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What happens goalies get into a ‘friendly fight’: Ask Tim Thomas and Carey Price 02.10.11 at 2:00 am ET
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It was almost like fighting your brother. You know deep down you don’t want to but as a matter of pride – and territory – you need to.

That was one way to look at the way Tim Thomas took off some 185 feet like hell on skates after fellow All-Star goalie Carey Price with 7:24 left in the second period Wednesday night.

So Tim, what happened?

“Which part? I mean…well he was jumping in,” Thomas said of Price’s actions when Brad Marchand drilled James Wisniewski on an icing touch-up. “I went off the blue line and he backed into his crease. And then so I’m like okay, and then he went in again and you just can’t let it be an outnumbered situation and so that’s what I was thinking when I went down there. He was more than willing to fight. And I had this big old plan. I was going to grab his right and I was going to throw lefts because I know he’s bigger and taller and has a reach on me.

“I thought I could do a better job throwing lefts in him and when I went to grab he got a good hold on my right arm and I got nothing. So then I was like, oh now what do I do? Because I know he’s got a big right cocked and ready to come so I tried to switch arms and get my right free and I grabbed him by the back of the shirt and when he threw the right I pulled on…I was trying to pull him off-balance and his shirt came off his head and then I fell and…actually as I was falling my left arm came free and but then it was over. He fought with the fighter’s manners as far as not hitting when you’re down.”

Fighter’s manners. There’s a new one. Fighter’s manners apparently included patting each other on the shouler and backside after it was over, after only 15 seconds of grabbing and tugging.

“We’re on opposing teams but we spent some time together at hockey camp a few summers ago and we were just at the All-Star game together,” Thomas said. “We’re on friendly terms. It was business. But once business is done, it’s done.”

“Well, I know Timmy pretty well,” Price added. “I think we were just out there play-fighting more than anything. Neither one of us really wanted to get hurt, but we are out there doing whatever we had to do, I guess.”

Price was surprised when he saw Thomas skating right for him but in the end, he didn’t think the wrestling match was going to amount to much and certainly not like the fight between the Islanders’ Rick DiPietro and Pittsburgh’s Brent Johnson that ended when Johnson knocked out DiPietro, breaking the orbital bone of his face with a punch.

“Yeah, we didn’t really know what is going on, but really there is not much to get thrown out about,” Price said. “The biggest thing is that we didn’t back down. Our guys stood behind each other. I think these are good games to play in. I think they are good character builders.”

What was also new to Thomas was the idea of fighting the opposing goalie.

“I’ve been playing a long time and it’s just never a situation where it’s worked out like that but tonight it did,” he said.

Bruins coach Claude Julien sounded a much more serious but still, understanding tone.

“It’s not something you like to see,” Julien said. “I don’t think, you never like to see your goaltenders get into those kinds of things but, certainly not sitting here and condemning him for doing that, it’s the heat of the game. They were both willing combatants and you live with that.”

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Claude Julien shows the desire he wishes he’d get from his team 12.20.10 at 11:19 pm ET
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Claude Julien had seen enough.

There was the back-to-back losses last week in Buffalo and Montreal. There was Saturday night when he watched his team get outshot on home ice, 38-10, after taking a 3-0 lead over Washington, barely holding on for a 3-2 win.

The Bruins were outshot by an amazing 26-2 in the third period and it was clear from Julien’s tone Saturday night that he felt his team was fortunate – if not lucky – to win. On Monday, there was no such luck. The Bruins fell behind 2-0 before having a breakdown on the power play in front of Tim Thomas, allowing a short-handed goal that all but cooked their goose in a 3-0 loss to the Ducks at TD Garden. Julien needed to let loose and let his team have the what-for.

“Our compete level needed to be better,” Julien began. “I’m disappointed. I’m really disappointed in our effort tonight and it’s not something we should be proud of and we should be willing to try to redeem ourselves next game and find some more emotion and more intensity in our game.”

That next game is the game before Christmas, Thursday night at home against Atlanta. In the meantime, there’ll be a pair of practices which should test the quality of the practice ice in Wilmington.

Julien said while it was good that his team put 45 shots on Jonas Hiller, he said his players “need to bury those chances.”

Julien even used a classic hockey expression to express his displeasure of the lack of desire from his team, particularly his forwards.

“It’s starts with the forecheck,” Julien said. “We had a lot of guys playing at the end of of their sticks. When you’re trying to move up five spots [in the standings], that’s unacceptable.”

The Bruins coach said he’s noticed a lack of emotion and energy in his team in the last week.

“Through the course of the season, certain things will creep into your game,” Julien said. “And that’s crept into our game and we’ve got to get rid of that. We have to get that emotion again, give yourself a chance to win. And we didn’t do that tonight.”

The Bruins entered the game with the same number of points (38) as their opponent but it wasn’t the Ducks they were chasing in the standings. With a win, the Bruins could have jumped from eight in the conference to tied for third, as they would have 40 points, matching the Canadiens.

“We had all the reasons in the world to want to compete tonight, an opportunity to move up five spots [in Eastern Conference] and we didn’t have enough guys going tonight, there’s no doubt there,” Julien said.

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Is Tuukka Rask snake-bitten? It sure looks that way 11.12.10 at 10:19 am ET
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It must be hard for Tuukka Rask right now.

His Bruins teammates got off to a red-hot start and his fellow netminder one stall over in the dressing room was off to one of the best starts in team history.

But after Thursday night’s 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Rask stands with an 0-4-1 record. How bad is it? He has more losses than games started.

When the Bruins came back to tie the Washington Capitals last Friday night, he came on in relief of Tim Thomas, only to allow the go-ahead goal and get charged with the loss. He has a 2.75 goals against average but his coach hasn’t lost faith because he believes Rask deserves a better fate.

“I don’t know if it’s at home, but I think it’s just overall,” Claude Julien said after Thursday’s latest setback. “It’s unfortunate, because so far, I don’t think we’ve played great in front of him. That first game in Prague, I think was our worst game ever so far this year. Tonight we weren’t a very good team in front of him. I thought he played well in St. Louis and took us into a shootout. But I don’t know that I would go after him and say that he’s not playing well. I think we need to help him out a little bit. When goalies find their groove, it’s because the team in front of him play maybe better than we have.”

He was respectable again on Thursday night, stopping 25-of-26 shots before a power play goal inside the first minute of the third period gave the Canadiens control.

Rask, who was the starter in the playoffs last year and figured to be this season after surgery to Tim Thomas, can’t seem to catch a break.

“Well, I think pros are pros and you can’t do everything for them,” Julien added. “That’s part of being a pro. You’ve got to be mentally strong, and you’ve got to fight through those things and the coach will always more or less always help them out, but he’s got to do his share to work through those things if confidence becomes an issue, but I don’t think he’s there.”

What does Rask think?

“That’s hockey, you know,” he said. “Try to do your best and save every puck and if you don’t get the bounce, you don’t, and if you do, just that’s great. Today there was more unlucky bounces again.”

Can’t blame him if it seems like he’s seen more than his fair share so far this season.

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Claude Julien: Bruins need to freshen up 11.11.10 at 11:56 pm ET
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Bruins head coach Claude Julien admitted that his team didn’t have fresh legs against Montreal, one night after scoring five goals in the third period of a 7-4 win over the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

Former Boston College and New Jersey Devils star Brian Gionta scored the go-ahead goal on the power play just 29 seconds into the third period as the Canadiens beat Tuukka Rask and the Bruins, 3-1, Thursday night at TD Garden. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara took an interference penalty in the final eight seconds of the second period to give the Canadiens the man-advantage to start the third.

On Wednesday in Pittsburgh, the Bruins trailed, 4-2, heading into the final period. This night, the Bruins were tied but had no jump in the final 20 minutes and it showed.

“Probably the first half of the first period, we were fine,” Julien said. “I think what happened tonight was totally different. We just, we ran out of legs. We just didn’t have the legs and progressively our game got worse. We looked more and more tired and got a fresh team waiting for you here at home in a divisional game.

“It’s a big game, they’re ready for us,” Julien said of the Canadiens. “I’m going to stand here and say our guys really wanted it bad enough, but when you don’t have your legs, the rest of your game kind of falls apart as well. A big part of your game looked bad. That’s what it is. You can try and push your players all you want, but if they don’t have the legs, they don’t have the legs. So that, to me, is what I saw happening tonight. You got a couple of tough penalties that we took, put us in trouble as well. And you know, sometimes when you’re tired, not only your legs, but your mind maybe doesn’t work as well.”

The Canadiens scored their first two goals on the power play and got an insurance tally from Scott Gomez midway through the third as the visitors peppered Rask with 41 shots on the night. Chara took a perfect pass from Milan Lucic and scored the only goal for the Bruins at 15:49 of the first to tie the game. It was his fourth of the season.

Rask, who was making his fourth start, remains winless this season with a record of 0-4-1. The win gave the Canadiens 21 points, four more than the second-place Bruins in the Northeast Division.

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Going camping: a look at the rivals 09.18.10 at 5:02 pm ET
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The Bruins have opened training camp with yesterday’s fitness testing and two on-ice sessions on Saturday. Tyler Seguin figures to be the center of attention around the Garden for the time being as he adjusts to playing with NHL veterans, but the Bruins aren’t the only ones to kick things off. Here’s a quick roundup of what the Northeast division rivals have been up to.

Sabres (100 points in 2009-10)

Perhaps the biggest change in how the 2010-11 Sabres will look will be in the most literal sense of the word. The team unveiled their new jerseys for the coming season, with the overall theme encapsulating a very classic feel.

While the Bruins got their festivities started a bit early with two rookie exhibitions at the Garden this past week and a used equipment sale on Saturday, the Sabres held “Puck Drop 2010″ to mark the opening of the team’s camp. The event consisted of a street hockey game, season ticket holders picking up their tickets for the coming season, and of course, fans getting their hands on the team’s new sweaters at .

Senators (94)

Things aren’t so joyful in Ottawa, where defenseman Filip Kuba is out after suffering a leg injury, the extent of which is being determined. Kuba played in 53 games last season and missed the final 11 of the regular season and the entire playoffs with a lower body injury.

Saturday’s injury reportedly came as a result of Kuba’s skate getting caught while on the ice for the team’s second session. The biggest injury news in the division likely remains Friday’s development regarding Marc Savard being held out by the reoccurrence of post-concussion symptoms.

Canadiens (88)

Pat Hickey at the Montreal Gazette takes a look at an impressive showing early on from Ryan Russell, who picked up two points in the team’s camp-opening scrimmage. The 23-year-old forward has spent the last three seasons in the AHL and entered camp a longshot to make the Habs.

Hickey notes other players who grabbed attention, including Maxim Lapierre, who with three goals in the playoffs last season scored nearly half as many postseason goals as he did in 76 regular season games.

Maple Leafs (74)

The Maple Leafs couldn’t wait until the exhibition games to drop the gloves, as Michael Liambas, who last October was suspended for the remainder of the OHL season after a dirty hit on an opposing defenseman, squared off with Jay Rosehill. According to this report, coach Ron Wilson said that Liambas, 21, is a “very long shot” to make the team.

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Thomas: My game was never really lost 03.02.10 at 1:20 pm ET
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Tim Thomas, fresh from his Olympic silver medal-winning experience in Vancouver, chimed in on Tuesday at TD Garden about those who said he’s not having the Vezina-type season he had last year with the Bruins as Boston finished first in the Eastern Conference.

“I don’t think my game was ever really lost, contrary to what a lot of the media in Boston has liked to focus on,” he said. “The numbers aren’t exactly the same as last year but not every year goes exactly the same and not every goalie wins the Vezina every year.”

Thomas, who is expected to serve as the back-up to Tuukka Rask for the Bruins tonight against the Canadiens, is 13-15-7 this season with a 2.52 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.

“I feel good about where [I'm] at. I felt in a good enough spot where I could’ve helped stepped in for USA and done the job if I needed to. Ryan Miller was exceptional, I’m not saying that. I think it was the right move. I’ll just be ready when called upon here.”

Thomas also compared the crowd at Canada Place on Sunday for the Gold Medal game to those for playoff games between the Bruins and Canadiens.

“It was exciting but the emotions of the crowd went from elation when they got up 2-0, to very nervous and tense when we tied it up with 24 seconds left and then all through overtime it was pretty tense until [Sydney] Crosby got that goal and then there was elation again,” Thomas said Tuesday at the Bruins morning skate.

“We had a good portion of USA fans there, too. It was a great atmosphere but as far as just crowds go, still nothing has matched the Montreal-Boston games in the playoffs, even the Olympics.”

Thomas also chimed in about those who said he’s not having the Vezina-type season he had last year with the Bruins as Boston finished first in the Eastern Conference.

“I don’t think my game was ever really lost, contrary to what a lot of the media in Boston has liked to focus on. The numbers aren’t exactly the same as last year but not every year goes exactly the same and not every goalie wins the Vezina every year.

“I feel good about where [I'm] at. I felt in a good enough spot where I could’ve helped stepped in for USA and done the job if I needed to. Ryan Miller was exceptional, I’m not saying that. I think it was the right move. I’ll just be ready when called upon here.”

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Bergy: ‘A perfect way to end it’ at 12:43 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron arrived back in Boston Monday evening and had barely gotten his legs back when he addressed the media Tuesday morning at TD Garden.

The gold medal winner on Team Canada came back to rejoin his Bruins teammates but did not skate. He was nursing a sore groin that was tweaked in Canada’s 3-2 OT win on Sunday afternoon in Vancouver.

That hardly took away from the experience for Bergeron.

“It was awesome,” he beamed with a tired but very satisfied smile. “It was a great experience. It was a lot of fun and obviously winning that gold medal means even more and it was really a special moment.”

As for the medal, he was very careful to keep it in his possession as he made his way across the continent to Boston on Monday.

“It’s here right now. I wanted to show it the guys and to the trainers and all that so I brought it with me. At the airport, it was on me at all times. I didn’t want to lose it.”

For Bergeron, the experience of the last two weeks is finally starting to settle in.

“Today a little bit more. Yesterday and after the game on Sunday it was more of a surreal kind of experience and it was hard to kind of sink of everything in. Obviously, it was a great two weeks but just a perfect way to end it.

“It was unlike anything I’ve seen before. Obviously, it was amazing, as soon as we won, people in the streets went crazy. We could see on TV that everywhere across Canada was going wild. It was awesome. It was great to see all of that.”

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