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Jeremy Roenick on The Big Show: Tim Thomas needs to play better

05.27.11 at 5:34 pm ET

Versus hockey analyst and former NHL star Jeremy Roenick joined The Big Show show Friday afternoon to talk about the decisive Eastern Conference finals Bruins-Lightning Game 7 matchup. To hear the interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page.

Though Bruins goalie Tim Thomas will likely win the Vezina Trophy for the year’s best netminder, Roenick said he needs to improve his play for Game 7.

“I really don’€™t think he’€™s been very good in this series,” Roenick said. “I think he has to find a way to be just a little bit better, a little bit sharper. He doesn’€™t have to make saves like he did in Game 5. That was probably one of the best saves I’€™ve ever seen. But he has to find a way to keep this team, Tampa, down to two or three goals, because if he gives up another five goals, I don’€™t know if they’€™re going to be able to do anything.”

Roenick was even more critical of defenseman Tomas Kaberle, who came to Boston in trade from the Maple Leafs in February.

“He’€™s got a stick made of Jell-O,” Roenick said. “Kaberle doesn’€™t have a very good shot. He’€™s a playmaker and a very good playmaker. He shouldn’€™t be at the top putting shots on net. You should have Dennis Seidenberg up at the top pounding the puck on net, Kaberle on the side dishing the puck to the net.

“I think Kaberle played his best game maybe of the playoffs his last game. But I don’€™t think he’€™s been very good in the playoffs at all, not to mention since he’s come over from Toronto. He’€™s got to up his game another level. He hasn’€™t been in the playoffs for seven years. He’s got to show it a little bit harder tonight, but he’€™s one of those guys who can make a difference if he just makes the simple play and the right play like he has for many years, which has made him so good.”

However, Kaberle and Thomas aren’t the ones to be blamed for Boston’s pitiful power play this postseason. The Bruins have scored on just 8.2 percent of extra-man opportunities.

“They are trying to look for the perfect pass, they’€™re looking for the perfect shot,” Roenick said. “To tell you the truth, they’€™re not working hard enough. They’€™re not looking for the correct options with the pass. They’€™re trying to be too cute. And I really think they’€™ve had, for the most part, they’€™ve had the wrong setup on their power play. The Tampa Bay Lightning have a very good penalty kill, and they penalty kill very high with their two forwards.

“They have to move into a little bit of an umbrella. I think having [Zdeno] Chara play the net will be a big difference. But they have to keep it simple. They have to keep it one pass and a shot. Even if they just throw it on net, it doesn’€™t have to be a perfect shot, but make Roloson move and make havoc around them. With Chara being in front, with his reach, you never know what’€™s going to happen. But they’€™re just making very, very poor decisions with the puck. Just get it on net.”

When asked which team would match up better with Vancouver in the Stanley Cup finals, Roenick chose Tampa Bay.

“[Boston’s] secondary scoring is not as deep as Tampa, but Boston has that grit and that heart and that determination that has allowed them to get to where they are right now,” Roenick said. “And they’€™ve had some very good efforts from certain people. I think [David] Krejci and [Nathan] Horton and [Milan] Lucic have to have another game tonight like they had in Game 6. If they don’€™t I think it’€™s going to be trouble. This Tampa team is extremely offensive minded and the Bruins have done a great job in matching their work effort and level and getting to Roloson. They’€™ll have to find a way to do it one more time.”

Roenick was complimentary of Patrice Bergeron, who suffered a mild concussion earlier in the postseason.

“This guy is unbelievable,” Roenick said. “He didn’€™t have a very good Game 6, but he’€™s a multi-purpose guy. He’€™s great in the faceoff circle, he’€™s very good defensively, killing penalties, he’€™s a great playmaker.  That pass that he put onto [Brad] Marchand‘€™s stick the other day was just a phenomenal, phenomenal pass in Boston. He’€™s a tough, active player. He’€™s got grit. But concussions are ‘€” always in the back of your mind you’€™re always thinking about getting hit again.”

Roenick was also impressed with the job coach Claude Julien has done.

“I think he’€™s done a very good job,” Roenick said. “To get to this position right now and get to the conference finals is a very difficult feat. And I think he’€™s done it with a team that really doesn’€™t have a lot of offense. They don’€™t have a superstar offensive guy that will take you over the top. You look at Tampa, they have three superstar forwards that are bringing them very, very good efforts every night.”

Added Roenick: “Julien, he motivates them the right way. I think his system is very good. I think the way he treats his players is very good. I love the way he’€™s handled Tim Thomas. He hasn’€™t pulled him. He’€™s gone with his guy. He’€™s staying loyal to him. He’€™s saying, ‘€˜This year we need you to win.’€™ And I think the guys appreciate that.”

One decision Julien has had to make is the amount of ice time rookie Tyler Seguin should get.

“It’€™s a tough decision when you have a young kid who’€™s struggled throughout the season,” Roenick said. “He only had 11 goals over the year. He’€™s a kid that has so much talent, but he has a lot to learn. That big Game  2 that he had with four points, he has to bring his game to that level more and more and more. This is all a learning curve for him.”

Read More: Jeremy Roenick, The Big Show, Thomas Kaberle, Tim Thomas
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