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Graig Woodburn was right, the Bruins were wise to hold on to Tim Thomas

06.16.11 at 1:33 pm ET
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Graig Woodburn loved hockey. He loved it so much that when he found out he could cover the Bruins for WEEI.com in the months leading up to the 2010 Winter Classic, he put his sports writing/lawyering life on hold in Santa Monica, Calif., picked up his notepad and entrenched himself in the state he grew up.

While covering the Bruins throughout December, he often complained of stomach pains. Yet those were chalked up to the stress of his move, and certainly didn’t take priority over getting  chance to execute such endeavors as skating at Fenway Park.

Following the Winter Classic, Graig got the pains checked out. He learned he had pancreatic cancer. By Christmas he passed away at the age of 50.

(It should be noted that the Bruins organization showed tremendous respect to Graig by saving his seat in the TD Garden press box for the entire season, straight through the Stanley Cup finals.)

Even during the heart of his illness, Graig tried to find ways to keep involved in our Bruins coverage. He was on the scene in Los Angeles for the NHL Draft, and wrote his final piece, offering the smartly-thought-out comparison of concussion victims Paul Kariya and Marc Savard.

But it was one column, written just following the Bruins being eliminated by the Flyers, that exemplified Woodburn’s keen eye for the game. It was a piece which sent a message that flew in the face of the overwhelming majority opinion that the B’s must get rid of Tim Thomas. Common sense and history, Graig pointed out, suggested keeping the goalie would be the prudent move.

As we witnessed, Graig was right again.

Here is the link to the column, but enclosed is also the full body of the piece. Knowing what we now know, it deserves to be read … for so many reasons.

TRADE THOMAS? NOT SO FAST

By GRAIG WOODBURN

Tim Thomas said he is going to think about it.

So should the Bruins.

As the B’€™s gathered their individual equipment and prepared to depart for the summer Tuesday, Thomas told the media horde in the Bruins locker room he is going to take some time to sort out his season and his future.

There is plenty to think about.

Read the rest of this entry »

The day after the Cup, 1 p.m.: Other NHL players congratulating Bruins

06.16.11 at 12:54 pm ET
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After the Bruins Stanley Cup clinching victory many current NHL players congratulated the Bruins on their accomplishment on Twitter:

Brent Sopel, a defenseman for the Canadians tweeted, “Hooray Black and Gold!”

– Predators center Blake Geoffrion praised Tim Thomas “Congrats to Boston. What a series and what a year for them. Tim Thomas is the man.”

– Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto tweeted, “Congrats to the Canucks and Bruins. Hard fought series and year. Hats off to every player!”

– 2010 No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall tweeted, “The game gives me chills. When does camp start!?”

– There was also a bit of humor offered up by Phoenix Coyotes forward Paul Bissonnette. When the game was out of reach he tweeted, “”I wonder what Cory Schneider‘s doing right now?”

– Suns guard, and Canucks fan Steve Nash also got involved, “”Congrats Boston. Head up @VanCanucks incredible year. We’ll be back!! Thanks for the thrills.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Champions, Cory Schneider, Tim Thomas,

The day after the cup, 12:00 p.m.: No injury talk from Ryan Kesler

06.16.11 at 12:01 pm ET
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After Game 7 Canucks forward Ryan Kesler, who was rumored to have a groin injury, would not discuss any injuries or use them as an excuse. “I’m not going to sit here and complain about injuries,” he said. “I was out there. I gave it everything I had tonight and I’m proud of that, I’m proud of the guys that were in this dressing room. It’s disappointing, but we are going to stick together through this one.

Kesler did give the Bruins credit for their victory, especially Tim Thomas. “We had our shots, we definitely had our shots,” he said. “Thomas played great. He stopped everything he needed to. They are a good team. They didn’t get here by chance, we didn’t get here by chance. Game 7, anything can happen. We had a chance to put them away in their building [in Game 6] and we didn’t.”

“It’s hard to swallow, it’s emotional, it’s tough. Hopefully we can reflect on this for a couple of days and get over it,” Kesler said.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, Ryan Kesler,

Fanthropology: Jerry Thornton takes the pulse of Bruins fans after their Stanley Cup win

06.16.11 at 11:51 am ET
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The day after the Cup, 11:45 a.m.: Boston ratings break records

06.16.11 at 11:47 am ET
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According to Austin Karp, Asst. Managing Editor of Sports Business Daily, the Bruins-Canucks Game 7 Wednesday night earned a 5.7 rating overnight, which tied the 2003 Devils-Ducks finale as best Stanley Cup Game 7 overnight on record. It also tied for the second best Stanley Cup overnight in 37 years. It was tied with last year’s Blackhawks-Flyers Game 6.

The ratings were even better in Boston. According to Bruce Allen, Boston Sports Media Watch, the game earned a 43.4 rating locally with a 64 share. It’s the best overnight on record for a hockey game in Boston.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Champions,

The day after the cup, 11:30 a.m.: Boston stays relatively under control following win

06.16.11 at 11:03 am ET
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Compared to the scenes in Vancouver following the Bruins Game 7 victory, Boston remained under control following the game with no major incidents. There were seven arrests following the Bruins victory, mostly for trespassing, disorderly conduct and malicious destruction of property.

Boston police had a plan in place to keep the streets of Boston safe. There were hundreds of police officers, some in riot gear. Some streets were closed to traffic and barricades were set up. All of Causeway street outside the TD Garden was shut down and fans were not allowed to enter.

Bars also took measures to keep fans safe. They were asked to take in or secure outdoor furniture, black out windows to prevent crowds from gathering outside to watch the TVs inside, and not admit any customers after the end of the game’s second period.

“It’s fair to say that the vast majority of fans celebrated responsibly, and officers have done an excellent job of keeping order,” Elaine Driscoll, a spokeswoman for the Boston police, said.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Champions,

The day after the cup, 11 a.m.: Tim Thomas joins list of goalies to win Conn Smythe

06.16.11 at 11:03 am ET
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Since 1990 six goaltenders have won the Conn Smythe Trophy, that is until Tim Thomas won it this year as the most valuable player during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Bill Ranford won it in 1990 with the Oilers, Patrick Roy won it in 1993 and in 2001, and he also won it back in 1986. Red Wings goaltender Mike Vernon captured it in 1996. Only one goaltender won the award even though their team lost in the Stanley Cup Finals, Jean-Sébastien Giguère earned it in 2003 when the Ducks of Anaheim lost to the Devils. Cam Ward was the last goalie to win the award with the Hurricanes in 2006.

Seven centers, four defensemen and one winger were the other positions to win the award in that span. Since the award was originated in 1964 there have now been 14 goaltenders have win the award.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, Conn Smythe, Tim Thomas,

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