’t quite out of the woods yet before returning to B’s camp in one piece.