Thomas' recent fame enables 'underdog' charity

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Thomas' recent fame enables 'underdog' charity

BOSTON -- With a day off from practice, the last place you'd expect to find Tim Thomas would be TD Garden.

But the 37-year-old goaltender has been working in earnest to get the Tim Thomas Foundation off the ground, and he announced on Tuesday that the Arbella Insurance Group was entering into a multiyear partnership with the TT Foundation that includs a 20,000 gift. Thomas has been putting together fundraisers and collecting partners for his charity.

Our hearts are in the same place, and that really makes it a good working relationship, said Thomas of pairing together with Arbella. Im just trying to take advantage of the position that Im in to do the most good that I can. Ive come to the realization that Im more popular and well-known than I probably want to be, but I can really do some good with that.

To be perfectly honest, I was wholly unprepared for things to blow up like they have . . . to get recognized all the time when I walk down the street. For me it was just about competing as hard as I could in every single game, and deep down finding out how much I could actually accomplish while I still had the ability to play. There is still more to add to that, though.

The mission of Thomas' foundation is to support the underdog, whether the underdog position was developed due to lack of opportunity, lack of education, illness or a disaster." The first fundraiser helped New England families decimated by the hurricane in Vermont and the tornadoes in Central Massachusetts, and Thomas commissioned a Movember Moustache goalie mask to be raffled off for charity at the end of the month.

All of it is fresh and new for Thomas, but hes excited to see how many lives he can touch with his foundation.

Clearly this is the perfect time for Thomas to start his charitable endeavors, given the glow that's still emanating from Vezina Trophy-, Conn Smythe- and Stanley Cup-winning season. Thomas is off to a solid start this year, too, with a 5-4 record, .931 save percentage and a 2.00 goals against average, and looks like he hasnt lost anything at age 37.

With a pair of Vezina trophies, a Stanley Cup championship and a Conn Smythe trophy to his name along with a Johnny Bower-style, rags-to-riches, late-career story, Thomas could arguably make a push for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

But hes trying not to set goals for himself in the bigger picture when his team is just starting to get things together when it comes to the important little things.

Ive discussed it a few times, and the opinion changes from time-to-time depending on how I feel, said Thomas. The conclusion Ive come to is that I want to play it year-by-year and see how it goes. Ive heard a lot of professional athletes say that when they get a little older, and I never understood it.

When youre young, you have this plan to be in the NHL by the age of 25 and do this thing or that thing. But then after awhile you toss all of that out because things never according to the plan anyway. You just learn to go with the flow.

Thomas flow has been downright historic during his tenure with the Bruins, and his standout play along with his budding foundation to benefit those in need within New England are true signs the Bs goaltender is here to stay for as long as wants.

Haggerty: It's time for Pastrnak to take a step forward

Haggerty: It's time for Pastrnak to take a step forward

BRIGHTON -- The third season is usually a pivotal one when it comes to an NHL player's development and trying to forecast exactly how high their ceiling will be.

So it is for David Pastrnak, who is expected to take a major leap forward in his third year after showing flashes of great promise in each of his first two seasons.

“The [World Cup] is done, so now all of my focus is on being as ready as I can for this upcoming season,” said Pastrnak, 20, who threw probably the biggest hit of his career on unsuspecting teammate Patrice Bergeron when the Czechs played Team Canada in the preliminary rounds. “I feel way bigger, very comfortable on the ice, and I obviously feel really good right now.”

Pastrnak has had moments of dazzling brilliance in Boston so far while riding the usual learning curve that every young player travels in Claude Julien’s system. In addition, injuries last season sidetracked his development process.

Pastrnak put up 21 goals and 55 points between Boston and Providence as the youngest player in either league as an 18-year-old rookie two years ago. Last season he had 15 goals and 26 points in 51 games for the Bruins while also missing significant time because of a fractured foot. The injury not only sidelined him for a few months but also made it difficult for him to jump onto the moving train of the NHL regular season once he was ready to return.

Just as the former first-round pick was really catching fire at the end of the year, time ran out on a Bruins team that had a few too many older veterans with empty gas tanks after being ridden hard throughout the season. Pastrnak scored goals in each of the final couple of games, and showed off the game-breaking ability that should be on full display if he's healthy and placed in a position to succeed.

His World Cup stint ended on a high note, as he played his best game of the tourney against Team USA, though he didn’t make a major impact in the elite international competition. He put on five pounds of muscle during the offseason and clearly looking bigger and stronger at 189 pounds after ending last season closer to 180.

Part of that is the natural physical maturation process for somebody Pastrnak’s age as he gain’s “man strength”, and some of it was a dedicated effort. He worked out in Boston with the B’s training staff for much of the summer for the first time in his career.

The expectation is that Pastrnak is going to be running on the right wing with David Krejci on Boston’s second line, and the search in training camp is for a left wing who can bring added playmaking ability and maybe a little size and strength to the mix. In a perfect world Krejci and Pastrnak will develop into the same dynamic, two-way combination of Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

Pastrnak and Krejci could be a lethal offensive duo to be sure, but they’ll also have to pay attention to the little details if they want to stay together playing for Julien. Perhaps with that in mind, Julien was looking to temper expectations for Pastrnak

“I don't know if [the World Cup experience] accelerates expectations. But it's certainly encouraging to see that a guy that's got that experience to go and play at that level, and made himself better,” said Julien. “We know he's skilled and we know he's fast, and he's also gotten stronger. He's taking steps in the right direction here. We can look at those guys that are first overall picks and say, wow, some guys are exceptional.

“Some of the guys, you've got to give them time to grow and develop. That's what we need to do with David Pastrnak. I think we've got to stop putting expectations too high for him, and allow him to grow properly. He's going to have some growing pains and there are still some things he's going to want to get better at. There are still some things that he's going to want to learn that we're going to want to teach him. Let's give him that opportunity to grow properly without the extra pressure and extra expectations that maybe are not realistic.”

One would argue Pastrnak put those expectations on himself when he posted the 21 goals and 55 points as an 18-year-old, but that’s neither here nor there. Instead, the Pastrnak development project can, and should, be one of the things considered when we evaluate Julien’s current ability to get the most out of his young prospect-type players.

The bottom line with Pastrnak and the Bruins is this: It’s his contract year and motivation should be sky high. The Czech youngster is one of the few people who can step up and help fill the offensive void left by the free-agent departure of Loui Eriksson. Expectations are much higher for an experienced, talented 20-year-old than they are for a wide-eyed 18-year-old, and Pastrnak needs to make a big stride forward. Now is the time for Pastrnak to show all he’s learned, and completely unleash the array of offensive skills that caught everybody’s eye in the first place.

The Bruins need Pastrnak, and young players, to step up and start taking ownership of the hockey team.

Beleskey, Spooner and McQuaid highlight Bruins lineup vs. Red Wings

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Beleskey, Spooner and McQuaid highlight Bruins lineup vs. Red Wings

The Bruins announced their lineup for the second preseason game on Wednesday night at home against the Detroit Red Wings, and it was slightly more veteran-laden than the youthful Boston group tapped for Monday night’s opening loss to the Blue Jackets.

Matt Beleskey, Ryan Spooner, Adam McQuaid and Dominic Moore lead the grizzled group of Bruins players readying for the exhibition tilt against their Atlantic Division rivals, and 19-year-old Zachary Senyshyn will make his preseason debut after getting fully medically cleared from appendectomy surgery a couple of weeks ago.

The 2015 first round pick has had a bit of a rough summer after bouts with mononucleosis and appendicitis forced him to miss Bruins rookie camp, but Senyshyn has quickly regained his strength and the blazing speed that's his biggest asset as a player. 

Austin Czarnik, Peter Mueller and Sean Kuraly are the only players from the opening night roster that will be in again to show their stuff against the Winged Wheels, and undoubtedly to get another long look from the Bruins coaching staff. Here is the full Black and Gold lineup for Wednesday night’s home date against the Red Wings with the untelevised exhibition game to be streamed on bruins.com

 

FORWARDS: Noel Acciari, Matt Beleskey, Anton Blidh, Austin Czarnik, Brian Ferlin, Jesse Gabrielle, Justin Hickman, Sean Kuraly, Dominic Moore, Peter Mueller, Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Spooner.

DEFENSEMEN: Linus Arnesson, Chris Casto, Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon, Adam McQuaid, Colin Miller.

GOALIES: Malcolm Subban, Daniel Vladar.