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Report: Ex-Bruin Tim Thomas might return to pro hockey next season 06.03.13 at 11:19 am ET
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Tim Thomas

Perhaps Tim Thomas is not done with professional hockey after all.

CBC’s Elliotte Friedman said that while Thomas’ agent says everything is still the status quo, it would not be surprising to see Thomas make a comeback in 2013-14 (skip to 4:32 in the video).

If Thomas does make a comeback, it does not necessarily mean he will be returning to the NHL. Friedman’s sources indicated Thomas could head to Europe. Thomas played four seasons in Finland’s SM-liiga and one season in Sweden’s Elitserien between 1997 and 2005 before spending seven seasons with the Bruins.

The Islanders traded for Thomas’ rights this season and have the right to toll his contract to the 2013-14 season because he refused to report this season.

Thomas, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner and the 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy winner, led the Bruins to a Stanley Cup in 2011. He turned 39 years old in April.

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Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘It’s tough this time of year to retaliate’ against Matt Cooke 06.03.13 at 10:44 am ET
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Shawn Thornton

Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about his team’s Eastern Conference finals series against the Penguins.

With usual suspect Matt Cooke not being suspended for his Saturday night hit against Adam McQuaid, there is an expectation that the Bruins will try to retaliate against Cooke. However, Thornton downplayed that possibility.

“It’s tough this time of year to retaliate,” Thornton said. “You don’t want to be the reason that you lose a game in the playoffs. Everything is just worth so much more this time of year, especially how far along we are in the playoffs. It gets more important to keep your composure.

“This hit was a little bit different [than the one on Marc Savard], obviously, and if need be I’m pretty sure Adam McQuaid can take care of himself. He is a pretty big, tough guy.”

Mark Madden, a sports talk radio host at 105.9 The X in Pittsburgh, said the Bruins did not immediately retaliate when Cooke checked Savard in the head on March 7, 2010, is because Savard was disliked in the Bruins locker room. Thornton denied that claim.

“Matt Cooke got kicked out of that game with Savvy years ago [actually, Cooke was not penalized at all]. The people that were on the ice with Savvy — a couple of them didn’t see what happened and I think a couple of them couldn’t get there in time. It was like Michael Ryder, who I don’t think ever had a fight in the NHL. Then there was three minutes left in the game, if I’m not mistaken [actually 5:37], so you can’t go out there and jump anyone either because it’s a $10,000 fine for you and a $10,000 fine for the coach and a $20,000 fine for the team — I don’t know what the exact numbers are but there are a lot of rules in place that stop you from gooning it up at the end of the games. They’re just trying to clean up the game.

“So, it wasn’t because Savvy was disliked. It was just at what time it went and who with that incident.”

One player who did fight Saturday night was Patrice Bergeron, who dropped the gloves with Evgeni Malkin after the second period. Bergeron lost the fight and got a bloody face, but Thornton said he did not have much of a chance to win it once Malkin pulled his jersey over his head.

“His jersey came over his head really quickly and there is nothing you can do when that happens,” Thornton said. “You can’t see anything, kind of the old-school way, I guess. He did a good job getting in there. He didn’t back down. I know Malkin is not known as a tough guy, but he still is about five inches taller than him. Any time anyone gets in there, it’s not an easy job to do, so I definitely congratulated him.”

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Read More: Adam McQuaid, Dennis & Callahan, Matt Cooke, Patrice Bergeron
Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight eyeing spot in Boston 06.30.12 at 11:50 pm ET
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Ryan Spooner is hoping to get consideration from the Bruins parent club heading into training camp this season. (AP)

WILMINGTON – Dougie Hamilton has made headlines as the player most likely to make it to Boston for the 2012-13 season out of the development camp this week. While he has the best shot at making the NHL roster, there are a few others that are probably not as far off as one would think.

Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight, who were both selected in the second round of the 2010 draft (Knight was taken 32nd overall, Spooner was taken 45th overall), are among the next tier of prospects who have a shot grabbing the 12th forward spot in Boston.

While the Bruins currently have 11 healthy forwards on the roster (12 if Nathan Horton can return in time for the start of the next season), there is a chance that Spooner or Knight impresses the coaching staff enough to earn the final spot on the roster. However, they would have to beat out any veteran free agents that the team signs along with any AHL player in line to make the jump to the next level, such as newly acquired Chris Bourque, or Carter Camper.

“Yeah, it’s going to be hard for them,” said Peter Chiarelli on Friday. “What we told them going into this camp is that you’re going to have an opportunity to make the team. There’s obviously some that are more likely than others to have that opportunity, but what we’ve done in the past and what we will do in the future is that, if they knock our socks off, we will find room for them.”

The tough task ahead to make the roster does not deter Knight, who said he is shooting to make the NHL club.

“I’m not going to go into camp thinking I’m just going to get sent down to Providence,” Knight said. “I think if I put in a lot of work these next seven or eight weeks I can give myself a chance. You never know with injuries or trades or things like that … That is out of my control though. I’m just coming to camp ready to play.”

Spooner also said that he would try his best to make the NHL team, but that right now he is just focused on improving his attention to detail.

“Hopefully one day I can make it to the National Hockey League,” Spooner said. “Right now I am just focusing on doing all the little things that are going to get me there.

“I think skill-wise I could keep up. But I think the little things, like I said, my strength, how to adjust to that type of game, [I need to improve on].” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bruins, Bruins Development Camp, Jared Knight, Ryan Spooner
Tommy Cross: A development camp legend 06.29.12 at 5:11 pm ET
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Tommy Cross won two NCAA titles with BC. (AP)

WILMINGTON — A few years before Matt Grzelcyk was drafted, the Charlestown native went to Ristuccia Arena to watch the Bruins run their development camp. One of the players he watched at the camp was 2007 second-round pick Tommy Cross.

Cross, who just capped off a four-year career at Boston College with his second NCAA championship and third Beanpot title, has been a constant at the Bruins development camp. He hasn’t always been able to participate (he’s had three major knee surgeries), but he’s been there since the camp started.

Cross made his first appearance at the first camp in 2007, when the team was evaluating the then-17-year-old alongside players such as David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Tuukka Rask and Adam McQuaid. Now, the 22-year-old Cross is the veteran of the camp, playing alongside younger prospects such as Dougie Hamiton, Malcolm Subban, Jared Knight and Ryan Spooner.

But while the players changed around him, the development camp has been a familiar experience for the Westminster, Conn. native.

“[It is the] same as usual,” Cross said. “It is a really good learning experience. You can still take a lot out of these camps no matter how many times you come here.

“You know what to expect. They change it up every year obviously. They kind of keep you on your toes. But you know the staff pretty well. You know some of the other players.”

As the veteran member of the camp, the former BC captain has become a leader among the Bruins’ prospects, especially those who are here for the first time. One player who is at his first development camp is goaltender Parker Milner, who won a national championship alongside Cross last season.

“Tommy is intense,” Milner said. “Whether it is the first practice here or the national championship, he is going to be intense. But he looks good out there. I think he is ready to make the jump and his leadership is next to none.”

This will be Cross’ final development camp, as he is expected to play next season with the Providence Bruins. Cross played two games with Providence last season, using the experience to get better acclimated to professional game as opposed to the college game.

“The guys in the AHL are obviously older,” Cross said. “It is a little bit more of a controlled style. I think college hockey is a great place for learning though, and I prepared myself for the next level and the AHL is kind of like a new system.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Development Camp, Tommy Cross,
Peter Chiarelli: Tuukka Rask ‘wants to prove to me that he is a No. 1 goalie’ 06.29.12 at 1:19 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Speaking between sessions at Friday’s development camp, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed the team’s agreement in principle with goaltender Tuukka Rask on a one-year, $3.5 million deal. For bookkeeping purposes, the team will not register the deal until Sunday, the first day of free agency. Rask would have become a restricted free agent Sunday, and he will be one at the end of his upcoming deal.

While Rask only agreed to terms on a one-year contract worth $3.5 million, he certainly plans to be in Boston past next season. According to the general manager, Rask agreed to the one-year deal so he could prove that he is worth a long-term contract.

“He wants to prove that he is the No. 1 goalie for the Bruins for a long time,” Chiarelli said. “This was the easiest way to set the stage for that. Tuukka has been a really good goalie for us, but for one year he hasn’t been the number one goalie. The stage is set for him and we will see where it takes us.”

The contract, which is less money and less years than that of comparable goalies Ondrej Pavelec (five years, $19.5 million) and Cory Schneider (three years, $12 million), prevents Rask from testing the market as a restricted free agent.

“He could have went out and tried to do [arbitration], or tested free agency, and he is not,” Chiarelli said. “He wants to be a member of the Boston Bruins for a long time and I like to hear that. I know you hear that often when you sign guys, but Tuukka throughout since he has been here, he has started here, and he has been patient.

“He has worked in Providence and he has worked as a backup. He is following the steps. I like that. I like that he wants to prove to me that he is a number one goalie.”

Rask, who has a .926 save percentage and a 2.20 goals against average in 102 games with the Bruins, spent the past two seasons backing up Tim Thomas. However, with Thomas likely to sit out next season, Rask will be thrust into the starting role, something that Chiarelli thinks he is capable of handling.

“We saw [good performance from Rask] for a large portion of [2009-10],” Chiarelli said. “He’s coming back earlier to train. I guess the proof is in the pudding at the end of the day, but $3.5 million isn’t chump change. He’s shown to me that he’s ready to take that next step.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Peter Chiarelli, Tuukka Rask,
A look at the Hall-of-Fame career of Adam Oates 06.26.12 at 6:32 pm ET
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Former Bruins’ great Adam Oates was named the head coach of the Capitals and inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Tuesday in what will certainly be a day he will never forget.

Oates, who is sixth all-time in assists, spent 19 years in the NHL with seven different teams, including the Red Wings, Blues, Bruins, Capitals, Flyers, Mighty Ducks and Oilers. While Oates is a 5-time all-star and recognized as one of the greatest playmakers in the modern NHL era, he never won a Stanley Cup in any of those 19 seasons.

However, Oates had many other highlights throughout his illustrious hockey career. Here is a list of Oates’ top-five highlights as a hockey player.

5) 1985 was a great year for Oates, who led his RPI hockey team to an NCAA championship and signed the richest rookie contract to that date (four years, $1 million) with the Red Wings. Oates broke school records that season with most assists in a season (60), and most points in a season (91) while scoring 31 goals in only 38 games. Oates was an NCAA first team All-American that season in which he cemented himself as one of the greatest college hockey players of all time.

4) In 2001-02, the 39-year-old Oates became the oldest player to lead the NHL in assists in a single season, when he finished the regular season with 64 of them in 80 games between the Capitals and the Flyers. Oates led the league in assists by a wide margin, as the second-best assist-man in the league was Jason Allison with 55. While Oates was traded to a Stanley Cup contender in the Flyers (the second seed in the Eastern Conference), his team was eliminated in the first round by the Senators in five games, destroying a chance at the cup for the aging star.

3) Oates had his best chance at a Stanley Cup in his second-to-last season in the NHL with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, when his team reached Game 7 in the Stanley Cup finals only to fall to the Devils 3-0. Oates was tied with Petr Skyora for his team’s lead in scoring during the playoffs with four goals and nine assists in 21 games, but despite his effort, along with that of Conn Smythe trophy winner Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the Mighty Ducks could not get Oates his long-awaited Stanley Cup.

2) Oates teamed up with Brett Hull in the 1990-91 season to become one of the most dominant two-player tandems in NHL history. The “Hull and Oates” combination combined for 246 points that season, and Hull won the Hart trophy during a year he scored 86 goals (an all-time record for right wingers). Oates scored 25 goals and tallied 90 assists in only 61 games that season, to finish third in points that season behind only Wayne Gretzky (163) and Hull (131). However, had he been healthy all season, he and Hull could have only added to already astounding production that year.

1) Oates’ best season in the NHL came with the Bruins in 1992-93, when he scored a career high 142 points (45 goals, 97 assists). With Cam Neely still suffering from his devastating knee injury, Oates, along with Joe Juneau and Ray Bourque, carried the Bruins to a first seed in the Eastern Conference. However, the Bruins would eventually get swept by the Sabres in the first round of the playoffs despite Oates’ team-leading nine assists in four games.

Read More: Adam Oates, Hockey Hall of Fame,
Bruins take winger Colton Hargrove with seventh-round pick 06.23.12 at 1:30 pm ET
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The Bruins used their final pick of the NHL draft to select winger Colton Hargrove in the seventh round (205th overall).

Hargrove spent last season with the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League, where he recorded 16 goals, 22 assists and 140 penalty minutes in 54 games. The Rockwall, Texas, native will be turning 20 on Monday, and will be playing hockey at Western Michigan University next year. Hargrove stands at 6-foot-2, 212 pounds.

The last player the Bruins took from the Fargo Force was goaltender Zane Gothberg, whom they selected in the sixth round in 2010.

Read More: 2012 NHL Draft, Bruins, Colton Hargrove,
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