Archive for July, 2012

Current Bruin on Tim Thomas/Chick-fil-A situation: ‘He’s not my teammate’

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas‘ Facebook posts — and his unwillingness to elaborate on them with the media — left a lot of teammates busy answering questions about his political views last season.

The common answer was that Thomas was a good teammate, and that his politics didn’t mess with team chemistry. With Thomas taking next season off, the Bruins will get the year off from having to answer for him.

Thomas, who said — via Facebook of course — that he will spend next season focusing on “friends, family and faith,” took to Facebook again Thursday by supporting Chick-fil-A, which is owned by the Cathy family. The Cathys have been outspoken in opposing gay marriage.

That flies right in the face of the “You Can Play” project, which encourages a safe environment for a homosexual NHL player to come out to the league. This is perhaps he most controversial of the stances Thomas has taken, and the Bruins no longer have to explain why it isn’t a bad thing.

“He isn’t playing next year,” one current Bruin told WEEI.com Thursday, “which means he’s not my teammate, which means I don’t have to react to his Facebook posts.”

Tim Thomas: ‘I stand with Chick-fil-A’

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Tim Thomas loves him some Facebook, and the owners of Chick-Fil-A love them some homophobia. Thomas, the master of using social network to ruffle feathers, weighed in on the Cathy family, which owns Chick-fil-A and opposes gay marriage, Thursday.

Wrote Thomas:

I stand with Chick-fil-A.

Chick-fil-A is privately owned by the Cathy family. The company president, Dan Cathy, drew the wrath of gay rights advocates and supporters when he made recent statements that some have alleged are anti-gay.

Cathy told Baptist Press that the company was unapologetically in favor of traditional marriage.

“Guilty as charged,” he said. “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

In a separate interview on the Ken Coleman Show — Cathy suggested that the nation could face God’s wrath over the redefinition of marriage.

“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’” Cathy said. “I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about.”

Bruins enter ECHL affiliation with South Carolina Stingrays

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

The Bruins have a new ECHL affiliate, as the team announced it has entered into an affiliation relationship with the South Carolina Stingrays. The B’s previous ECHL club was the Reading Royals, with whom they’d been affiliated since the 2009-10 season.

The Stingrays had been the Capitals’ ECHL affiliate from 2004 to 2012.

Fun fact, per the Bruins’ PR: Rich Peverley‘s first professional season came with the Stingrays in 2004-05. He scored 30 goals and added 28 assist for 58 points in that season.

Why Claude Julien is a perfect fit for the Bruins

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012


There are plenty of reasons Peter Chiarelli and Bruins management decided to extend the contract of Claude Julien this week.

First of all, his contract was expired after last season.

Secondly, no one else since Harry Sinden has been behind the bench as the Bruins won the Stanley Cup.

And thirdly, no one is more respected for his ability to blend character, discipline and humor the way Julien has since taking over for Dave Lewis after the 2006-07 season.

There’s another much more subtle reason to keep Julien behind the bench for the Black and Gold – stability. Should the Bruins and the rest of the NHL not figure out their pending labor issues by the Sept. 15 deadline, the season could easily be shortened, and like the NFL and NBA in 2011, teams may have to wing it to get their teams ready for competition.

No one knows more what he wants or expects from the Bruins than Julien.

“The one thing you try to do as a coach is keep things fresh,” Julien said at his contract extension press conference at TD Garden Tuesday. “Every year you try to attack certain areas that will maybe change just a little bit that will give guys a fresher look. That’s how you keep your team interested, intact and hopefully competitive.”

To Chiarelli, what he sees is a coach over five years that hasn’t just won a Stanley Cup, he’s instilled just the right amount of discipline, walking that fine line between motivation and expectation from his players.

“Leadership in a coach manifests itself different ways with different people,” Chiarelli said. “To me, I like to talk about a coach’s persona. His person in a venue like this [press conference] and his persona in the room. It’s about commanding respect. It’s about motivating the players in a respectful way and a professional way. It’s about the ideas, the formats, the approaches. It’s all professional, it’s all to an end. There’s a plan.

“Claude’s ability to have that persona and have players respect what he stands for and to be able to deliver that message in a way that engages them, that’s what I see as leadership and that’s what Claude has, and a large part of that leadership is character.”

For Julien, there have been rocky times to be sure. Remember the May 13, 2010 when the Flyers completed their comeback from 3-0 down to eliminate the Bruins? Remember in their Cup run of 2011 when P.K. Subban scored to force overtime in Game 7 in the first round. If the Bruins don’t win that game, it’s a near certainty that Julien is not up on the dais Tuesday talking about his vision for the Bruins. Even this year, when the Bruins were fading a bit in the final two months of the season, falling from first to third in the East, there were whispers that players were tuning out Julien. (more…)

Claude Julien addresses the Tim Thomas situation

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Tim Thomas will not play next season. (AP)

In an offseason that’s seen minimal roster turnover, the Bruins’ biggest change of the summer was the subtraction of Tim Thomas, who will sit out the next season to focus on fiends, family and faith.

Speaking at the press conference to announce his contract extension, Claude Julien talked about what the Bruins will be like without the two-time Vezina-winner and said he thinks the Bruins can handle it.

“We lost a guy by the name of Marc Savard who led our team in scoring every year and we were able to adapt,” Julien said. “I see that as a same kind of a challenge. There’s no doubt, nobody’s going to deny what Tim’s done here for our hockey club over the years but we’ve mentioned that Tuukka [Rask] is a very capable goaltender. He’s got his opportunity to showcase that this year and I think when I saw [Anton] Khudobin play, whether it was training camp or whether it was when he was with us that game in Ottawa, practice, you can see a goaltender who has not only improved but has matured.

“I honestly have a lot of confidence in our goaltending and, obviously, we drafted, we’ve signed a few goaltenders as well. I think our depth is there. I don’t really see that as an issue. And that’s because I have the confidence in what I have in front of me right now.”

The most games Rask, who will become the No. 1 goaltender, has started in his career is 39 back in 2009-10. It will be interesting to see how he handles being a true No. 1 with a traditional backup in Khudobin after years of splitting time with Thomas. Rask’s certainly got a lot to play for, as he’s on a one-year deal that can land him a huge payday should he pick up where Thomas left off.

Bruins offer injury updates on Nathan Horton, Adam McQuaid, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Nathan Horton

Speaking at Claude Julien‘s press conference Tuesday, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli gave updates on the Bruins who finished last season with injuries. The most notable update regarded the status of Nathan Horton, who has been knocked out of the last two seasons with concussions.

“Nathan Horton has been cleared for contact and by all accounts from our medical staff will be ready to play when it comes time to play,” Chiarelli said.

Chiarelli added that Patrice Bergeron‘s oblique injury is “completely healed” and that the team expects Adam McQuaid (concussion) and Tyler Seguin (hand surgery) to be god for training camp in September.

“Adam McQuaid has been completely cleared,” he said. “Seguin is on his road to recovery in his initial timeframe. It may be sooner than that.”

Claude Julien already has his place in Bruins history

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Claude Julien has coached the Bruins since 2007. (AP)

Claude Julien‘s stay in Boston has worked out pretty well, and to the surprise of no one, it isn’t over yet.

The Bruins announced Monday that they locked up the coach with a multi-year deal, with a press conference to take place Tuesday at TD Garden. With him will be Peter Chiarelli, the man who finally stopped the revolving door of Bruins coaches in 2007 and found the coach who could not only last more than a couple of seasons but could bring the Stanley Cup to Boston.

As far as Bruins coaches go, Julien, at 460 regular-season games coached, has a ways to go before catching Art Ross (728) and Milt Schmidt (726). Assuming he coaches every game this season, Julien will be at 542. Should he coach the following two seasons in Boston (after all, it’s a multi-year deal that will start in 2013-14), he’ll break the 700-game mark.

In many ways, Julien has perhaps been underappreciated in Boston. Though he may have once appeared to be the Marty Schottenheimer of the NHL for his ability to consistently get teams to the playoffs only to come up short in the postseason, he was there to lead the Bruins out of the mess they’d been in since the lockout and back to respectability.

In his first year on the job, Julien took Boston from a club that had previously finished 13th in the Eastern Conference to a playoff team. The Bruins grabbed the eighth and final playoff spot in 2007-08 and lost to Julien’s former team in the Canadiens, but it was the 2008-09 season — a campaign in which Julien picked up the Jack Adams Award for the league’s top coach — that things really stared to change in Boston. The B’s finished tops in the conference, and it was the first of three consecutive seasons in which the Bruins got past the first round. The last time the Bruins had accomplished such a feat was when they won at least a round in  five straight playoffs from 1988 through 1992.

Julien’s crowning achievement, of course, was the 2010-11 season in which the Bruins beat the Canadiens, Flyers, Lightning and Canucks en route to hoisting the Stanley Cup. It seemed that Julien was criticized by select media and fans more than he’d ever been in that season. The Bruins were coming off an embarrassing playoff defeat in 2010 in which they’d blown a 3-0 series lead to the Flyers, and after they were blanked by Jonas Hiller and the Ducks at home on Dec. 20 of the 2010-11 season, it seemed hard to find a fan who didn’t want Chiarelli and Cam Neely to can the coach.

In the playoffs, Julien was scrutinized for his handling of Tyler Seguin. His sticking with Michael Ryder over the then-rookie proved to be right, as Ryder’s Game 4 performance (two goals, one of which was the game-winner in overtime, and an assist) tied the team’s first-round series with the Habs. Seguin shined when he finally got his turn in the Eastern Conference finals, but Julien’s handling of the situation was correct.

Julien definitely has faced some good ol’ fashioned Boston scrutiny thus far in Boston, but if his future with the B’s matches what he’s accomplished in the recent past, fans won’t have much to (logically) complain about.

Now if only they could do something about that power play …