Thomas and Price engage in rare goalie fight

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Thomas and Price engage in rare goalie fight

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON There have been plenty of fights and scraps over the lengthy history of the rivalry between the Bruins and the Canadiens, but not many like this.

Two separate line brawls took place including a bloody mess that included Gregory Campbell tuning up Tom Pyatt with 40 seconds left go in the game and the two heated division rivals punched and jabbed their way to 13 fighting majors and seven misconducts in a bloodthirsty hockey game.

The Bruins ended up taking an 8-6 win over the Canadiens that widened their lead in the Northeast Division, and also featured that rarest of events: a brawl between All-Star goaltenders Tim Thomas and Carey Price. The goalie fight, more hugging and play fighting as Price called it than anything else, was the exclamation point at the end of a fight started by Brad Marchand barreling into Steve Wisniewski behind the Montreal net on an icing call.

Zdeno Chara ripped in on Max Pacioretty, Brian Gionta jumped Brad Marchand, Wisniewski and Steve Kampfer paired off and both Tomas Plekanec and Roman Hamrlik tackled Mark Recchi behind the cage. While the refs separated all those combatants both Price and Thomas decided to drop their gloves and masks, and try their own hand at the fighting thing.

Thomas had a big 'ol plan and thought he could use a little strategy against the younger, bigger Price, but none of that worked out very well in the end. In Boston's first fight from a goalie since "Lord" Byron Dafoe in 2002, Thomas didn't quite take home the decision.But he did manage to stay healthy when there was more than a little concern from his coach watching behind the bench. "Its not something you like to see," said coach Claude Julien. "You never like to see your goaltenders get into those kinds of things but I'm certainly not sitting here and condemning him for doing that. Its the heat of the game. They were both willing combatants and you live with that."

Heres Thomas take on the fisticuffs between masked men:

Price was jumping in to the fight. I went off the blue line and he backed into his crease. So then Im like okay, and then he went in again. You just cant let it be an outnumbered situation, so thats what I was thinking when I went down there, said Thomas, who admitted hed fought a few times in junior hockey but not at all as an NHL goalie. He was more than willing to fight. And I had this big old plan. I was going to grab his right and I was going to throw lefts because I know hes bigger and taller and has a reach on me.

I thought I could do a better job throwing lefts in him. When I went to grab, he got a good hold on my right arm and I got nothing. So then I was like, oh now what do I do? I know hes got a big right cocked and ready to come, so I tried to switch arms and get my right free. I grabbed him by the back of the shirt, and when he threw the right I pulled on. I was trying to pull him off-balance and his shirt came off his head and then I fell. When I was falling my left arm came free, but then it was over. He fought with the fighters manners as far as not hitting when youre down.

Both goalies were very wary of the Brent JohnsonRick DiPietro fight that went down last week, and ended with the New York Islanders goalie and former Boston University star suffering facial fractures from one Johnson punch that knocked him off his skates. That meant they were careful and respectful given the cordial relationship theyve had while attending NHL events over the years.

I know Timmy pretty well. I think we were just out there play fighting more than anything, said Price. Neither one of us really wanted to get hurt, but we are out there doing whatever we had to do, I guess.

Whether it was play fighting or the real thing, it added to the heat and intensity that was brewing on the ice between the two teams and more importantly allowed both Thomas and Price to smile about it afterward. When Thomas was recounting the fight with reporters after the game, one of the Bs equipment guys yelled out Timmys a Killer! as he walked by the scene in the dressing room.

Thomas certainly proved he was no killer, but he did show he was another member of a hockey team standing up for each other in their biggest show me game of the hockey season.

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

Patrice Bergeron named Selke finalist for the fifth time

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Patrice Bergeron named Selke finalist for the fifth time

It was assumed that Patrice Bergeron will be finalist for the Selke Trophy again this season, and it became official on Thursday when it was announced that Bergeron, Ryan Kesler and Anze Kopitar were the three finalists for the award given to the best defensive forward.

It would be the third straight Selke Trophy and fourth overall for Bergeron if he can take the hardware home again during the NHL Awards in June, and the ever-humble No. 37 said he was just honored to once again be nominated.

“Being named a finalist for the Selke Trophy is a tremendous honor and one I am very grateful for,” said Bergeron in a press release. “While it is an individual award, my teammates and coaches deserve a lot of credit as well. Ryan and Anze are two elite players who both had great seasons and it is a privilege to be a finalist alongside them. Thanks to all of those who voted and I look forward to the NHL Awards Show on June 22.”

The Bruins center has won the Selke Trophy three times (2012, 2014 and 2015) and has now been a Selke finalist in each of the last five seasons. His three wins are tied for the second-most in NHL history, one behind Hall of Fame Canadiens forward Bob Gainey, who is the all-time leader with four Selke Trophies. Bergeron was the Bruins’ lone representative at the All-Star Game this winter for the second straight season, and was a no-brainer as a finalist given all of his defensive qualifications.

Bergeron finished the 2015-16 regular season leading the NHL in faceoffs taken (1,978) and for the second straight season led the league in faceoffs won (1,130) while finishing a solid seventh overall with a 57.1% faceoff win rate among players taking a minimum of 500 draws.

Thursday, April 28: Who are the lottery picks?

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Thursday, April 28: Who are the lottery picks?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while giving a thumbs up to “The Good Dinosaur” as quality family viewing.

*TSN Hockey Buddha Bob McKenzie breaks down the players available in the NHL draft lottery and what kind of names teams like the Boston Bruins should expect to be available with the first 14 picks.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski talks about the World of Cup ads with the ESPN creative people that made them happen. They used the word jarring in something of a positive fashion to describe them. I would use the word “not funny” for Reg Carling, the fictional character created for the ads. If they were trying to feature the personality of NHL players in those ads, I think they missed the mark. It’s not really a big deal in the final scheme of things, but it doesn’t make for a good first step in drawing hockey fans back to the four letter network.  

*Good luck to Cam Tucker, a hockey writer based out of Vancouver that appears to have been one of the latest to be downsized in our industry.

*Dennis Bernstein has some thoughts, facts, analysis and theories surrounding the Los Angeles Kings, who have a long time to think about their first-round exit from the playoffs.

*Bruce Garrioch has some info on Ottawa’s long range plan to move to a needed downtown arena and that being the blueprint for most other Canadian cities.

*Tracey Myers has a dilemma for the Blackhawks: Andrew Shaw wants to stay, but the question is whether the Blackhawks can afford him?

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Bruce Boudreau lamenting the tough Game 7 loss for the Anaheim Ducks to the Nashville Predators. The loss may cost Boudreau his job, and will see a lot of new blood in the West with Chicago, Los Angeles and Anaheim now all out of the postseason.

*For something completely different: how can you say “no” to a tour of the world’s most magnificent treehouses.

Bruins have slim chance at No. 1 in NHL Draft lottery Saturday

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Bruins have slim chance at No. 1 in NHL Draft lottery Saturday

The Bruins will know a great deal more in a couple of days about their prospects for NHL Draft weekend in Buffalo this June.

The NHL will hold its annual draft lottery in Toronto on Saturday night for those teams outside the playoffs that hold first-round picks or those shrewd enough to have secured a first-rounder and still have reached the playoffs. 

The Bruins will have two first-round picks regardless of what happens: they hold their own lottery-eligible selection along with the first-round pick from the San Jose Sharks sent to Boston last summer in the trade for goaltender Martin Jones. The Sharks are still alive in the postseason, so the B’s second selection will be a late first-rounder.

The Bruins were the last NHL team eliminated from playoff contention, so they hold the slimmest odds of securing the first overall pick with a 1 percent chance in the Auston Matthews sweepstakes.

It’s too bad because the kind of game-breaking talent available at the top of the draft is exactly what the Black and Gold franchise needs after trading away top-10 first-round picks in Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton the past three years.

The Bruins will have roughly the same odds for the second (1.1 percent chance) and third overall picks (1.3 percent chance) should they miss out on No. 1, but the chances are still slim at they will pick anywhere but the same exact 14th overall pick where they selected Jake DeBrusk last season. Should they get a selection in the top three, the Bruins would be looking at big-time center Matthews, and a pair of Finnish wingers in Patrick Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi, along with Matthew Tkachuk (son of Keith Tkachuk and cousin to Jimmy Hayes).

The highest rated D-man on the board is Sarnia Sting blueliner Jakob Chycrun, who is a player the Bruins would need to trade up for, a la their attempt at Noah Hanifin last year. The Bruins will have assets to potentially make that happen, but we all know how that worked out last season for Don Sweeney when a big part of “the plan” was moving up to nab one of last year’s blue chip D-men in the draft.   

Hopeful Bruins fans can try their luck with the NHL Draft Lottery Simulator online, but fair warning that you won’t see the Spoked ‘B’ come up very much while hashing out the order of the top three overall picks for late June at the First Niagara Center.