|06.12.11 at 2:35 pm ET|
There has been plenty of suspicion this series that Canucks forward Ryan Kesler is playing with some sort of injury. The Conn Smythe candidate has been hit hard a number of times and hasn’t looked 100 percent the last few games. The injury theory gained a little more traction Sunday when Kesler, who ranks second on Vancouver with 19 postseason points, wasn’t on the ice for practice.
As expected, though, coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t going to divulge any information about a possible injury. Maintenance days are very common, so the coach assured Kesler’s absence was just that.
“He’s fine,” Vigneault said when asked about Kesler’s absence. “Just giving him a day off, that’s all.”
Defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who has missed the last four games after injuring himself on a hip check in Game 1, was also absent from practice. It appears unlikely that he’ll be back for Game 6.
|06.12.11 at 2:22 pm ET|
Alexandre Burrows has been viewed as a villain in the Stanley Cup finals ever since he bit the finger of Patrice Bergeron in Game 1, and since then, he’s added to it by reinforcing his reputation as a “diver” — one who embellishes plays in an effort to draw penalties.
Burrows was penalized for diving as he tried to sell a slew foot from Milan Lucic late in the first period of Friday’s Game 5. In the third period, he took a cross-check that went uncalled, a potential sign that refs may be done participating in the game of did-he-or-didn’t-he when it comes to him diving.
Asked about his embellishing Sunday, Burrows had little to say.
“I don’t read you guys, so I could care less,” he said.
Asked whether he thinks he’s alone in trying to sell penalties or whether the Bruins do it as well (as they have at points), Burrows was just as quiet.
“I have nothing to say about that,” said Burrows.
Burrows chose not to comment directly on whether he feels referees are now ignoring him.
“The refs have a tough job to do already. It’s the Stanley Cup final,” Burrows said. “It’s not easy to make calls, and obviously my focus is if they call it, great. If they don’t call it, that’s their decision. I am supporting their decision. I’m going to forget about it and get ready for my next shift.”
|06.12.11 at 1:32 pm ET|
With all that’s been made of the way Roberto Luongo has spoken about Tim Thomas, the biggest question is why Luongo’s doing it. Is he playfully joking around (as he was — no matter what you hear anywhere else — when he made his pre-series comments about Thomas playing the way he did when he was five years old), or is he intentionally taking jabs at the man who seems a shoo-in to win the Vezina and a safe bet to win the Conn Smythe?
Luongo’s recent comments came as a surprise here to this scribe, as he spent the day before media gushing with praise for Thomas. The talk of him pumping Thomas’ tires is correct, but why then, would he make the punk move of saying he would have saved Maxim Lapierre’s game-winner?
He can’t plead ignorance or claim it as a misunderstanding, as he’s as well-spoken and well-intentioned a guy a media member will deal with. What he says, he means, and it’s hard to imagine Luongo “accidentally” dissing another player when it seems that clear — and especially amongst all the talk of Thomas’ positioning.
One man in the Bruins’ locker room has some perspective when it comes to Luongo’s intentions, and though he claims to have not heard Luongo’s comments, Gregory Campbell said Sunday he can’t imagine his former teammate in Florida talking a mess with any malicious intent.
“I don’t know him as that type of person. I played with him for a year. I’m sure he has a lot of pressure on him as well, and he’s had to face a lot of critics in these playoffs, especially the last couple of games of late. Knowing him, I don’t think that’s his personality, but to be honest, I don’t really care. I don’t think Timmy cares either. It’s not going to affect our hockey club one way or the other.”
Campbell and Luongo played together in the 2005-06 season with the Panthers and briefly the year before, when Campbell played two games.
|06.12.11 at 1:11 pm ET|
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas finally got in on the fun Sunday, providing the media with the closest thing he’ll give to partcipation in a war of of words with Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo. Thomas has allowed a minuscule six goals in five games of the Stanley Cup finals, yet its been Luongo’s opinion of his style that has made the most headlines. After saying he would have saved the Maxim Lapierre shot that won the game for the Canucks in Game 5, Luongo noted Saturday that he has praised Thomas without hearing anything back.
Said Luongo Saturday: ‘I’ve been pumping his tires ever since the series started. I haven’t heard any one nice thing he’s had to say about me, so that’s the way it is.’
Thomas responded to Luongo’s comments Sunday after the team’s practice, saying that he as a goaltender respects other netminders, though he had some fun with the way he went about it.
“I guess I didn’t realize it was my job to pump his tires,” Thomas said with a grin. “I guess I have to apologize for that.
“I still think I’m the goaltender on the union side and I stick with all 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 goaltender is going through.”
|06.12.11 at 11:40 am ET|
Assuming the B’s would not skate on Tuesday should they win Game 6, the Bruins held what it is most likely their last practice of the season Sunday at TD Garden. All parties were present, with Jordan Caron the fourth man on the second line with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. Rich Peverley skated with the first line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
All eight defensemen were there as well, including Steven Kampfer and Shane Hnidy.
|06.12.11 at 12:19 am ET|
You’re going to find this hard to believe, but there are about five area codes full of people in New England who don’t like certain members of the Canucks these days. Some of it stems from the fact the Bruins are in a 3-2 Stanley Cup finals hole. But it stretches beyond just the issues that face Claude Julien‘s team as it sits on the brink of elimination.
It has gotten personal.
Which Canucks player is the biggest villain?
- Alexandre Burrows (63%, 239 Votes)
- Maxim Lapierre (20%, 76 Votes)
- Aaron Rome (9%, 36 Votes)
- Daniel and Henrik Sedin (4%, 15 Votes)
- Roberto Luongo (3%, 13 Votes)
Total Voters: 379
So the question is this: Which member of the Canucks has raised your ire the most? The choices are …
Reason for ire: Burrows got the animosity kicked into high gear in Game 1 when he (allegedly) chomped down on Patrice Bergeron‘s finger. Making matters worse was when the NHL offered no disciplinary action, leading to Burrows scoring two goals in Game 2, including the game-winner in overtime. Milan Lucic eased the pain of Bruins fans a bit in Game 3 by first pounding the forward’s head during a scrum, and then taunting him by offering his own finger. Yet, still, Burrows has already ingrained himself in Boston sports lore with his dastardly actions.
Reason for ire: Luongo was cruising along through the finals, simply serving as the other team’s goalie who had some good games, and (much to the delight of Bruins fans) some really bad ones. But then came the press conference following Game 5, when he uttered the following phrase regarding Max Lapierre‘s goal against Tim Thomas: ‘It’s not hard if you’re playing in the paint,’ Luongo said of the difficulty of the play. ‘It’s an easy save for me, but if you’re wandering out and aggressive like he does, that’s going to happen. He might make some saves that I won’t, but in a case like that, we want to take advantage of a bounce like that and make sure we’re in a good position to bury those.’ Matters were only made worse Saturday when Luongo not only didn’t back off the statement, but commented about how Thomas hadn’t complimented him (see video below).
Reason for ire: Lapierre first entered Bruins’ fans radar in Game 2 when he took “Bite-Gate” to another level, taunting Bergeron by holding out his finger as an offering to pull a “Burrows.” Boston’s Mark Recchi enacted some revenge by executing the same sort of shenanigans in Game 3, presenting his own finger to Lapierre for a sampling. Then came the ultimate disgrace in the eyes of Bruins fans: Lapierre scored the game-winner in Game 5. In the eyes of Boston fans, simply unacceptable.
Reason for ire: He left his feet to deliver the crushing open-ice hit on Nathan Horton that resulted in a concussion and the Bruins losing one of their top scorers for the rest of the playoffs. Sure, Rome tried to reach out to Horton to express his concern for the winger, and the NHL suspended Rome for four games, a period that will cover the rest of the Stanley Cup finals.
None of that is of any consolation to the Bruins, who lost one of their top offensive players while the Canucks go without a third-pairing defenseman. Most New Englanders viewed the play as dirty, and with the B’s offense sputtering in Game 5, it certainly could have been a difference-maker in the series.
HENRIK AND DANIEL SEDIN
Reason for ire: The were supposed to represent the reason Bruins fans should be wary of going up against the Canucks, but have done little live up to their reputation. They have been pushed around, with nary a sign of fighting back with what can be a boatload of hockey wizardry. But besides the fact that the twins are being viewed as posers by many who follow the B’s, also not helping their reputation was the pregame introduction the pair executed prior to Game 2, in which they called Burrows a vegetarian.
|06.11.11 at 5:58 am ET|
VANCOUVER — Some made a big deal of Roberto Luongo taking a shot at Tim Thomas before the series, even though Loungo never did so. Yet after Friday’s Game 5, Luongo may indeed have taken a bit of a dig at his fellow Vezina finalist.
One goal was allowed between both goaltenders, with Maxim Lapierre taking a puck that had bounced off the end boards after a Kevin Bieksa shot and beating Thomas. Asked whether he could make the save, Luongo went back to the series-long trend of talking about whether or not Thomas plays correctly postitionionally.
“It’s not hard if you’re playing in the paint,” Luongo said of the difficulty of the play. “It’s an easy save for me, but if you’re wandering out and aggressive like he does, that’s going to happen. He might make some saves that I won’t, but in a case like that, we want to take advantage of a bounce like that and make sure we’re in a good position to bury those.”
Luongo picked up his fourth shutout of the postseason Friday.