Rested Thomas ready for playoff run

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Rested Thomas ready for playoff run

Tim Thomas ended up playing in 59 games this season, and it wasnt exactly an ideal situation for the Bruins.

The 37-year-old still made his customary 55 starts for the Bs, but it was the most overall appearances for the goaltender since he played in 66 games for Boston during the 2006-07 season. For a team that was trying to get their franchise goaltender a little more rest this season after playing 82 games last year between the regular season and playoffs, it wasnt how they sketched it out before the season.

Things essentially got tossed out the window once Tuukka Rask went out of the lineup with the strained groinabdomen at the end of February.

In hindsight I dont think theres anything that I would say thats perfect. Because Tuukka Rask got hurt, we had to use Thomas more. But having said that I dont think hes a tired goaltender. I think hes mentioned that, said Claude Julien. I dont see him being tired right now. Ive seen Tim tired before and I see the signsbut hes certainly not tired.

If anything he took the whole week off and avoided him traveling to Ottawa, which gave him even more rest. Weve got a few days here to work on our game and get ourselves sharpened up, and that includes Thomas.

But Thomas looked no worse for the wear after making 25 stops in Bostons 4-3 shootout win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday afternoon, and appears properly rested for a long, productive playoff run. There is still some question as to whether Tuukka Rask will be ready to fill in as his backup goaltender when they open up with the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.

But theres no question about Thomas readiness. In his last five games Thomas finished 4-0-1 with a .931 save percentage and a 2.00 goals against average and is looking infinitely more like the guy that snagged the Conn Smythe Trophy last season. Perhaps he finally found his scientist-approved focus, and hes going to need it now that hes returning to the Washington DC scene of the crime where he skipped out on the White House visit back in January.

Its been scientifically proven you can only focus on one thing at a time. If you are out there playing in a game and you are getting ready for the playoffs then you probably should be focusing on that, said Thomas. I have been catching my breath. It was good to get back in a game right before the playoffs. Now we have a few days to prepare and hopefully be able to hit the ground running on Thursday.

What Thomas didnt explain is the new Warrior goalie pads he was featuring against the Capitals on Saturday. It remains to be explained if those are the pads Thomas will be utilizing in the playoffs, but he did wear one new pad and one older one during a practice last week.

That means Thomas only has the energy for the upcoming playoff run, but has some left over to tinker with equipment that the notoriously finicky is almost never completely satisfied with. But thats part of what has made Thomas so successful over the last five years, and its the reason every team in the NHL fears a well-rested Bs puck-stopper when the playoffs begin in earnest.

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

NEW ORLEANS -- There will be a significant faction of Celtics Nation who will see DeMarcus Cousins’ trade to New Orleans as a lost opportunity for the C's, who could have offered a much more enticing trade package than the one the Sacramento Kings accepted.
 
The Kings received nothing even remotely close to a king’s ransom for Cousins, acquiring him in exchange for rookie Buddy Hield, journeyman Langston Galloway and ex-Pelican Tyreke Evans (who has never been the same since his Rookie of the Year season in 2010), along with a protected first-round pick and a future second-round selection.

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While the knee-jerk reaction is to focus on why Boston decided to not pursue a trade for Cousins, more important is what the non-decision means for the moment and going forward.
 
Think about what the Celtics have done in the last three-plus seasons.
 
They went from being a lottery team to one that has the second-best record in the East. They're holding the potential No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft; at worst, the pick will be in the top four or five. They have three of the most team-friendly contracts (Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder) in the NBA. They have promising prospects overseas as well as in the D-League. And they're led by a coach who has improved his coaching acumen -- and the team’s win total -- every year he's been on the job.
 
And it's all enveloped by a culture with a high level of selflessness, which has created a locker-room environment that has been more about fighting for each other than fighting one another or others off the court.
 
Do you really think Cousins’ talent would have trumped the baggage he'd be bringing to the Celtics if they'd acquired him?
 
For him to have fit in with this team would have required him to make the kind of changes that, frankly, I just don’t see him being capable of making at this point.
 
On more than one occasion, “not fitting in” with the Celtics culture was given to me as the reason why a Cousins-to-Boston trade never gained any traction with the team’s brass. Or coaching staff, for that matter.
 
While there's no denying that he's arguably the best center in the NBA, Cousins is a high-risk, high-reward talent that makes sense to pursue if you're a franchise which has nothing to lose by adding him to the mix. Like, say, New Orleans.
 
The Pelicans are 11th in the Western Conference despite having Anthony Davis, who has been asked to carry the weight of a franchise that has yet to figure out the best combination of talent to surround him with and find success.
 
The addition of Cousins not only provides Davis some major help, but serves as a reminder of just how desperate the Pelicans are.
 
While there are mixed reports on whether the package of assets the Kings agreed to was the best they could have received for Cousins, there was no way they were going to get anything close to comparable talent in exchange for him.
 
And that was solely due to the risk that any team was willing to take on in order to acquire him.
 
At some point, the Celtics need to take advantage of an opportunity to go all-in for a superstar player. But this was not that time, or that player.