Thomas responds to Luongo's verbal barbs

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Thomas responds to Luongo's verbal barbs

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs

BOSTON Tim Thomas finally got to voice his response on Sunday afternoon to Vancouver Canuck Roberto Luongos strange plea for compliments and tire-pumping.

Luongo seemed to feel like Thomas hadnt duly complimented his Vancouver counterpart through the series, and that misplaced sentiment came after Luongo stridently stated that he could have stopped the game-winning goal in Game 5 that Thomas couldnt make a play on.

On Luongo saying he would have stopped Maxim Lapierres goal, the 37-year-old Bruins goalie took the high road saying that he didnt want to get into it while stressing that he was focused on what I can do to help my team win going into Game 6. There was the slightest hint of a stress on the my team portion of Thomas statement.

But the likely Vezina Trophy winner couldnt resist responding to Luongos bizarre assertion that the Canucks' puck-stopper has pumped the tires of the Bs goaltender throughout the series and in turn Thomas has said nothing nice about him.

I guess I didnt realize it was my job to pump his tires, said Thomas to a barrel of laughter from the crowd. I guess I have to apologize for that.

I stick with all of the other goalies in being one and knowing what it takes to perform at this level and with this amount of pressure. I understand to a certain extent what every other goalie is going through.Luongo responded later in the afternoon with the contention that he was never trying to be negative in his original answer about the Lapierre goal, and that the ensuing media frenzy has been the ultimate misunderstanding of innocent intentions. Most aren't buying it despite the Vancouver goalie's protestations."Listen, I know we're in the Stanley Cup Final and everything is under the microscope and going to get blown out of proportion," said Luongo. "Obviously my whole comment I don't think was a negative comment if you take the whole comment."But at the end of the day, I'm one win away from winning a Stanley Cup. That's all I really care about now. All the other stuff is noise to me and doesn't really affect what's going to take place for me tomorrow night. To be honest with you, I don't really care."The more Luongo opines about things he has no business addressing and states how much he truly doesn't care about somebody "pumping his tires," the more a guy like William Shakespeare would say the Vancouver netminder "doth protest way too much." The bottom line for Luongo: improving on a TD Garden scene that's been a house of horrors as he allowed 12 goals in two games that amounted to a lot more than "a couple of bad bounces" as he attempted to spin it for the media. The bottom line for Thomas: he has a chance to remain hot and make sure people will be pumping his Stanley Cup Final tires for a long time to come.When the puck drops on Monday night for Game 6, it will be with all of the hue and cry in the rear view mirror and everyone focused on the actual goaltending play that started kick-started the entire flap in the first place.

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

Marchand: 'No place I'd rather play' than Boston

Marchand: 'No place I'd rather play' than Boston

The Bruins made it official on Monday -- mere minutes after the news had broken -- as they clearly couldn’t wait to announce an eight year, $49 million contract extension for Brad Marchand. who is finishing up his Team Canada gig at the World Cup of Hockey.

PROFILE: Joe Haggerty's preseason look at Brad Marchand

The deal averages $6.125 million per season, broken up between actual salary and signing bonus money. The Bruins were most definitely given a hometown discount by an elite player who snapped home a career-high 37 goals and 60 points last season, the most goals scored by a Bruins player since Glenn Murray in 2002-03. And everybody knows goal scorers get paid in the NHL, even if Marchand won’t be expected to score quite that many every year.

Marchand, 28, has also been the second-leading scorer in the entire World Cup of Hockey tournament, behind only Sidney Crosby, and continues to raise his profile in the NHL world beyond his customary agitator role. The “Nose Face Killah” could have waited for until free agency if he'd wanted to pick up every last nickel on the table, but it’s very clear he’s invested in the team that drafted and developed him, and with which he won a Cup five years ago.

"This is an extremely exciting day for me and my family," said Marchand, who now has a full no-move clause for the first five years of his next contract. "I would like to thank the Jacobs family, [president] Cam Neely, [general manager] Don Sweeney, [coach] Claude Julien, the coaching staff, my teammates and our fans for their continued support and belief in me. I have been a Bruin since the start of my pro career and there is no place I would rather play. I look forward to doing everything I can to help our team achieve success and bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston."

Marchand has been among the team’s leading scorers since joining the league in 2010-11, has been the NHL’s most dangerous penalty killer over the last five years, and pairs with Patrice Bergeron to anchor the top line. He’s also become much more of a leader in the last few seasons as other character veterans have been peeled away from the core group, and a hometown discount proves it one of the most meaningful ways possible.

It was clear Marchand was invested in the Bruins when he helped recruit free agent David Backes with phone calls this summer, and he was also present for the recruiting pitch to Jimmy Vesey at Warrior Ice Arena last month.

The Bruins players at training camp were happy to hear No. 63 was going to be in Boston for the long haul.

“Marchy is Marchy. I think everybody kind of knows what that means,” said Kevan Miller. “He’s been great for our organization and great for the fans and for this city. He’s been all in since Day One, and he’s been a guy that I looked up to.”

While the Bruins have confirmed the contract, Sweeney won't weigh in until later today. But one would expect there will be an appreciation for the skill of the player, and Marchand’s commitment to the organization after accepting less than he could have gotten on the open market.

Monday, Sept. 26: So what happens if Canada loses World Cup final?

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Monday, Sept. 26: So what happens if Canada loses World Cup final?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while finding it hard to believe that it’s game day for the Boston Bruins. Summer is officially O-V-A.
 
-- The Montreal media is starting to get on board with this tougher, grittier version of the Habs, along with a healthy Carey Price.
 
-- Pierre McGuire sits in with Ottawa’s TSN sports radio station and talks Team Europe in the World Cup, as well as a number of other things.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Zeisberger is already openly wondering what would happen in Canada if they lose to Team Europe in the best-of-three final to the World Cup.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski asks Brad Marchand if a part of him has thought about playing with Sidney Crosby on the Penguins if he hits free agency. Bells, alarms and whistles should be going off on Causeway Street to give No. 63 whatever he wants at this point. In case you missed it, I talked about the danger of Crosby trying to woo his Nova Scotian buddy to Pittsburgh last week.
 
-- PHT writer James O’Brien says it sounds like the St. Louis Blues are going to play a more aggressive brand of hockey this season.
 
-- For something completely different: Forbes Magazine says Pete Carroll, not Bill Belichick, should be considered the NFL’s foremost cheater.