|Boychuk has little doubt he will be back||05.18.10 at 2:42 pm ET|
Johnny Boychuk is the type of guy who will be laughing, joking and making sarcastic remarks when things are going well. When things are not, he tends speak quietly about what went wrong.
Boychuk was definitely quiet Tuesday morning during breakdown day at TD Garden. He becomes a Category 6 unrestricted free agent this offseason even though he does not technically have the service time in the NHL to make him unrestricted. Category 6 is a rare designation for guys who normally spend most of their time in the minors and then become free agents after their initial contracts expire. To be a restricted free agent, which would make general manager Peter Chiarelli’s job in keeping him in Boston much simpler, Boychuk would have needed to complete 80 career games this year and be under the age 26, marks he missed by 12 games (including playoffs) and sixth months. Boychuk spent most of five seasons in the minors before coming to Boston and his progress towards becoming a productive NHL defenseman was hindered while he was in the Colorado system as it tried to make him into a dual defenseman/power forward. For a simple guy like Boychuk who likes to hit things and take big shots, forward is probably too complicated a position.
“Just try to keep it simple. Get the puck away try to turn pucks over, simple. I got more comfortable and then tried to do a couple different things. Nothing drastic, I just wanted to keep it simple,” Boychuk said. “I just wanted to get pucks to the net and keep it simple. Simple is my way, I guess.”
In terms of staying in Boston, Boychuk has little doubt that he will be back.
“Everybody knows that I want to be in Boston. So, I want to be here, it is not a big secret,” Boychuk said. “100 percent. I love it here in Boston. I want to be back.”
Boychuk said that he has not even thought about what would happen if another NHL team threw a lot of money at him come July 1. He hopes that it will not even make it that far.
“Well, they can’t talk to me before July 1. I hope it doesn’t go that long,” Boychuk said. “No talks but I am pretty sure that I am going to be back, I hope I am going to be back at least. So, we will see.”
The defenseman is going to take a short vacation and ship his truck back to Montana for the purpose of driving to his home in Edmonton where he will spend the summer. He said that he does not look forward to the 10-hour drive across the nothingness that lays between Minneapolis and the Rocky Mountains. Anybody who has driven through those plains would probably agree. In terms of the pack up, Boychuk still is a little stunned about the Bruins sudden exit at the hands of the Flyers and knows that, if he is back next year, the memory will light a fire under the team.
“I don’t even think I should be here packing up my stuff. It was weird packing my stuff last night to go back up [to Edmonton]. So much stuff to do now. Drive home, fly home. However I am getting home. Haven’t really had any time to watch hockey. Just packing up everything and try to get everything settled before we leave,” Boychuk said. “It is going to light a fire, that is for sure. Hopefully we take this next year and use it to our advantage.”
|Thomas says it is ‘too early’ to dwell on offseason||at 12:21 pm ET|
Bruins goaltender and reigning Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas spoke about his upcoming role on the team after having been usurped for the No. 1 spot in the crease by rookie Tuukka Rask in the second half of the 2009-10 season. Thomas signed a four-year $20 million contract extension last summer and has a no-trade clause in his contract though the speculation is that general manager Peter Chiarelli will have no choice but to try and move Thomas’s contract. Thomas said on Tuesday morning that there are questions that he needs to answer but it is still “too early” to start coming to any conclusions.
“Too early. Those kind of thoughts are something that need to be thought over carefully and over a longer period of time and I haven’t had the luxury of doing that yet,” Thomas said. “Even if you are not playing at the end of the year you are still practicing with the team, you are still trying to get yourself in a position where you could help the team if you are called upon. So, I was busy doing that stuff and not thinking about, or at least coming to conclusions on the things you guys are asking me about. Of course they have crossed my mind because I am human and they have to, you know.”
Thomas said that he just has not had any time between the Game 7 loss last Friday and Tuesday morning to figure out how he wants to deal with the offseason.
“It is so early after the end of the season that I haven’t took the time yet. We have had these end of the year meetings, get our equipment, we have had some other activities. Over the next month I will let things kind of settle in my mind and come up with some of that stuff later, but not yet,” Thomas said.
Thomas also said that the 2009-10 season was a unique experience in his professional career. Coming from being the top goaltender on the best team in the Eastern Conference and watching his team, and his job, dissipate would be unique for any player.
“It was certainly different than any other experience I have had as a pro,” Thomas said. “It was challenging, you go through these types of situations and years and you just have to try and find the lessons out of them and find a way to make yourself a better pro goaltender and a better person.”