|Tim Thomas puts blame on Bruins for leaking his plans||10.17.13 at 11:20 pm ET|
SUNRISE, Fla. — Tim Thomas finally spoke to the Boston media Thursday night, as he fielded questions about his time with and exit from the B’s after allowing three goals in a 3-2 Boston win at BB&T Center.
The biggest takeaway from Thomas was that he felt the Bruins forced his hand regarding his year-long disappearance from hockey last season. Thomas’ side of the story Thursday was that he told the Bruins he was just considering sitting out the season — saying that he felt he wouldn’t have to decide about his future until after the lockout — but that the Bruins leaked it, forcing him to commit to not playing last season.
“I told the Bruins, gave them a heads-up that I’m considering it, and it was supposed to be kept on the down-low, and it became public,” he said. “I didn’t want anything to become public. I was pretty sure there was a lockout coming up and I didn’t have to make a decision for quite a long period of time. I was kind of forced into a corner.”
Here is everything that Thomas had to say about his time in Boston:
On his lasting perception of his experience with the Bruins:
“There’s no one thing. It’s the whole thing together. It was an awesome time there. I don’t know what else to say. It’s a new chapter in my life, it’s a new chapter for them. I’m not giving a good answer because I can’t.”
On if he regrets how things ended:
“No. I made a decision based on what was best for me and my family. I felt that the team was in capable hands. I knew where Tuukka was at in his development, and I was obviously proven right. So I went and did something that was incredible for my life and for my family’s life, and I don’t regret it. That’s the most important thing.”
On when he decided to take a year off:
“I had obviously thought about it during the season, but I didn’t know for sure any time. I even trained all the way through the beginning of the season last year just in case it gets to the week before the season and all of a sudden the itch comes back.
“Actually, I told the Bruins, gave them a heads up that I’m considering it, and it was supposed to be kept on the down-low, and it became public. I didn’t want anything to become public. I was pretty sure there was a lockout coming up and I didn’t have to make a decision for quite a long period of time. I was kind of forced into a corner.”
|Reilly Smith scores last-minute goal to help Bruins beat Tim Thomas, Panthers||10.17.13 at 9:58 pm ET|
SUNRISE, Fla. — The Bruins won with Tim Thomas and nearly won without him last season. On Thursday, they won against him, picking up a 3-2 win over Thomas and the Panthers to improve to 4-2-0 on the season.
Reilly Smith was the hero for the Bruins, backhanding a loose puck in front past Thomas with just under a minute remaining in regulation to break a 2-2 tie. It was his first goal as a Bruin.
The game was a rather sloppy affair on the Bruins’ part, as they were playing without Adam McQuaid and using three defense pairings they rarely use. The Panthers were able to tie the game in the third period on a Jesse Winchester goal that came as a result of a Zdeno Chara flub.
Daniel Paille was the first Bruin to score against Thomas, beating him stick-side high on a partial breakaway. Dougie Hamilton, who was back in the lineup after sitting out the previous two games as a healthy scratch, made it 2-0 on his first goal of the year, a power-play blast from the point.
Former Bruins prospect Kris Versteeg got the Panthers on the board in the second period, beating Tuukka Rask on a delayed slashing penalty against David Krejci, while the B’s were just barely holding on until Winchester tied the game.
The game didn’t draw well at all, though a large portion of the audience appeared to be Bruins fans. There was a good amount of pretty clear booing directed toward Thomas during pregame introductions. Thomas, who signed with Florida after sitting out the final year of his contract with the Bruins (a season in which he was traded to the Islanders), made his return from a groin injury that had kept him out the previous four games.
The Bruins will remain in Florida as they take on the Lightning on Saturday night in Tampa.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS Read the rest of this entry »
|Adam McQuaid a healthy scratch vs. Panthers||10.17.13 at 7:24 pm ET|
SUNRISE, Fla. — In a season in which Claude Julien swears no defenseman is safe from a healthy scratch, the first eye-opening one is upon us. Adam McQuaid will sit vs. the Panthers, as Matt Bartkowski will stay in the lineup for a third straight game, while Dougie Hamilton will make his return to the lineup after sitting out the last two.
The Bruins lineup, per warmups, is as follows:
Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Smith – Bergeron – Eriksson
Marchand – Kelly – Caron
Paille – Campbell – Thornton
Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Seidenberg
Krug – Boychuk
Rask is obviously facing Tim Thomas as the two-time Vezina-winner and longtime Bruin will face his former team for the first time since leaving them prior to last season. Rask and Thomas, who got along well in their time as teammates, chatted with one another for about 30 seconds at center ice during warmup, as is documented by this horrible photo.
|Kris Versteeg reflects on brief Bruins career||10.17.13 at 2:23 pm ET|
SUNRISE, Fla. — The Bruins are in Florida to face the Panthers, which means they’ll be seeing a familiar face. Kris Versteeg sure must be nervous.
No, Versteeg is no Tim Thomas when it comes to Boston sports status, but Thursday’s matchup will mark another meeting for the forward against the team that drafted him — and dealt him away in one of just a few bad trades by Peter Chiarelli.
A 2004 draft pick of the Bruins, Versteeg played two seasons in Providence before being traded to the Blackhawks in 2007 for Brandon Bochenski. Versteeg went on to win the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks and put up two 20-goal seasons for Chicago (plus one for the Panthers), while the Bruins would discard Bochenski a year later.
“It’s the team that drafted me. Me and David Krejci, we were friends and we had some good times together in Providence,” Versteeg said Thursday. “I have great memories of that organization.”
Indeed, Krejci and Versteeg did get along well. As Versteeg recalls, he wasn’t feeling too great about his game after his WHL career, but he said Thursday that playing with Krejci gave him confidence that he needed to be an NHL player. His 22 goals in 43 games for Providence in the season he was traded tied his highest junior goal total with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
“I had a bit of a rough road there in junior,” Versteeg said, “then I came into Providence, and playing with Krej — the way me and him found chemistry together and played together, and the points we put up together, it really helped myself realize that I could play this game and I could play at the top level with top guys.”
Krejci said that Versteeg also taught him some things at the AHL level, so their time together was mutually beneficial. You wouldn’t know that from watching them play against one another though, as the two admitted they like to get extra chippy when their teams meet.
“It’s fun,” Krejci said. “I love him, I hate him. It’s a little bit of both.”
The two players have obviously seen their careers take different paths. Krejci has remained a Bruin for his entire career to this point, while Versteeg has been traded a whopping four times. Though they’ve been apart for a number of years at this point, Versteeg said he isn’t shocked to see Krejci become the player that he is.
“For him to do what he’s doing now isn’t a big surprise,” Versteeg said. “I knew he’d be a great player. It was about the chance he was going to get. He got it and he’s definitely taking advantage of his opportunity.”
|Panthers promise to show Red Sox vs. Tigers as Tim Thomas faces Bruins||10.17.13 at 1:17 pm ET|