|Tim Thomas named Vezina Trophy finalist||04.22.11 at 1:40 pm ET|
In what was pretty much a foregone conclusion, Tim Thomas was named one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy on Friday. Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne are the other two finalists.
“Very happy to hear that, obviously,” Thomas said. “After last year, I wasn’t quite sure if I’d ever hear that again.”
Thomas, of course, is referring to his up-and-down 2009-10 campaign, in which he finished the season with a 17-18-8 record to go along with a 2.56 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. He ultimately ceded the starting job to Tuukka Rask by the playoffs.
Thomas bounced back in a big way this year, though. He went 35-11-9 and led the NHL in both goals-against average (2.00) and save percentage (.938). That .938 mark was good enough to break Dominik Hasek‘s single-season save percentage record.
“I definitely have more appreciation just for the fact that I have the opportunity to play,” Thomas said. “I waited a long time in my career just for the opportunity to play in any NHL games. I wanted to have the opportunity and wanted to be able to show what I could do. And so after last year, I think it’s made every game a little bit sweeter this year.”
Claude Julien said Thomas not only deserves the nomination, but that he also deserves to win the award.
“I think it’s pretty obvious to me that Tim is very deserving of that nomination,” Julien said. “Obviously I’m a big fan of what he’s done this year, and if you ask me, he certainly deserves it. I’m sure that I would get some arguments from other places, but I’m certainly going to support Tim for the season he’s had. Especially with what he went through last year, to bounce back this year and have that kind of season, he’s certainly very deserving. I wish him all the luck and I hope he wins what he deserves.”
Thomas said that although the nomination is great and he’s certainly happy about it, he’s focused on more pressing matters right now.
“Only if you make it,” Thomas said when asked if the nomination could be a distraction. “It’s weird timing that we happen to be in the middle of a very tough first-round series. … I could talk about it right now, but my focus will immediately go back to the playoff series. I won’t be thinking about the Vezina later today.”
|Andrew Ference OK with fine, maintains gesture was unintentional||04.22.11 at 1:18 pm ET|
“I talked with Mike Murphy of the NHL this morning and explained the same thing I told you guys last night,” Ference said. “He said the same thing, that it looks awful. Obviously with this series, the whole year, how it is between the Habs and the Bruins, a fine is acceptable. I had a good talk with him this morning.”
Ference stood by his claim that the gesture was unintentional. After the game, he said his glove might have gotten caught with the finger up, but that he wasn’t trying to do that.
“I was pumping my fist,” he said on Friday. “I’m not giving anybody the bird or anything like that. Like I told [the NHL], it was an unintentional bird. I obviously apologize for it. It wasn’t meant to insult anybody, especially a whole row of cameras in the Bell Centre and the fans sitting there.”
Claude Julien stood by his defenseman.
“With Andrew, I think he’s been pretty open with what he thinks of the situation,” Julien said. “His comments were pretty clear, and I’m going to support my player. That’s my job, is to support and believe your player, and that’s what I’m going to do. He’s a big boy, he’s capable of handling himself.”
|Reports: Ference fined $2,500 for gesture||04.22.11 at 11:04 am ET|
According to multiple reports, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference has been fined $2,500 by the NHL for making an obscene gesture following his second-period goal in Thursday night’s OT win over the Canadiens.
No penalty was assessed at the time, and Ference denied making the gesture when asked by reporters after the game.
‘Coach just showed me it, and it looks awful,’ Ference said . ‘I just saw it and I can assure you that’s not part of my repertoire. I don’t know if my glove got caught up. I can assure you, that’s not part of who I am or what I ever have been. So it looks awful, I admit it, I completely apologize to how it looks. You guys have covered me long enough to know that that’s not part of my repertoire.
‘I was putting my fist in the air,’ Ference added. ‘I’m sorry, it does look awful. I just saw it.’
|Michael Ryder proves Claude Julien right, plays hero in pivotal win over Canadiens||04.22.11 at 12:09 am ET|
MONTREAL — To say that Michael Ryder has been the whipping boy of Bruins fans is an understatement. The $4 million man was far from that for too long after the Bruins’ Feb. 9 win over the Canadiens. The free-agent-to-be totaled just two goals over his final 25 games, and was even a healthy scratch three times.
Since the playoffs began, fans and some media members have lobbied for Ryder to watch them from the press box in order to make room for Tyler Seguin in the lineup.
On Thursday, Ryder showed that Claude Julien‘s decision to stick with him was the right one, ending his lengthy disappearing act with a pair of goals in Game 5 against the Canadiens, including the game-winner in overtime. Julien has coached Ryder everywhere from juniors to the AHL to Montreal to Boston, so it was only fitting that Ryder prove Julien right at Bell Centre.
‘I’ve been with him for a while,’ Ryder said of Julien. ‘Just for him to give me the ice time and give me the confidence, for me, it just gives me that extra boost to show people that I can still play and still got it.’
Ryder’s big night began when he tied the game at one in the second period, beating Habs netminder Carey Price with a wrist shot after taking a pass from Tomas Kaberle. From there, the weight was finally off the struggling winger’s shoulders.
‘You always get a little frustrated when you don’t score and you don’t get that many opportunities, but it was definitely a confidence boost,’ Ryder said. ‘Hopefully now our line keeps generating stuff, helping to do whatever we can to help this team.’
He would go on to assist Chris Kelly‘s game-tying goal at 13:42 of the third period, which marked the third time in the game that the B’s came back to tie it up. They actually never led in the game until Ryder beat Price for the game-winner just 119 seconds into overtime.
‘I’m happy for Rydes,’ Shawn Thornton said of the winger. ‘A couple of guys talked about it before, he usually plays pretty well in this building,’ Shawn Thornton said of the former Canadien. ‘I’m happy his hard work paid off. Maybe some people in Boston will lay off him now. He’s a good guy.’
|Andrew Ference denies giving Canadiens fans ‘the finger’||04.21.11 at 11:02 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Following their Game 4 win over the Canadiens, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference denied any intention of making an obscene gesture at Habs fans following his second-period goal. Following his tally, which at the time made it a 3-2 game, the veteran was caught on camera giving the middle finger to the crowd.
‘Coach just showed me it, and it looks awful,’ Ference said following the win. ‘I just saw it and I can assure you that’s not part of my repertoire. I don’t know if my glove got caught up. I can assure you, that’s not part of who I am or what I ever have been. So it looks awful, I admit it, I completely apologize to how it looks. You guys have covered me long enough to know that that’s not part of my repertoire.
‘I was putting my fist in the air,’ he added. ‘I’m sorry it does look awful. I just saw it.’
Ference can be fined up to $2,500 for the gesture.
‘Honestly, I have no idea,’ he said of whether he’ll pay for it. ‘It looks really bad, but all I can do is tell you the truth and that’s the truth.’
Coach Claude Julien said in his postgame press conference that he had not seen the play.
|Michael Ryder lifts Bruins past Canadiens in Game 4 thriller||04.21.11 at 10:04 pm ET|
MONTREAL — The Bruins grabbed a gutsy win Thursday, sinking the Canadiens, 5-4, in overtime and tying the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at two games apiece. Michael Ryder, who had three points on the night, scored the game-winner 1:59 into OT.
The Habs jumped out to a 1-0 lead 8:13 into the first period on a shot from Brent Sopel. With just over eight minutes of scoreless play, Game 4 had the most scoreless time of any so far in the series. Ryder would tie the game in the second period, though goals from Michael Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn made it a 3-1 game. The B’s were able to battle back in that same period, getting goals from Andrew Ference and Patrice Bergeron to tie it at three at the end of two.
With Patrice Bergeron in the penalty box for hooking, Habs rookie defenseman P.K Subban scored to make it 4-3 early in the third. Once again, the Habs’ lead would not stick, as the Bruins would tie it on a Chris Kelly goal at 13:42 of the third, setting the stage for Ryder’s overtime heroics.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
‘¢Michael Ryder scoring after taking a pass from Tomas Kaberle? Ryder later setting up a critical goal? That’s something the Bruins had been waiting to see. While it’s been a while since either of those two have proven capable of playing to their potential (in Kaberle’s case, the argument could be made that he hasn’t proven it since joining the B’s) the thought of some of their ‘money’ players stepping up their play is something the B’s would welcome.
‘¢It was almost unbelievable the two teams were tied after Ryder’s goal, as the B’s were being handled by the Habs. Being able to tie it once may have given them a dose of resiliency, as they were able to battle through and later make up a two-goal deficit. Kelly’s goal gave tied it once again, proving that the team is capable of playing well from behind, an area that plagued them in Games 1 and 2.
‘¢The Brad Marchand – Bergeron – Mark Recchi line continues to be the lone Boston trio with a consistent pulse. Bergeron has two goals in four games, while a lucky bounce helped give Marchand an assist on the Ference goal.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
‘¢Going down a man just 32 seconds into the third period of a tied playoff game isn’t what a team is looking for, and when Subban scored on the power play with Bergeron in the box on a questionable hooking call. It was the Bruins’ only penalty of the game, but it was very costly.
‘¢Terrible sportsmanship on the part of Ference after his goal. Cameras caught him giving the middle finger to Habs fans after beating Price to make it 3-2. For a series with as much chirping and after-the-whistle activity, Ference would have aplenty opportunity to do that stuff to the guys on the ice. Ference is one of the better people in the game, so there’s no doubt he would like to have those few seconds back.
‘¢Milan Lucic needs to make a difference in this series, and it turns out his lack of presence has made a big difference. The underperforming winger was the B’s best scorer in the postseason, and his quiet playoffs continued Thursday. He did have a nice pass to set up David Krejci all alone in front of Price, but the center wasn’t able to finish.
|Live blog: Bruins look to even up the series in Montreal||04.21.11 at 6:04 pm ET|