Thomas focusing on the small picture

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Thomas focusing on the small picture

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- It looks like Tim Thomas is going to take his time with bold predictions and grand pronouncements.

The 37-year-old goalie had some fun with the season ticket holders during the State of the Bruins last week by stridently dedicating this season to repeating as winner of the Stanley Cup, Vezina Trophy and Conn Smyth Trophy for a second consecutive year.

"I won the Cup, the Conn Smythe and the Vezina, said Thomas. The conclusion I came to this summer is that I have no choice but to shoot for it again this year.

The confident Thomas played to the crowd with his certainty and brought down the house with fan applause and hollers once he finished up his sentence.

That version of Thomas had left the building on Saturday morning for the first day of camp. Instead, the Bs goaltender was more worried about tweaking his equipment than winning a triple crown of NHL goaltending awards during the month of September.

I talked about season goals before, but I dont think the first day of camp is the right time to talk about what you think is going to happen this year, said Thomas, who set the modern NHL record with a .938 save percentage last season. Id rather focus on the immediate that its the first day of camp and a small step forward. I just want to focus on getting better every day -- and the smaller picture -- rather than to get into that kind of stuff right now.

Thomas didnt need to be reminded about the whopping number of regular season and playoff games (82) he skated in last season. Thomas knows that many are expecting a physical letdown after his heavy workload last year, but the Bs goaltender said any offseason recovery was much more mentalemotional in nature rather than physical.

Hes not coming off hip surgery and Thomas was able to work out this summer as he always had in the past.

But Thomas has also never been quite as comfortable with his hockey station in life as he is right now after winning every award imaginable in one of the best NHL goaltending seasons in the modern era of hockey.

I actually feel good. Last year I was coming off that hip surgery and I wasnt even allowed to be on the ice until the first day of camp. If anything Im in better all-around condition than last year. At this point I dont feel the 82 games from last season anyway, said Thomas, who knew the exact number of games played off the top of his head. Physically I dont feel too bad. Mentally and emotionally you give so much energy that those are the harder parts to deal with.

Youre in battle mode for two months straight because thats what the playoffs are. Plus the whole season youre kind of in that mode, but it gets stepped up in the playoffs. To have it suddenly be over that was harder than the physical things for me anyway.

The only remaining vestige from Thomas playoff performance from last season: the handlebar mustache still on the Bs goaltenders face.

But even Thomas championship facial hair has no guarantee of making it to the regular season this year.

That would be part of the Bruins 'big picture' that Thomas isnt touching at this point in training camp.

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

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t show anything on the ice in Monday afternoon’s 4-0 matinee loss, and that’s not really any kind of an overstatement.

The scoring chances were almost nonexistent despite 32 shots on net, the second period was dreadful as the Bruins gave up three goals over the course of a six minute span and there was zero added urgency in the third period once the B’s fell behind. The emotion was missing from the drop of the puck to open the game and it never showed up once the Islanders began taking control of the game.

It was a bitterly disappointing result after the Black and Gold had played so well in their previous five games, and put in strong, winning efforts against the Panthers, Blues and Flyers.

On Monday afternoon, the passes were sloppy and errant all over the ice, there was zero physicality and the Bruins buckled once the Isles turned the intensity up just a little bit in the second period. The game was basically over once Nikolay Kulemin snapped one home wide open from the slot area with Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid and David Krejci all blowing their defensive assignments, and then Tuukka Rask followed it up by allowing a softie to Josh Bailey from a bad angle close to net.  

So Bruins head coach Claude Julien termed it a “flat” performance once it was all over with, and openly wondered whether it was fatigue-related result linked to the compacted schedule Boston has played through this season. Monday marked the seventh straight day that the Bruins held some kind of formal skate, though most of the veteran B's players stayed off the ice during last week's Wednesday off-day practice in Nashville.   

“We were flat tonight, obviously, flat from the get-go. I think that first half of the game, we didn’t give much until they scored that first goal. We were able to stay in, but we certainly weren’t generating much ourselves, from that point of view,” said Claude Julien. “His is really the first year, for me as well, going through a condensed schedule, and I’m certainly not using that as an excuse, is it fatigue?. . . But we were flat tonight. How do you explain it? I don’t know. I know that it’s frustrating. I know that it’s disappointing. That’s all I can say.

“Whether it’s mental fatigue, whatever it is. We made some mistakes tonight like, from the goals you look at, we weren’t even in the position that we’re normally in. So we were totally out of whack, as far as even defending. When you give that first goal that much room in the middle of the ice, your D’s go on the wrong side, your weak-side forward is way on the other side, and you open up the slot area, that’s something I haven’t seen much of this year. I think it said a lot from our game tonight.”

The compacted schedule certainly could be a factor for a Bruins team that’s played more games than anybody else in the Eastern Conference to this point, but the B’s also had 48 hours to recharge after winning a Saturday matinee over the Flyers. So the fatigue excuse seems a little far-fetched for a hockey club that’s no-showed a few too many times this season, and did it again on Monday afternoon against one of the worst teams in the NHL.