|07.13.11 at 9:55 pm ET|
Thomas led the NHL in both goals against average (2.00) and save percentage (.938) in a Vezina-winning regular season. His save percentage set the record for the best in a single season. He then posted a playoffs-leading .940 save percentage en route to winning the Conn Smythe trophy for the most valuable player to his team in the postseason. He also posted an NHL-best 1.98 goals against average in the playoffs.
Thomas’ Vezina was the second of his career, as he also won the award in the 2008-09 season.
|07.13.11 at 5:51 pm ET|
The list is littered with Bruins, as Milan Lucic is ranked No. 1, and all five Bruins on the 85-man list rank in the top 15.
In order to come up with the list, players with at least five fightning majors last season were sorted by their TSN player rating, which is a weighted formula consisting of goals per game, assists per game, plus-minus, power play goals, shorthanded goals, game winning goals, shots on goal, blocked shots, hits, giveaways, takeaways and faceoffs.
Here’s how the top 15 shook out:
Lucic and Horton each had seven fights for the Bruins last season. Lucic, who led the Bruins with 30 goals in the regular season, had the most goals among players with at least five fighting majors. Horton’s 26 tallies put him second among that group.
While Thornton’s value has been his ability to fight throughout his time in the NHL, he had a career year last season, totaling 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points. McQuaid’s plus-30 rating put him in a tie with Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin, among others, for fifth-best in the NHL last season.
Scott Cullen, who put the piece together, writes that the fact that the Bruins, who finished second in fighting majors last season with 71, won the Stanley Cup, their physical style may be viewed as a winning formula. Cullen believes this could lead to other teams trying to load up on power forwards and enforcers.
The idea of ranking fighters based on their value of players is interesting, as TSN’s list comes far from ranking how the players are as fighters, though that of course is not their intention.
When it comes to dropping the gloves, McQuaid or Thornton certainly have more to offer than the B’s first-line wingers, but the fact that both the Bruins’ first and fourth lines are represented by two players each in the top 15 shows that the Bruins certainly look for grit throughout their lineup.
Though Lucic is the modern-day version of a power forward, one who wanted to suggest he picks his spots would probably have an argument. His seven fights were a far cry from the 10 and 13 he had in his first two years. Yet that’s what comes as a player develops into more of a goal-scorer, as last year was not only his first 30-goal season, but his first 20-goal season as well.
As for Horton, his first season in Boston represented a career-high in fights. He more than doubled his previous best, as he totaled three during the 2007-08 season. Over his last three seasons with the Panthers, he had just four fighting majors.
Now the number the Bruins would probably like to see up is his goal total. Horton’s 26 goals last season were the most he’s had in three seasons, but he had 28 in 2005-06, 31 in 2006-07 and 27 in 2007-08.
|07.13.11 at 2:48 pm ET|
According to NHL.com’s E.J. Hradek, the Bruins would not go past two years when negotiating with free agent defenseman Tomas Kaberle. The unwillingness to give him a longer deal makes given that Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said that the term of the contract was the biggest stumbling block between the two parties the day Kaberle took a three-year, $12.75 million deal with the Hurricanes last week.
Writes Hradek: “One team source in Boston says the B’s would have done a one-year deal and possibly two years with Kaberle, depending on the price. They weren’t, according to the source, going to any further than two years.”
Another interesting note in the report is that the Hurricanes requested Kaberle keep up with the team’s conditioning program. Kaberle appeared to be out of shape in his time with the Bruins, and Hradek writes that the Hurricanes plan on giving the 34-year-old more than 20 minutes a night.
|07.12.11 at 4:22 pm ET|
A picture that Dougie Hamilton took with one of his idols this past year perhaps best illustrates how much being drafted can change things.
He won’t play in the NHL next season, but if he did, Hamilton would be the second-tallest defenseman on the Bruins. Having gained between a quarter of an inch and half an inch since the end of the season, the ninth overall pick in last month’s draft stands right around 6-foot-5.
Hamilton is used to being one of the taller guys out there, but he’s known since he was drafted that he won’t be the biggest Bruin. The Toronto native has long admired 6-foot-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara, and the prospect met the Stanley Cup champion at the team’s development camp.
“He just said, ‘Hi, I’m Zee.’ I told him congrats, and he said ‘you too,'” recalled an excited Hamilton after camp concluded.
It wasn’t Hamilton’s first time meeting Chara, but the last time the two met, the circumstances were much different.
“I went down to the room after a game this year in Toronto and took a picture with him,” Hamilton said. “I kind of thought about that picture when I met him [at camp]. It’s pretty cool. You’re a fan, and you’re seeing him and taking pictures with him, and a couple months later you’re shaking his hand and could be his teammate one day. It’s definitely cool.”
Perhaps the next time a picture is taken of the two, they’ll both be on the ice at the team’s training camp. When he makes the big club in a year or two, Bruins fans can picture a rather large defensive pairing, should they skate together.
“He makes me feel small,” Hamilton, who needs to add around 20 pounds before he will be at optimal playing weight, said. “I don’t really feel small too often, but he definitely [makes it seem that way].”
Hamilton showed off his skills over the five-day development camp at Ristuccia Arena. He projects to be a top-pairing defenseman when he eventually reaches the NHL. The 18-year-old hopes to weigh between 210 and 220 pounds by then, with general manager Peter Chiarelli saying that 210 pounds “would be great.”
|07.11.11 at 1:30 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said after the team’s development camp that there is no news to report with regard to contract negotiations with restricted free agent Brad Marchand.
“We’ve continued to talk,” Chiarelli said. “We’ve had some discussion, and we’ll leave it at that.”
Marchand, 23, scored 21 goals and added 20 assists for 41 points in his rookie season, winning the team’s seventh player award. He finished second on the Bruins with 11 postseason goals, and his plus-12 rating put him in a tie for third on the B’s in the playoffs.
The young winger is the only Bruins’ restricted free agent. Given that they have qualified him, the team match any offer sheet Marchand signs with another club or lose him in exchange for draft pick compensation. Defenseman Shane Hnidy is the lone other unsigned player, but the B’s have told the restricted free agent that they will not be offering him a contract.
|07.11.11 at 1:29 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien discussed the Bruins’ offseason moves and their prospects on the final day of development camp Monday. The B’s lost Michael Ryder and Tomas Kaberle to free agency, replacing them with Montreal’s Benoit Pouliot and Carolina’s Joe Corvo.
In the case of Kaberle and Corvo, Julien said the 34-year-old Corvo can help the power play, much like Kaberle was expected to when the B’s sent a package of commodities (a 2011 first-round pick, a 2012 second-rounder and center Joe Colborne) to Toronto or the defenseman.
“It’s not about replacing [Kaberle] but taking on his role,” Julien said of Corvo. “I think you look at Corvo, who’s got a really good shot. He’s a player that may be a little bit more physical and more engaged. We’re going to have to work with him as far as making him understand the way we play here. And I think the way we play will certainly help him a little bit, because we don’t want him running around. We want him playing well positionally.
“Again, he skates well and he’ll move the puck well. That’s where Kaberle ‘¦ people that thought he underachieved a little bit. I think at the beginning we weren’t quite getting what we wanted. But once you saw him get a little comfortable, we’ve got to give him credit. He’s a smart player, he sees the ice well, makes good plays and that’s where his strength is. When you look at Corvo, his shot is going to be a lot better and hopefully on the power play which we did [get] some good shots from the back end, it will certainly help us.”
Corvo, for whom the Bruins traded a fourth-round pick, had 11 goals and 29 assists for 40 points last season. Kaberle had four goals and 43 assists for 47 assists with the Maple Leafs and Bruins in the regular season. He signed a three-year, $12.75 million deal with Carolina last week.
|07.11.11 at 11:40 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The final day of Bruins’ development camp kicked off Monday morning with a final power skating session conducted by instructor Besa Tsintsadze. The session featured plenty of interesting drills, including one in which players had to position their sticks upright, spin around, and grab a hold of their sticks before they could move.
A scrimmage followed, with plenty of special teams work sprinkled in. Coach Claude Julien once again took to Ristuccia Arena to watch the prospects, and he had a rare offseason with the media. Check back for more from Julien and the B’s youngsters.