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

Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

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Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, after a busy morning celebrating my 3-year-old’s birthday at the trampoline park. Yee-ha.

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri says that adding toughness was a big offseason priority for the Montreal Canadiens.

*There’s at least one big fan of the Edmonton Oilers trade that brought defenseman Adam Larsson from the New Jersey Devils, and that fan’s name is Mark Letestu.

*Here’s everything you need to know about the Ice Guardians movie premiering this fall that takes a long, balanced look at the NHL enforcers.

*Roberto Luongo has an alibi for the robbery in Winnipeg with one suspect getting away in goalie equipment, and it’s funny as you would expect it to be.

*CSN Washington takes a look at the New York Rangers in their season previews for the Metro Division.

*I’m not entirely sure whether this “RIP Harambe” thing is genuine or meant to be ironic by the largely millenial group that seem so enamored with it, but I think it’s just stupid. I think the same with the crying Jordan meme…also stupid.

*For something completely different: a look at how Triumph the Insult Comic Dog learned how to poop on Trump’s politics.

 

Countdown to camp: Danton Heinen

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Countdown to camp: Danton Heinen

Click here for the gallery.

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: Danton Heinen.

Danton Heinen exploded into a high-profile prospect for the Bruins after finishing among the NCAA’s top scoring players a couple of years ago as a freshman along with a couple of guys named Jack Eichel and Dylan Larkin. 

Since then, Heinen has continued to produce offense at the University of Denver and continued to create offense that leads to points. Now, the 21-year-old Heinen will be entering the professional arena for his first full season with the Bruins and he’ll be attempting to transition from the prospect phase to a regular gig in the NHL. That’s the challenge for a talented player who appears headed into a very good opportunity in NHL training camp.

 

What happened last year

Heinen was every bit as explosive in his second season for Denver as he was in his brilliant freshman campaign. He improved on his scoring with 20 goals and 48 points in 41 games. Then Heinen signed with the Bruins at the end of his sophomore season and played in a couple of pro games in the AHL with Providence as a tune-up for this first full pro campaign with the Bruins organization. Heinen finished with two assists and a plus-1 rating in four games with the P-Bruins and showed the coaches in Providence that he was ready to play and produce with more talented players. If Heinen surprised a little bit as a breakout freshman two years ago, his sophomore follow-up in Denver last season proved to everybody that he wasn’t a fluke.

 

Questions to be answered this season

The real question surrounding Heinen is about his ceiling as an NHL player and just how good he can become as a player with the skills and playmaking abilities to be a top-six forward. He’s proven he can dominate at the collegiate level while admittedly playing with some pretty good teammates at Denver. Heinen showed at the end of the season in Providence that the pro scene might not be much different for him. At this point, Heinen simply needs to go out and prove it against the best players in the world and show that his speed, playmaking and hockey sense are all elite in the AHL or NHL. Heinen’s biggest obstacle might be his size. He'll need to survive as a targeted skill player despite not being much more than the 6-feet, 180-pound range for a forward. It’s about average for a playmaking wing in the NHL, but the hits and attention will be at a much more intense level than anything he faced in the NCAA world.

 

What they're saying

“He’s the type of player that he can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ and he’s got really good skill. I think anywhere you put him, he’s smart enough to figure it out. I think you’ll notice him during training camp. It will definitely be up to him, but I think he’ll push some guys.” –Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo on Heinen during last month’s development camp where Heinen soared as a performer.

 
Outlook

While Heinen still has some things he’ll need to prove before he’s a regular contributor for the Bruins, he comes into the Boston fold as an experienced player following two very good seasons at the college level. So, Heinen should be a little closer to plug-and-play for Claude Julien than some of the other young players that have come through the system in the past couple of years. Heinen will still need to flash in camp while being handed a big spot to perform with high-end veterans Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand potentially off playing in the World Cup of Hockey. Heinen also has a much greater chance of winning an NHL job sooner rather than later after the Bruins lost out on the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes and still have a top-six forward opening that somebody is going to fill. Heinen and Frank Vatrano are the two biggest favorites to fill that position, which became vacant when Loui Eriksson departed for Vancouver. Whichever winger loses that battle should be also be a strong candidate for a role on the third line, as well, barring any late veteran signings by the B’s. That set of circumstances leaves a very good situation for Heinen to potentially walk into with the Black and Gold, but he'll still have to show he’s fully capable of seizing his good fortune and good timing. 

Bruins’ new Warrior Ice Arena practice facility to open Sept. 8.

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Bruins’ new Warrior Ice Arena practice facility to open Sept. 8.

The Bruins’ new practice facility has been years in the making and they will finally get to officially open the doors to Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton next month. 

The B’s players will start informal captain’s practice skates at the new facility on the New Balance property in these final days of August, but the team announced on Friday that the new facility will be officially opened to the public on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs, team president Cam Neely, general manager Don Sweeney and a number of players will be on hand for the opening ceremony and ensuing open house for the media. Also planning to attend from New Balance will be Owner and Chairman Jim Davis and NB Development Group LLC Managing Director Jim Halliday, along with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo. 

Following the formal portion of the event, Warrior Ice Arena will host the “Boston Youth All-Star Game featuring Bruins Alumni” which will feature local squirt players from the Boston communities of Allston-Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, Hyde Park, South Boston and West Roxbury mixed in with members of the Bruins alumni. 

The Youth All-Stars will team with Bruins alumni and they will play the first official game before the ice is turned over to the current Bruins players for their training camp later in the month.

The Warrior Ice Arena gets its name from the Warrior brand of hockey equipment that is now a division of New Balance and comes with a 79-foot high Warrior hockey stick that greets visitors at the front entrance doors.

Warrior Ice Arena will be the B’s new and permanent practice home after the Bruins spent 25-plus years practicing in the suburbs of Boston at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.