|06.21.11 at 2:11 am ET|
Each day this week, WEEI.com will be taking a look back at the Bruins’ historic 2010-11 Stanley Cup Championship season. We started it off by looking at the goal of the year and fight of the year. Up today is save of the year, and it should be fresh enough in people’s minds to remember.
SAVE OF THE YEAR
Tim Thomas on Steve Downie, Game 5 vs. Tampa Bay
“I was thinking, ‘Thank God he saved it.’ We were up by one goal in Game 5, so that was possibly the turning point in the series. They could have scored, won, gained momentum and had a chance to go back home and win. I was happy, but there’s been a lot of moments like that when there’s just a sigh of relief that ‘there he goes again.’ As amazing as his saves are, I don’t think anybody in here is amazed that he makes them, because he’s so good.”
A shoo-in for the Vezina, Tim Thomas had enough candidates for this before Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals vs. the Lightning. Then he turned in what may be remembered as one of the greatest stick saves of all time when the stakes were just about as high as they could be.
With the series tied at two games apiece and the Bruins holding onto a 2-1 lead in the third period, Eric Brewer took a slapshot from the point that went wide of Thomas’ net. With Thomas at the top of the crease, it would seem that Steve Downie would be a fortunate man to have the puck bounce off the endboards and right to him next to the net. Downie went to put the put in the net to tie the game, but Thomas came to the rescue, knocking the puck down in mid-air with his stick despite hitting the post with his blade. No player had a better view of the play than Gregory Campbell, so his amazement with Thomas’ save should not be taken lightly.
The save yielded an insane reaction from the Garden crowd, and the Lightning would not get another opportunity like that for the rest of the game. Tampa would eventually pull Mike Smith for an extra attacker, and Rich Peverley would put the game away with an empty netter.
This was just one of the many outstanding saves Thomas made in a postseason in which he was the easy Conn Smythe winner. While his regular season was record-setting, his postseason was even better. There may be no better illustration of how Thomas stepped up than that save.
HONORABLE MENTION: Tim Thomas on Brian Gionta (Game 5 of quarterfinals), Tim Thomas on Francois Beauchemin (Dec. 4), Tuukka Rask on Kyle Brodziak (Jan. 6)
|06.20.11 at 6:28 pm ET|
Bruins forward and two-time Stanley Cup winner Shawn Thornton joined The Big Show Monday to review the Stanley Cup finals and the entire Stanley Cup playoffs. To hear the interview, check out The Big Show audio on demand page.
Following Game 7, rookie forward Brad Marchand said that he hated the Canucks given how “cocky” they were throughout the series. Thornton wouldn’t use Marchand’s words, but he did share the same feelings.
‘No, I mean I don’t want to talk bad about them and be a sore winner, but I will say some of the comments that were made and kind of the way everyone had us dialed in,’ he said. ‘They were planning the parade on Monday and they hadn’t even won the game yet. Stuff like that motivates the other team. We did a good job of toeing the line and not letting anything get out into the open. Even though we were a confident bunch as a group we weren’t out there talking about it as much.’
Even though Thornton’s line, the fourth line did not score much during the playoff run, Thornton knew what their role was and how it changed from series to series.
‘Our line, when we played over a certain amount we did a good job getting the puck deep, and creating energy,’ he said. ‘That’s our role. In different series’ our line was used in different ways. The Montreal series not as much, they are run and gun, the Philadelphia series we were used a little more and Tampa not as much again because they are built a little different, but that Vancouver series the first couple games they came out and were really physical, so our line did the same thing and we wanted to push that and be physical.’
Thornton did not play in the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals, but was inserted into the lineup for Game 3.
‘Right before warm up I found out,’ Thornton said. ‘That was tough, I’m not going to lie. I thought he [Claude Julien] was going to make the change, but you are never 100 percent. I was ecstatic. I prepared like I was playing, but it’s different when you’re not sure. You’d rather know, but I guess it was a last minute decision and it worked out just fine.’
After going down dropping the first two games in Vancouver the Bruins knew that they weren’t out of it.
‘We knew we were in them, we were a goal away in each game,’ Thornton said. ‘We knew if we got back playing the way we needed to play we could win. We did a good job all year of not letting the highs get too high and the lows too low, and we did a really good job after that game of just focusing on the next game and the game after that. That was our main focus going into those games.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|06.20.11 at 4:06 pm ET|
Though Nathan Horton played the postseason with a separated shoulder before being knocked out of the Stanley Cup finals with a severe concussion, the 26-year-old Bruins’ right wing can’t complain. Not that he ever could, of course.
The happy-go-lucky winger will be able to return home to Ontario this offseason, take some time off, and hopefully prepare for next season as he normally would. The effects of the concussion — his first since he fell off the monkey bars as a child — shouldn’t put a damper on his offseason the way they kept him from competing in Games 4 through 7 of the finals.
“The last couple of the games of the playoffs I had a little bit of a headache, but the last few days have been nothing,” Horton said at the team’s breakup day. “I’m symptom-free, I feel great. Nothing’s really bothering me.”
Horton said that the headaches came on worse the more he thought about wanting to be on the ice, and that he considers himself fortunate that the blindside hit he took from Aaron Rome didn’t yield a worse result.
“For how it looked, you would think it was a lot worse. I did get headaches, and that’s about it.”
It was a scary scene when the B’s postseason hero went down in the first period of Game 3, as the hit left him down on the ice, expressionless with one hand raised while the rest of him remained still. Horton said he doesn’t know why his hand was up, and that he does not remember anything before his ambulance trip to the hospital.
“If my arm was up,” he said Sunday, “I don’t remember doing it.”
Horton, who was acquired from Florida nearly a year ago, had right goals and nine assists for 17 points in his first taste of the playoffs, including three game-winning goals (two of which clinched series in Game 7 wins over the Canadiens and Lightning).
When the time comes for Horton to begin working out, he said he will be in contact with the Bruins to make sure both sides are on the same page as it relates to his recovery from his concussion.
“I’m sure I’ll be talking to them about stuff and just going from there,” he said. “I haven’t done anything stressful or stuff like that, so I’ll take a couple more weeks off and I should be fine, but I’ll definitely be talking to them for sure.”
Much as been said of Horton’s cheery attitude at all times, which one could view as ironic given that he had a reputation of being indifferent while playing with the Panthers. Horton had a feeling when he came to in the ambulance that his postseason was done, and asked whether that was the first time during his debut season in Boston that he wasn’t smiling, Horton’s answer was predictable.
“Nah,” Horton said. “I was still smiling.”
|06.20.11 at 2:47 pm ET|
Andrew Ference is far and away the most heavily-tattooed man on the Bruins. While the likes of Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin sport notable ink as well, Ference is essentially the Travis Barker of the team’s dressing room.
That’s why it’s no surprise that he set up a tattoo room for the Stanley Cup champions on their final day at the Garden. Ference, who travels to Calgary every offseason to get his ink done at the Smilin’ Buddha parlor, said Sunday that the plan to celebrate a Cup championship with tattoos was a long time in the making. Ference’s tattoo artist told him back in 2007 that if the Bruins ever won the Cup, he’d be there.
“I usually have to back there to get tattoos finished or done during the summer, and he told me years ago when I first got traded to Boston, he said that he loves Boston and has always wanted to come here,” Ference said. “He told me right then, ‘If you guys ever win, I’ll come down and tat all you guys up.’ I’ve seen him every year since, and he tells me every year, so I sent him a quick email after we won, and he hopped on a plain, and here he is.”
Ference said that “probably over half” of his teammates would be getting tattoos to commemorate the Cup run.
“Different things,” Ference said. “Some guys are just getting some writing, some guys are getting the ‘B’ or the Cup and ‘B’ combo or something like that. I think [Mark Recchi] is getting all of his done from past Stanley Cups.”
Ference, whose arms are nearly covered in tattoos, said he is “getting the spoked ‘B’ for sure,” while other teammates seemed uncertain as to what they’d be getting.
|06.20.11 at 1:48 am ET|
Each day this week, WEEI.com will be taking a look back at the Bruins’ historic 2010-11 Stanley Cup Championship season. We started it off by looking at the goal of the year, and up next is fight of the year.
FIGHT OF THE YEAR
Shawn Thornton vs. Eric Boulton, Dec. 23 vs. Atlanta
“I think that’s what has come up through the whole season is the resiliency of our hockey club. That [game] was the start of it and there were a lot of other examples other than that, but that was the way our team was.”
When the Bruins were shut out at home on Dec. 20 by the Ducks, it seemed they had hit rock bottom. The B’s had won just one of their last five games, and it was only natural to wonder whether Claude Julien was done as coach of the team. The Bruins had two days between the loss and their next game, their last before the holiday break, and they spent both days at Ristuccia Arena trying to reignite the fire that had seemed to have gone out.
Marc Savard and Patrice Bergeron got into during the first practice, as did Shawn Thornton and Johnny Boychuk. The team was angry, and with Julien ramping up the practices to create some intensity, the players were ready to take it out on the nearest person they could find — including each other.
When that Thursday finally rolled around to make a statement against an Atlanta team that had embarrassed them in late November, Thornton took it upon himself to wake his teammates up. Thornton dropped the gloves with Thrashers winger Eric Boulton right off the face-off. The two had fought in that Nov. 28 game, but this fight meant way more to the Bruins’ season.
It was an even bout that lasted well over a minute, so though Thornton came far from pummeling Boulton, he may have changed the entire Bruins’ season by making sure he showed his teammates that it would be an emotional game, and that it was. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Thornton also scored a pair of goals in the 4-1 win.
|06.20.11 at 12:52 am ET|
Each day this week, WEEI.com will be taking a look back at the Bruins’ historic 2010-11 Stanley Cup Championship season. We start it off by looking at the goal of the year.
GOAL OF THE YEAR
Dennis Seidenberg, Dec. 2 vs. Tampa Bay
“I know he tried to do it more than once this year. That time it just worked. With Smith in there, I know he likes to play the puck, so he kind of faked him out.”
Dennis Seidenberg might be best known for making up one half of the Bruins’ impenetrable top defensive pairing in the playoffs, but teaming with Zdeno Chara was not the only way in which he left his mark on the Bruins’ championship season.
With the Bruins holding a 1-0 lead over the Lightning in the first period back in early December, Michael Ryder gave the puck to Seidenberg in the neutral zone. With just over 20 seconds left in the period, Seidenberg gained the red line and lowered his shoulder as he released the puck, seemingly into the corner. Given that he was going through all the motions of a dump-in (even David Krejci appeared ready to chase the puck toward the corner), Lightning goalie Mike Smith left his net to retrieve it.
The only problem was that Seidenberg was pulling hockey’s version of the hidden-ball trick. Despite throwing his shoulder as though he was dumping it in, Seidenberg fired a wrist shot on net. The puck reached Smith’s net just as he was leaving it, producing just about the most entertaining play that could come from such a routine scenario. The goal was Seidenberg’s first of the season. The B’s would go on to win the game, 8-1, and Smith would be yanked early in the third period.
For Smith, it was a lapse that only a goalie keen on handling the puck could make, and it’s one of the more embarrassing snafus a netminder could encounter. Seidenberg simply took advantage of the situation, and the game eventually got out of hand.
Did this goal have the pizazz of Tyler Seguin‘s first career goal in Prague or mean anywhere near what either of Nathan Horton‘s Game 7 gems? Not even close. Yet Seidenberg’s goal in that December blowout of the Lightning flashed a great combination of hockey smarts, guts and good ol’ fashioned trickery.
HONORABLE MENTION: Tyler Seguin Oct. 10 vs. Phoenix, Nathan Horton Game 7 vs. Montreal, Tyler Seguin Game 1 vs. Tampa Bay
|06.20.11 at 12:00 am ET|
Bruins left winger Milan Lucic admitted Sunday at the team’s breakup day that Tyler Seguin broke his right big toe with a slap shot at a practice during the team’s championship run. Lucic, who said he had played the end of the regular season and into the playoffs with a sinus infection, said it was painful for him to play through it, but that he wanted to remain in the lineup.
“Against Tampa, just before Game 2 at practice, Seguin hit me in the toe with a slap shot, so I had a broken toe for the last 13 games, which sucked big time — which really, really sucked,” Lucic said.
“You don’t realize how much you actually push off it until you break it,” he added. “I don’t know if you guys had seen me limp a little bit, but I was limping a little bit. I definitely had to deal with that, especially in that Tampa series. That was kind of tough to deal with.”
Lucic said the injury “heals on its own” and will not require surgery. The 23-year-old did not miss any time in the postseason and totaled five goals and seven assists for 12 points in the playoffs. He led the B’s with 30 goals in the regular season.