Notes: Thomas ready to take on the Bell Centre

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Notes: Thomas ready to take on the Bell Centre

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON, Mass. Tim Thomas is raring to go against the Montreal Canadiens.

He knows his career numbers against Montreal are among the worst he has against any team, and his body of work at the Bell Centre is less than stellar. Hes 10-14-4 with a 3.05 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage in 28 career games against the Habs.

Despite all of that, along with the hate expected to be brewing on the ice, Thomas thinks hes thoroughly ready to go against a Habs team that should bring the best out of him a scary thought for Canadiens players looking for weaknesses in the game of a goalie that set an NHL record with a .938 save percentage this season.

It gets me into the game. I generally have problems with the teams that are overly nice to me, which is kind of weird. When everybody is just playing hockey the way you need to do to get wins, it just helps me get into the game, said Thomas. It happens in most series no matter who youre playing against. At this time of year whoever the team is lined up against you, thats the team you have to go through in order to get to your goal. Thats the way were going to approach it.

Thomas, 36, admitted that he used to get too keyed up to play at the Bell Centre during playoff games against the Canadiens when he would really drink in the frenzied atmosphere around him. But he quickly realized he cant do that and also be ready to play against a team with such talented offensive playmakers as Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri and P.K. Subban.

We have quite a few guys that have played there in playoff atmospheres, and hopefully that works out for us, said Thomas. The Bell Centre was never disorienting or dizzying. It can be one of the most fun places to play. Its just got a lot of energy and youve got to channel it to the good.

Sometimes you have to block the energy so you remain focused and calm, and other times you can use the energy. The atmosphere can make it easier or harder. Its usually up to you. During the national anthems theres a lot of energy and its really loud. My first year there in the playoffs I was trying to really take in the atmosphere and stuff, but then when they first dropped the puck it really messed me up for the first few minutes of the game at least.

Thomas said he has indeed played in the Lake Placid rink before, as part of the ECAC tournament finals when he played goaltender for the University of Vermont. Thomas was looking forward to spending a couple of days at the former US Olympic site between Games Three and Four in Montreal.

The college Catamounts simply drove in and out of the rink when he played there.

I hadnt put to much thought into it until I was asked about it. It ought to be interesting to go to the site of 1980 Miracle on Ice, said Thomas. It looks like Ill have a little more time to walk around the town. It was the biggest influence on my life as a hockey player, by far.

Itll be a place to get away outside of Montreal. Zdeno Chara probably wont need a security guard there than he would be in Montreal. Its a lot better than being in Montreal and being a part of the circus.

Tyler Seguin isnt expected to play, at least at the start of the series, and coach Claude Julien hopes the youngster takes something from the first games or two against the Canadiens that he may be able to potentially use on the ice later in Bostons playoff run.

This is a chance for him to grow no matter how he plays or how much he doesnt play, said Seguin. There is something to be learned while being a part of a team in the playoffs.

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

Countdown to camp: Austin Czarnik

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Countdown to camp: Austin Czarnik

From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2016-17 Bruins. Today: Austin Czarnik.

View the gallery here

Krejci, Krug aim to be ready for Bruins opening night

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Krejci, Krug aim to be ready for Bruins opening night

BRIGHTON – Only two Bruins players spoke to the media following the team’s first informal captain’s practice at the new Warrior Ice Arena facility, and it happened to be the two key players coming back from offseason surgery.

Torey Krug had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder shortly after last season was over, and David Krejci had hip surgery to take care of a lower body issue that had bothered him for each of the last two seasons. Both were on the ice on Monday morning along with John-Michael Liles, Adam McQuaid, Frank Vatrano and Noel Acciari, though Krejci hopped off the ice 15 minutes into the session once the skating drills started to ramp up.

Similarly, Krug wasn’t taking any one-timers or winding up for slap shots while working with the puck during drills amidst a six month recovery window that’s expected to carry over into October. Both said that playing on opening night was their goal at this point still weeks ahead of NHL training camp, but a decision should be forthcoming for Krejci when it comes to the World Cup of Hockey. It didn’t sound like the playmaking pivot was going to end up competing for Team Czech Republic in the tournament, but Krejci isn't shutting the door just yet.

“It’s another day closer. I did a little bit more stuff today and I’m obviously already on the ice, so I’m kind of getting there. This injury takes time, but I like where I’m at right now,” said Krejci, who originally hurt the left hip in the final preseason game prior to the 2014-15 seasons. “Every day is a step closer. I’m excited for tomorrow. If you asked me a long time ago [about the World Cup] then I would have said ‘yes’, but right now I just want to get to 100 percent.

“If I’m ready then that would be awesome, but if not then I have to do what I have to do to be 100 percent. I’m in contact with the national team coach, and we talk pretty every week. They’re asking about my updates, so they know what’s going on. I’m sure they have some backup plan if it’s not going to work out. We’ll see what happens.”

It’s not quite as cut-and-dry with Krug, who will start slowly going into training camp while ramping up to being ready as quickly as possible. Similar to Krejci, the shoulder injury was something Krug played with pretty much all of last season while scoring a career-low four goals in 81 games. The 25-year-old D-man wasn’t using the bum right shoulder as an excuse, but said he’s looking forward to feeling good as new again as soon as possible.

“When you miss the playoffs it’s a long summer, but I was very fortunate going through the shoulder surgery that I had a lot of time to recover,” said Krug, who averaged a career-high 21:37 of ice time last season. “Hopefully I’ll be good to go for the first game. I didn’t know what to expect, but from a medical standpoint they tell me that [I’m ahead of schedule]. I’d never been through a surgery or anything like this, but I feel good.

“It’s probably a harder road, but I’m in good hands and they tell me I’m where I’m supposed to be. I’m not even using my shoulder shooting the puck. I’m taking it slow and day-by-day with plenty of time still leading up to camp. It’s probably going to be a play it by ear situation [to start camp]. They said six month, so camp would be about five months. So I doubt I’ll be taking part in the physical aspect of it [to start camp]. We’ll see how it goes.”

The bad news is that Krejci and Krug had to go through surgery at all last spring, but it sounds like both aren’t going to miss much, if any, time at all for the B’s once the regular season winds up. 

Krejci more disappointed in losing Eriksson than missing out on Vesey

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Krejci more disappointed in losing Eriksson than missing out on Vesey

BRIGHTON – The Bruins held their first informal skate at the new Warrior Ice Arena on Monday morning and there were a number of players present that also took part in the Jimmy Vesey recruiting session a few weeks ago.

Both Torey Krug and David Krejci skated on Monday along with John-Michael Liles, Frank Vatrano, Adam McQuaid and Noel Acciari, and those two aforementioned Black and Gold veterans were also part of the recruiting group that met with the former Harvard captain at their new practice facility.

A few days later, Vesey spurned the Bruins to sign with the New York Rangers, and the reactions weren’t all that overheated from the B’s players. Krug played with Vesey on Team USA during the World Championships a little more than a year ago, and didn’t really begrudge the highly sought Hobey Baker Award winner choosing the Blueshirts.

“I’m not going to go into details. He had the right to do what he did, and obviously it was a smart decision to interview with all those teams and figure out the best fit for him,” said Krug. “We wanted to him here, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. Now we move on, and there’s an opportunity for other guys to step in and take that spot. This group moving forward, we’re highly motivated this year.”

Krejci would have been Vesey’s center, as pitched by the Bruins management in the meeting with Vesey, but that wasn’t enough to woo him to play pro hockey in his hometown. Krejci said he was more disappointed losing linemate Loui Eriksson than falling short in the Vesey sweepstakes. The carousel of changing wingers will be moving once again for the B’s pivot.

“I wasn’t really disappointed with that guy. Obviously I’d heard he was a good player, but he has to prove himself on the NHL level. I was more disappointed that we weren’t able to keep Loui. I felt like we had some good chemistry going,” said Krejci, referencing 30-goal scorer Eriksson departing for the Vancouver Canucks and a six-year, $36 million contract. “It was tough to see him go, but I’m getting kind of used to seeing my guys, my favorite guys, going away [like] Milan [Lucic], Nathan [Horton] and [Jarome] Iginla.

“So I’m going to have to play my game, and find chemistry with whoever is going to play on my line. I did meet him, and talked to him a bit. In the summer there aren’t many [hockey] things for people to talk about, so this [Vesey watch] was something for people to talk about. Obviously there was pressure on him, but he brought it on himself, I guess. I feel like he would have been a good fit on our team, but he made the decision he did. I don’t know exactly why he made the decision that he didn’t want to stay [in Boston], but it’s his career and he has all the right to decide where it is he wants to play.”

So Vesey becomes just another Harvard grad headed to New York City to start his career, and the Bruins will likely turn to Vatrano or perhaps rookie playmaker Danton Heinen as left wing candidates alongside Krejci and David Pastrnak after Boston missed out on both Eriksson and Vesey this summer.