Tim Thomas named finalist for Vezina Trophy

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Tim Thomas named finalist for Vezina Trophy

To the surprise of nobody, the NHL announced today that Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is one of three finalists for the 2010-11 Vezina Trophy, awarded annually "to the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position".

Thomas is one of three finalists, along with Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and Nashville's Pekka Rinne -- but it would be quite the upset if either one of them beat out Thomas.

Thomas' season went down in the record books as, statistically speaking, the best ever. His single-season save percentage, a mark of .938, squeaked by the previous record of .937 set by Dominik Hasek in 1998-99.

Thomas also ended the regular season with a record of 35-11-9, and had a GAA (goals against average) of 2.00. He posted nine shutouts this season along the way, a career high.

Thomas' resurgence as one of, if not the, top goalies in the league is somewhat of a surprise. After his Vezina Trophy season in 2008-09, his production dropped off considerably last season.

He was just 17-18, and his GAA rose from 2.10 to 2.56. By the end of the season and into the playoffs, Tuukka Rask was the Bruins' go-to guy, with hopes that the B's could trade Thomas during the offseason.

That isn't the case anymore. Rask is now the backup behind Thomas, and it should stay that way for the rest of the postseason.

The winner will be announced on June 22, during the 2011 NHL Awards.

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.

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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.