|Tuukka Rask thinks Tim Thomas got a bad rap||01.15.13 at 12:39 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask tried to call Tim Thomas recently, only to find that the embattled netminder had changed his phone number. That’s not a huge surprise for Thomas, who lost much of the good faith he had built up in Boston as he made his political beliefs increasingly public over the course of last season before eventually deciding to take this year off.
Rask, who is taking over for Thomas as the Bruins’ No. 1 goaltender, finally got to catch up with his former teammate when Milan Lucic got a hold of the Thomas’ new phone number and shared it with teammates interested in getting in touch with him. The two spoke over the last few days in what Rask called more of a “‘hey, how ya doing’ type of thing’ than anything else, but consider that Rask, who shared the Bruins’ net with Thomas over the last three seasons was probably closer to him than anyone else on the Bruins, was just happy to catch up.
“He’s enjoying his life right now with the family and the time off,” Rask said. “I was glad to hear that.”
Thomas is now living in Colorado with his family. The move was planned during last season, but when asked in December about his intentions, Thomas was guarded and said he wasn’t ready to address his plans past the season. Things went south from there when Thomas skipped the team’s visit to the White House and began using his Facebook page to express his thoughts about such topics as the government, birth control and Dan Cathy after the Chick-fil-A president made anti-gay remarks.
The less-candid Thomas caught a ton of flak from the media (present company included) and fans, but as a teammate, he wasn’t any different. Rask and Thomas got along well, and Rask said Tuesday that he felt Thomas may have gotten a bad rap.
“The things you read in the media, I don’t read that stuff because we didn’t talk about political things or anything like that,” Rask said. “We just talk about hockey and stupid stuff like guys usually do. Everybody believes in what they believe in. You’ve got to respect that.
“It’s all about the choices you make,” he added. “Knowing him, he doesn’t really care about what anybody thinks. He stands behind his opinions, and I really respect that. It didn’t affect our relationship at all.”
Thomas was very much his own man. He made it about himself often, but Rask didn’t see the harm in that considering the position they play.
“I think as a goalie, you have to be kind of like that,” he said. “Some guys might take it to an extreme. You’re part of the team, but you’re still an individual. You’re by yourself out there, so you kind of have to have that mentality to be kind of selfish in a certain way to be able to become a successful goalie.”
|Rich Peverley (personal reasons) absent from morning skate||01.15.13 at 11:50 am ET|
The Bruins held a morning skate at TD Garden Tuesday in an effort to simulate a game day. The B’s will hold an intra-squad scrimmage in front of fans Tuesday night.
The Bruins are going stream the scrimmage on their website, but they’ll also be recording it for the purpose of watching game video as they would with any other game.
|Bruins get to work on power play||01.14.13 at 10:23 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The second day of training camp meant addressing a common source of frustration for the Bruins, as they worked on the power play in anticipation of the upcoming season.
The B’s, who finished 20th in power play efficiency (scoring 16.2 percent of the time) in 2010-11 and 15th (17 percent) last season, used the following units, with Rich Peverley and Gregory Campbell mixing into the first unit:
Campbell rotated in for Lucic as a net-front presence, while Peverley would replace Krejci on the point. Krejci said that he played some point on the power play in the Czech Extraliga during the lockout.
After the practice, Bergeron spoke about the power play work, noting that the B’s will have to put Claude Julien and Geoff Ward‘s planning during the lockout to good use, and quickly.
“It’s a short season. We don’t have that much time, and we need to be prepared right away,” Bergeron said. “Special teams on both sides are going to be very important. The power play is no different. We don’t have that much time to work on it, so today was the perfect day to do that.”
The Bruins have been pretty forthcoming with their intentions to have Hamilton on the team this year, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that he’s already being used on the power play. After all, the season is five days away, so cushiony period of easing him into scenarios doesn’t really exist. Bergeron thinks he’ll handle the challenge well.
“He looks good,” Bergeron said of Hamilton. “He seems to be pretty poised with the puck and making the right plays. It’s only his second practice ‘¦ but today I got the chance to work with him a little more and he seems to be a very good player, very smart. He doesn’t look like he’s 19 out there.”
Hamilton is an obvious choice on the power play, as the 6-foot-5 blueliner had 17 goals and 55 assists for 72 points in 50 games last season as the OHL’s most outstanding defenseman.
|Adam McQuaid: ‘I feel like I’m pretty close’||01.13.13 at 3:40 pm ET|
The Bruins expect Adam McQuaid to be ready to go for the season-opener as he recovers from blood clot surgery, and the physical blueliner said after Sunday’s practice that he is still continuing to improve as he gets his strength back.
“I feel like I’m pretty close,” McQuaid said. “It’s a different situation, right? But I still feel like every day is honestly getting better and it’s coming pretty quick. We have a little bit of time here, and hopefully another week or so will go a long ways and we’ll see from there. I’d love more than anything to be able to play, but we’ll see.
“I feel like I’m moving pretty good,” he added. “Obviously the strength side of it will just be something I’ll continue to work on, just upper-body strength, but again, that’s something that can come pretty quick.”
McQuaid got surgery in October for a blood clot under his collarbone after his right arm swelled considerably. Though he was locked out at that point due to CBA negations between the NHL and NHLPA, McQuaid was still able to consult Bruins’ doctors on his own without bending rules.
“The physical signs were there. My arm got really swollen, and there was no denying that something was going on, so it was a no-brainer to go get checked out,” he explained. “When I kind of had an idea of what was going on, I got in contact with some of the team doctors just on my own, on behalf of myself. Luckily enough, they worked with me just on a personal level and not with the team. I was pretty fortunate to have those guys watching over everything that was going on.”
As for Peter Chiarelli‘s declaration that McQuaid will play next Saturday against the Rangers, McQuaid said he hopes his general manager is right. After all, McQuaid was in Providence for the 2010 opener and was sick when the B’s opened against the Flyers last season.
“I’m hoping [I can play],” he said. “I haven’t had the opportunity to start a season opener with this team, so I’m hoping that this is going to be the year.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Zdeno Chara: Dougie Hamilton ‘way better than I was at his age’||01.13.13 at 3:24 pm ET|
Following the Bruins’ first day of training camp in front of approximately 1,000 fans at TD Garden, B’s captain Zdeno Chara sang the praises of fellow defenseman Dougie Hamilton. The 19-year-old, who was named the most outstanding defenseman in the OHL, is expected to make the team this year after being drafted ninth overall in the 2011 draft.
“You don’t see very often guys being so humble and almost shy come around and be so good,” Chara said of Hamilton. “We all can see he’s very talented and willing to learn, so it’s exciting for all of us to have a guy like that around and try to help him out as much as you can and see him growing as a person.”
Hamilton has long looked up to Chara, as he is also a taller blueliner (Hamilton stands at 6-foot-5, while Chara is the tallest player in the history of the NHL at 6-foot-9). Asked if he saw some of his younger self in Hamilton, Chara said that he wasn’t as advanced at 19 as Hamilton is now.
“He’s way better. He’s way better than I was, I can tell you right now,” Chara said. “He’s way better than I was at his age.”
Hamilton, whose Twitter avatar is a picture of him standing on the ice with Chara, lit up when told of the captain’s praise.
“That’s awesome,” Hamilton said. “Just watching him out there, you can see how good he is. I don’t get to watch that much NHL hockey because we’re always playing. But you go out there and watch him and he’s pretty sick. If I can learn from him and try to get better and just watch him, he’s going to help me out a lot. I’m really looking forward to that.”
For complete Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Peter Chiarelli: Tim Thomas wants to play next season||01.13.13 at 11:14 am ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli provided a minor update on the status of goaltender Tim Thomas, who is not playing this year despite being under contract for this season.
Thomas, a two-time Vezina winner and the recipient of the 2011 Conn Smythe, is spending the year in Colorado with his family and will be suspended by the team when he does not show up by 10 a.m. on Monday, but Chiarelli said that the 38-year-old has told him that he does intend to play next season.
“Tim’s not going to show up, and he’s told us that he’s not playing for the year and wants to play next year,” Chiarelli said. “As late as last week he’s told me that through his agent, so we’ll end up suspending him and we want to do it in a non-adverserial way. I’ll talk to the agent and we’ll agree to some sort of set of facts and remedies and that will be it.”
With Tuukka Rask taking over as the No. 1 goaltender, it would appear that Thomas’ time with the B’s is done. There had been talk that the B’s could send Thomas, who has one year left on his contract with a $3 million salary and $5 million cap hit, to a team that needs to get to the salary floor. Chiarelli doesn’t see that scenario playing out, but he could still trade Thomas eventually.
“He will be on our cap unless I trade him,” Chiarelli said. “With the floor as it is — $44 million — there’s probably not the opportunity to move him to a team that needs to get to the floor, so it’s a bit of a standstill. He’s on our cap.”
Chiarelli said the Bruins have the ability to require Thomas to give them another year under the same terms of his contract, but that it’s “too early to tell” whether the B’s will do that. It would seem unlikely that they would do that and keep him, as the Bruins’ cap situation for next season (just under $7 million in space without Rask signed) is tight as it is, leaving them no room for Thomas’ $5 million cap hit.
|Peter Chiarelli says Adam McQuaid should play in season-opener||01.13.13 at 10:56 am ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Sunday morning that he expects defenseman Adam McQuaid, who is recovering from blood clot surgery, to play in next Saturday’s season opener against the Rangers.
McQuaid, who underwent the surgery for a blood clot under his collarbone in October, has been skating with teammates as he’s gotten his strength back. Judging by how he looked on the ice in informal practices at Boston University, he had appeared to have lost weight.
“He’s ready to play. He’s cleared to play now,” Chiarelli said. “I don’t know what level of contact he can take — I haven’t talked to our docs yet — but I think he’s completely ready to play.”
Asked whether he’ll be in the lineup next Saturday, Chiarelli replied, “I would assume so, unless he stinks out there.”