Notes: Thomas shrugs off domination of Canucks

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Notes: Thomas shrugs off domination of Canucks

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Tim Thomas has enjoyed the best regular season in the NHL's modern era of goaltending, stolen games for the Bruins during their playoff run, and journeyed deeper into the postseason than ever before.

And now, believe it or not, things are looking up.

The Canucks may have a high-powered offense, ready to strike at any time, but Thomas has owned them in his career. In three regular-season games against Vancouver, Thomas has stopped 97 out of 98 shots for a .990 save percentage. He has a perfect 3-0 record and boasts a pair of shutouts against the lineup featuring the NHLs wonder twins: Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

Thats as close to utter domination as a goaltender will ever achieve over one team, and it provides an interesting little sidelight heading into the Finals.

Thomas backstopped the Bs to a 3-1 win over the Canucks at Rogers Arena in February during their seven-game winning streak, and continued an impressive string of dominance against one of the NHLs best teams over the last five years.

As one might expect, Thomas isn't buying into any of the hype. After all, the regular-season games against the Canucks are one-shot deals during the season without the gravity of the playoffs.

The factors involved dont exactly give the proper reading on what will happen once playoff intensity and a chance at the Stanley Cup entered into the mix.

It really has no relevance," Thomas said. "Its kind of like, why did I have pretty good success against Ottawa? . . . . You know theres no rhyme or reason to it, it just happens to be the way its worked out.

There is no use dwelling on the success youve had before . . . What success you can have moving forward here over the next couple of games is whats going to be important.

Certainly, though, there's confidence in that he's enjoyed success against Vancouver and tasted victory in their building a pair of things that not every Eastern Conference netminder can say.

I havent thought about it that much, said insisted. I played against this team this year once. The other two times Ive played against Vancouver, its not even worth really comparing because they were a different team and we were a different team. I know the one game that we did win this season, it wasnt an easy game, and basically we had a one-goal lead for, you know most of the time.

I think we ended up getting a two-goal lead near the end. But it was a very tight game, so you can take a little bit of confidence that you won that one game. But it only goes so far.

Thomas might take a little confidence from the fact hes utterly confounded the Canucks during his head-turning run in Boston.

But you certainly wont hear him guaranteeing anything this time around.

Approximately 1,000 fans showed up at TD Garden Monday afternoon to cheer the Bruins as they departed via bus for their flight to Vancouver. Johnny Boychuk, David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton stopped to sign autographs for fans, shake hands and take in the send off from adoring fans on their way out of Boston.

Thornton skated with the Rich PeverleyGregory CampbellDaniel Paille line during practice, and donned a gold jersey in the process. Coach Claude Julien anticipated the question about Thorntons switch in practice, and said it amounted to a few more reps for the Bs enforcer after sitting out the entire Tampa Bay Lightning series.

Well, I knew that question was going to come up and I even said it before practice, Julien said. I said, Four golds, somebody is going to ask me about it.

"They dont get the same amount of ice time those others do. And with Thornton not having played, I think it was important for them to get a regular turn at practice. I wouldnt read more into it than it was.

Peverley spent time skating with the Brad MarchandPatrice Bergeron line, and alternated reps with Mark Recchi as hes done in the last few games.

Julien said he's seen the Stanley Cup during trips to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, but never had his picture taken with it.

All I said is, the day that I even get a picture or touch it will be the day Ive earned it, said Julien. Thats been my philosophy throughout my career as a coach.

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

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. 

 

 

Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

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Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while looking forward to watching the Luke Cage Netflix series.

*The Cult of Hockey has no issues with yours truly ranking the Edmonton Oilers 29th out of 30 teams in my first preseason NHL power rankings.

*An interesting piece about Brian McGrattan and his battle with alcohol in his career as an NHL tough guy. I can honestly say having covered him a bit when he was in the Bruins organization that he was one of the scariest dudes I’ve ever talked to in an NHL dressing room. A nice guy, but very intense and always looked like he definitely enjoyed his work on the ice.

*Dennis Seidenberg hopped on with the Hockey Central crew today to talk about his new contract with the New York Islanders.

*PHT writer and Friend of Haggs (FOH) Mike Halford has Guy Boucher with some serious Dion Phaneuf love going on in Ottawa.

*Jack Eichel is oozing confidence and swagger in his second NHL season with Buffalo looking to make a big step up this season.

*Scott Burnside said that the World Cup of Hockey could be coming to an end tonight and I think most predict that it will with a little bit of an anticlimactic thud due to the sheer awesomeness of Team Canada.

*For something completely different: “Aleppo Moment” sounds like a great name for a rock band. Not so much for a Presidential candidate.