Thomas deflects Vezina talk; Julien backs Ference

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Thomas deflects Vezina talk; Julien backs Ference

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- The Bruins didn't practice on Friday, but several players, along with coach Claude Julien were available to the media, a day after their dramatic come-from-behind overtime win in Montreal that evened their playoff series at 2-2.

The two biggest stories of the day were Tim Thomas receiving a nomination for the Vezina Trophy, and Andrew Ference's 2,500 fine for pointing his middle finger to the Montreal crowd after scoring Boston's second goal on Thursday night.

Thomas was asked about officially being a Vezina Trophy finalist, and after losing his starting job to Tuukka Rask last year, his response was just as expected.

"Very happy to hear that, obviously," said Thomas inside the Bruins locker room at the TD Garden on Friday. "After last year, wasnt quite sure if Id ever hear that again. And so obviously very happy."

Thomas will be a favorite to capture the award, over Roberto Luongo and Pekka Rinne, but with the timing of the announcement coming right in the middle of a crucial playoff series with the Canadiens, Thomas was asked if talk of the award will be a distraction.

"Only if you make it," said Thomas. "Its weird timing, that we happen to be in the middle of a very tough first round series. So its really, to be honest with you, its an honor. And I could talk about it right now but my focus will immediately go back to the playoff series. I wont be thinking about the Vezina later today."

Distracted or not, everyone in the organization feels he's worthy.

"I think its pretty obvious to me, and Tim is very deserving of that nomination, and obviously I am a big fan of what he has done this year," Julien said on Friday. "And if you ask me he certainly deserves it and Im sure that would get some arguments from other places. But Im certainly going to support Tim for the season hes had. Especially what he went through last year and to bounce back this year and have that kind of season, he is certainly very deserving. So I wish him all the luck and hope that he wins what he deserves."

Julien also commented on Ference's hand gesture to the Montreal crowd, saying that all he plans on doing is backing his player.

"With Andrew, I think hes been pretty open at what he thinks of the situation and his comments were pretty clear," Julien said. "And Im going to support my player. Thats my job, to support and believe your player and thats what I am going to do."

A day later, Ference was sticking with his story, that the finger in his glove got stuck, and that all he was doing was giving a fist pump.

"I talked to Mike Murphy of the NHL this morning and explained the same thing that I told you guys last night," said Ference. "He said the same thing, that it looks awful, obviously. And with this series, the whole year, how it is between the Habs and the Bruins, the fine was acceptable.

"I was pumping my fist," added Ference. "Im not giving anyone the bird or anything like that. Like I told them, it was an unintentional bird. I obviously apologize for it, it wasnt meant to insult anybody, especially a whole row of cameras in the Bell Centre and the fans sitting there. Thats definitely not the intention."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Sweeney on lack of B's deals: "I wasn't trading David Pastrnak"

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Sweeney on lack of B's deals: "I wasn't trading David Pastrnak"

BUFFALO – A year ago Don Sweeney traded away one of his talented young players for pennies on the dollar when he shipped Dougie Hamilton to Calgary for three draft picks, and it would appear he’s learned from that experience. While the Bruins general manager admitted he was desperately in search of some defensemen help this weekend, Sweeney said the prices were too high to get a deal done on Friday night at the First Niagara Center.

A source indicated to CSNNE.com earlier on Friday that All-Star defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk would end up with “the Bruins, Flyers or Rangers” this season, but it sure sounded like the St. Louis Blues were pricing themselves out of making any deals. According to Sweeney, other team’s managers were asking him to include both of his 2016 first round picks and more to swing a deal for a defenseman, and that young right wing David Pastrnak’s name kept coming up in these discussions.

That was far too steep an asking price in the rightful minds of Sweeney and Bruins management, so there were no defensemen that ended up getting moved on Friday night. Unfortunately, other NHL teams will keep asking about the emerging Pastrnak knowing full well that the Bruins are in a desperate position to repair their personnel on the back end. 

“In all honesty it would have taken both first rounders and then some…the acquisition cost was high. We want to continue to improve our hockey club with whatever we have to do, but it’s not unlike last year when it would have taken all three first rounders [to get a deal done]. There’s a balancing act there,” said Sweeney. “There was not a lot that moved around today. People have been laying foundation [for trades] for quite some time, but there are players that we’re just not comfortable putting into deals. I’m going to defend that. I’ll be honest with you that I just am.

“We’ve taken a position where we’re going to build this the right way. We want to be competitive and improve our team, and we’ll be active in the free agent market to fill holes while allowing our young players to push through. But I wasn’t trading David Pastrnak. We’ve been criticized, and rightfully so at times, for being impatient with our younger, skilled players. This represents a good opportunity that we don’t want to do that.”

Instead the Bruins selected Charlie McAvoy and Trent Frederic with the 14th and 29th overall picks in the first round, and they’ll start at the drawing board on Saturday while hoping to build toward a deal for a top-4 “transitional defenseman.” They’ll also do it knowing they made the right call in protecting the 14th pick where they selected a future transitional defenseman that will perhaps be a younger, cheaper version of Shattenkirk three years down the road. 

Joe Haggerty can be followed on Twitter: @HacksWithHaggs

Bruins select center Trent Frederic with 29th pick in 2016 NHL Draft

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Bruins select center Trent Frederic with 29th pick in 2016 NHL Draft

BUFFALO – The Bruins went off the board to make their second choice in the first round, and selected big, gritty center Trent Frederic from the U.S. National Team Development Program.  Frederic was ranked 47th among North American skaters by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, and is ultimately viewed as a solid bottom-six two-way center with limited offensive ability.

A nice Bruins-style player to be sure, but also the kind of player that can easily be picked in the second, or third, round rather than with the 29thpick in the first round. It’s pretty clear the B’s were hoping to package up the 29th pick along with a prospect to acquire a top-4 defenseman, and that they didn’t have many designs on actually choosing a player.

That led to a surprised Frederic, who was happy to be a first round pick if not a little blown away by his good NHL fortune.

“I guess I was a little surprised. If you could hear my whole family's reaction then you get the gist of it,” said Frederic, who listed David Backes and Justin Abdelkader as the NHL players he most models his game after in his career. “They were pumped, and I am pumped. As a player I’m a two-way physical player that’s good with the puck.

“I’ve had some tournaments in Boston, and some family vacations there. I visited Boston University when I thought about going there, and I’ve been to Fenway Park and TD Garden. It’s one of my favorite cities.”

The Frederic pick might have been off the beaten path a bit, but it was a pretty special selection for a number of other reasons: Frederic was the record-setting 12th US-born player taken in the first round, and the fifth player taken in the 2016 first round from the St. Louis area. The Bruins have to hope that he develops into a more dangerous, effective player during his college hockey days at Wisconsin, and that he feels a little less like the Bruins reaching for players in the first round for the second draft in a row. 

Photo via Joe Haggerty

Charlie McAvoy tweeted he hates the Bruins 'so much' in 2013

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Charlie McAvoy tweeted he hates the Bruins 'so much' in 2013

Tweet hunters dug up an old message from a Charlie McAvoy proclaiming his hatred for the Boston Bruins. McAvoy, of course, was drafted 14th by the Bruins in the 2016 NHL Draft.

The tweet read, "I hate the bruins so much" before it was quickly deleted.

I'm sure this will go over well for Bruins fans, even though you really can't blame McAvoy. He was just 15 at the time and a fan of the Rangers, who went down 3-0 in the playoffs against the Bruins.

As fans, we can all relate to that feeling.