|Kevin Weekes on M&M: Canucks ‘looking to have a goalie snap on you’||06.10.11 at 1:37 pm ET|
Hockey Night in Canada and NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday morning to discuss the Stanley Cup finals. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Weekes, a former NHL goalie, spent much of the interview talking about Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas. Regarding the question of whether Luongo should be starting Game 5, Weekes said he supported the decision to go back to Luongo.
“Roberto’s your No. 1 goalie. I believe you have to give him the chance,” he said. “There’s no question. I believe you’ve got to give Roberto the chance to play. But I will say this: I think it’s going to be a very short leash.”
The Canucks have criticized Thomas for coming out of his crease so far and so frequently. Weekes suggested that Luongo should learn from what Thomas is doing.
“There’s times when you need to be out of the blue paint, you need to face shooters down and be aggressive and take away that angle from them,” he said. “And Timmy Thomas has done an excellent job of that. That’s a real good element of his game.
“Roberto, I think, needs to come out and challenge a little bit more, use his size to his advantage. It’s one thing to say you’re 6-3, but when you’re just a foot above the goal line at 6-3, that’s an awful lot of net for a shooter to see. And if not, your reflexes need to be razor sharp that game and so precise that you leave yourself with no margin for error.”
|Matthew Barnaby on D&C: Bruins over Lightning in Eastern Conference finals||05.05.11 at 10:32 am ET|
ESPN NHL analyst Matthew Barnaby joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the Bruins’ success in the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Boston took a 3-0 series lead on the Flyers with Wednesday night’s 5-1 victory and can close out the series Friday night at TD Garden.
“They’re playing at full tilt and they really aren’t making that many mistakes,” Barnaby said of the B’s. “When you look at the Philadelphia side, they just can’t seem to get anything going. … It’s a different team than we saw all year long, very suspect goaltending and Chris Pronger not being in that lineup really changes the dynamic of that team.”
Tim Thomas has been stellar in the Boston goal and drawn comparisons to one of Barnaby’s former teammates. “Tim Thomas is to me right now what I played with in Dominik Hasek when I was with Buffalo,” Barnaby said. “He gets into guys’ heads. He makes you pass when you think you should shoot and shoot when you think you should pass. That plays into guys’ minds.
“Sometimes he has you beat [mentally]. He has shooters passing when they should be shooting, and it’s a tough thing to not think you can score. Because I saw it time in and time out, frustrating other teams, night after night, shift after shift. And that’s what Tim Thomas is doing. You expect him to make that big save, and it plays mind games with you.”
The Lightning swept the top-seeded Capitals in the other Eastern Conference semifinal, and that has Barnaby anticipating an exciting Bruins-Lightning series.
“I love this series,” Barnaby said. “You look at goaltending. Dwayne Roloson and Tim Thomas have been the two best goalies in the postseason so far and would be candidates for the Conn Smythe, early running. You look at power plays. Well, you have to give it to Tampa Bay. They’ve been incredible. I think they have 11 or 12 power-play goals already [12 for a 26.7 percent success rate]. Both with some dynamic forwards. The defensive side, I’d give it to Boston. I think Zdeno Chara, he’s logged so many minutes, he’s such a big man.
“I really think it will be an incredible series and could go seven games.”
Asked who he’d predict to win the series, Barnaby said: “I would take Boston.”
|Mark Recchi on D&C: ‘The pressure’s all on them’||05.04.11 at 10:06 am ET|
Bruins forward Mark Recchi checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning, hours before the B’s host the Flyers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Bruins have a 2-0 lead as the series moves to Boston. A year ago, the B’s led the Flyers 3-0 in the series before losing in seven games. Recchi said the Bruins have not avoided discussing last year. “We know that. We’ll talk about it. There’s no question we’ll address it,” Recchi said. “We’ll get ready. Our thing is: Hey, focus on what we do. Don’t focus on the big picture, focus on tonight. Focus on what we do as a team. Don’t focus so much on them and what’s going on on the outside, what people are saying, what people are talking about. Get in our bubble and let’s get ready for tonight.”
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said after Game 2 that the pressure is on the Bruins now because they are expected to win. Recchi isn’t buying it. “The pressure’s on them,” Recchi countered. “They have to come in here and win. We went and did our job. They had home ice. The pressure’s all on them. If they don’t win, they’re down 3-0. They can talk all they want about last year and all that, [but] the pressure completely is on them right now.”
Tim Thomas has stood out in goal for Boston and has drawn comparisons to Dominik Hasek for his unconventional yet successful style of flopping all over the crease. “They found a way to stop pucks,” Recchi said of Hasek and Thomas. “It doesn’t matter how, they found a way. There’s a method to their madness, too. Timmy might look like he’s all over the place, but he really knows what he’s doing in there. He’s really controlled, and actually probably controlled in his mind in how he wants to play.”
At 43 years old, Recchi is in his 22nd NHL season. Asked about his ability to continue to produce as the oldest player in the league, Recchi said: “It’s all how you rest and prepare. I’ve got lots left in the tank. … Once playoffs start, I just basically play right now. I don’t do a whole lot of practicing. I just try and keep myself sharp as much as possible.”
Recchi said he does his best to play through pain. “Regardless of my age, I want to be counted on,” he said. “And I want the coach to know that I’m going to be there. And I want my teammates to know I’m going to be there for them all the time.”
|Tim Thomas on breaking ‘hero’ Dominik Hasek’s record: ‘That number is a team number’||04.09.11 at 5:04 pm ET|
Tim Thomas finally admitted after Saturday’s game that he had been thinking about the numbers, but with numbers like his, how could you blame him? Making his final start of the season Saturday, Thomas stopped 31 of 32 shots faced en route to breaking Dominik Hasek‘s single-season record for save percentage.
“To be completely honest, I had a hard time getting it off my mind over the past week or so,” Thomas said after the game. “Actually, I mentally prepared myself yesterday not to think about that and to play [so much], that I think I’m still in that mode a little bit. It hasn’t affected me. It hasn’t set in yet.”
It’s been a career year for the 36-year-old netminder, and to cap the regular season by surpassing Hasek’s mark from 1998-99 Vezina-winning campaign is only fitting. The two reckless goaltenders play similar styles, and Thomas remembers being inspired by Hasek.
Back when Hasek was racking up his .9366 mark, the best since the stat began being recorded in 1982-83, Thomas was spending his time both in Hamilton (AHL) and Finland. It was only a few years prior that the Michigan native was playing college hockey at Vermont.
“I certainly watched him when I was in college and was trying to pick things up off of him,” he said. “I didn’t try to emulate my style after him. I still have my own style. But I didn’t see some of the things that he does that I thought I could apply to my game and probably over the years it became part of my game too.
“I’ll be honest, Dominik Hasek was a hero of mine back when I was in college. A guy who played unconventional and had a ton of success. And even at college age I was already labeled as somebody with my style that I couldn’t do it at the next level. And so he was an inspiration. Actually, still seeing him, knowing that he’s playing, he won the Czech League, not this year, but the season before… I’m still impressed with what he’s been able to accomplish.”
Thomas knows his statistics like the back of his hand. He knows where he stands (upon being showed his .938155715074544 mark as a joke following the game, he responded by saying, “that’s what it went up to? Okay, because was it .9376 before. Yeah, well that’s great. That’s awesome.”) but he doesn’t feel he stands alone. He gave credit to his teammates, and more notably, captain Zdeno Chara.
“That number is a testament to the team in front of me and the way that they battled for me all year long, defensemen and forwards,” Thomas said. “It also reflects probably one of the best, if not the best defenseman in our world out there in front of me that I think should be getting a little bit more Norris talk than at least I’ve heard. Maybe he is, I don’t know. I don’t hear that much. He’s been stellar for us all year playing against the top players on every team, night in and night our and just doing a great job. So that number is the team number.”
|Record watch continues for Tim Thomas||04.08.11 at 1:12 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is trying not to think about the fact that he’s very close to setting the record for best save percentage in a single season.
So much for trying.
Seemingly with just one start left in the regular season, Thomas’ .938 save percentage this season would just barely edge Dominik Hasek‘s .937 mark from the 1998-99 season. Thomas’ save percentage didn’t move last game, when he allowed two goals on 32 shots.
“I know that [my next game] will be my 57th game, I think,” Thomas said. “The more games you play, the harder it is to impact it one way or the other. I plan playing well so that I don’t even have to worry about it, but hopefully I have a little bit of a buffer.”
Given that he holds the edge by .001%, it seems it will take a performance with just one, two or perhaps three goals allowed (depending on how many shots he faces) to finish ahead of Hasek’s mark. Told that he could potentially allow as many of three goals and not see his save percentage change, he replied, “I don’t know [if it would move it] either. I’d hope eight doesn’t move it.”
Claude Julien, meanwhile, is not willing to divulge whether he plans to use Thomas in the next two games at all.
“He might,” Julien said with a grin before adding, “is the record more important than the team?”
Thomas has led the NHL in both save percentage and GAA since his first start of the season back on Oct. 10 in Prague, a shutout against the Coyotes.
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