|Peter Chiarelli happy he didn’t trade Tim Thomas||06.17.11 at 1:19 pm ET|
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was a popular guy last offseason, as he was brought up in trade rumors, some of which were falsely reported. Though the goalie was never going to Philadelphia in exchange for Simon Gagne, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday at TD Garden that he did have talks with other teams about Thomas, who was coming off hip surgery, had lost his starting job to Tuukka Rask and at the time had three years of a $5 million annual cap hit left on his deal.
“At the time there was kind of a mutually agreement between myself and Tim and Bill Zito, Tim’s agent, just to explore it and on the premise that Tim does not want to leave Boston,” Chiarelli said of trading Thomas. “And that’s really where it ended. It’s really where it ended. And there was some calls in that and they kept him in the loop at all times and he kept stressing he didn’t want to leave. I said ‘I know, let’s just look at this very briefly.’ And I know there are a lot of stories that flowed from it, but I can’t stress enough the fact that Tim never wanted to leave.
“I wouldn’t be doing my job if I at least didn’t look at some things, and I did. You go through those things, on a number of fronts on a number of fronts, on a number of players. You just field stuff, you look at them, you talk to other teams. And at the end of the day you make the decision yay or nay. And here it was nay. And it was an easy nay.”
Thomas ended up reclaiming the starting job, turning in a shutout in his first start of the season Oct. 10 in Prague against the Coyotes. He ended up allowing just three goals in six starts in October, and even after leveling out was still dominant throughout a season that will undoubtedly earn him his second Vezina trophy in Vegas next week. His .938 save percentage is the best for a goalie in a single season since the stat has been recorded.
Thomas was also named the Conn Smythe trophy winner after the Stanley Cup finals concluded. The award is given to the player most valuable to his team during the playoffs, and Thomas clearly proved that by allowing just eight goals in the seven-game series vs. the Canucks.
Thomas, 37, has two years with a $5 million cap hit left on his contract.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday at TD Garden that even before being severely concussed on a headshot from Vancouver’s Aaron Rome in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, first-line winger Nathan Horton was playing hurt for the Bruins. Horton, who had three game-winning goals in the postseason, two of which clinched series, had been playing with a separated shoulder, according to the GM.
“Well I know Nathan, before he was hurt with his concussion was actually hurt. He had a serious separated shoulder,” Chiarelli said, adding that Horton was “hurt significantly.”
Horton had eight goals and nine assists for 17 points in the postseason, his first experience in the playoffs.
Chiarelli added that he considered the B’s lucky for their lack of injuries suffered by players.
“I think we’ll only have one, maybe two, surgeries and we’ll get that out there when I get all the information,” Chiarelli said. “But we’ve had our guys dinged up, and all teams do, like Vancouver did and Tampa did and Philly did. Montreal did. I think what I can say about the injury front is we were fortunate from that perspective. And again when you look back at past winners, I remember the one year Tampa won I think they had like twenty man-games lost due to injury the whole year in the playoffs. So you have to have an element of luck. And on that front we certainly did.”
|With Tim Thomas rising to the occasion, one goal all Bruins needed||06.16.11 at 5:08 am ET|
VANCOUVER — Admit it, Bruins fans. After Patrice Bergeron took Brad Marchand‘s pass in front of the net with just over five minutes left in the first period and sent it past the right leg of Roberto Luongo, you started thinking about the Cup. Who needed three more goals?
In some sick, twisted way, that’s just what Bruins fans — supporters of the very team that had gone 39 years without winning the Stanley Cup — had been conditioned to believe. When Tim Thomas is the man in net, it’s only human to believe that one goal could be enough. Playing in the biggest game of his career, Thomas capped a historic season by shutting out the Canucks on their own ice and helping the Bruins to that elusive Cup.
“I was hoping someone else would score so I wouldn’t have to shut them out,” Thomas said with his signature grin when recalling Bergeron’s first goal. “I was happy going into the game, talked about not getting too high. If we do score, you can’t act like you’ve won the Stanley Cup because you will get an emotional high and it will end up showing on the ice.
“I was just trying to stay level. It was just one goal. It was a huge goal, the game-winning goal, but at that time, there was still a lot of game and a lot of work left to do.”
There was a lot of game left, but as the Canucks failed to convert on chance after chance (Alexandre Burrows really bit the bag when Zdeno Chara gift-wrapped a game-tying goal in the second period) and Thomas stoned them everywhere he could, it became clear that the Thomas’ season was destined to end just the way it began: with a reminder that when he’s on, there isn’t a match for him. He proved in these playoffs that he was this season’s best goaltender, and despite some high-scoring games against the Lightning, he never let up.
“No matter if we had slow starts, no matter if we didn’t play our best game, we always had a chance with Timmy, because Timmy is great,” Claude Julien, who gave Thomas the second start of the season in Prague, said after Wednesday’s win. “These finals, seven straight games and there wasn’t a bad game from Timmy, only exceptional ones.”
Thomas did fear that his play may have begun to waver in Game 6. Given that it was a contest in which he only allowed two goals (one of which was in garbage time), even when Thomas didn’t feel like his dominant self, he still got the results of a Vezina and Conn Smythe winner.
“Right off the opening face-off there was a guy that whacked it backhand from the outside blue line right off the opening face-off and I just lost it,” Thomas said of Game 6. “It was up in the air and I went into full panic mode in my mind. Then Vancouver put the pressure on and whizzed the puck around the crease four or five different times, shot just wide. I was on my heels there for a second, and that was the first time that I’d gotten nervous during the finals.
“So, yeah, I was scared. I won’t lie. I had nerves yesterday and today. I faked it as well as I could, and I faked my way all the way to the Stanley Cup.”
Thomas may have faked confidence, but when it comes to a miraculous season in which he led both the regular season and postseason in save percentage and GAA, there was no faking that production.
|Plain and simple: Bruins win the Stanley Cup||06.15.11 at 10:45 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Stanley Cup never entered TD Garden when the Canucks had a chance to win it on Monday. Now, it’s safe to say it will be in plain sight in Boston for quite some time.
The Bruins knocked off the Canucks, 4-0, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night to win the Cup for the first time since 1972 and take the trophy for the sixth time in franchise history.
It was only fitting that the longest tenured Bruin, Patrice Bergeron, sure-fire Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas and top rookie Brad Marchand stole the show in Vancouver in providing Boston with the most coveted trophy in all of sports.
Both Bergeron and Marchand had a pair of goals on the night, factoring for all of the Bruins’ tallies. Marchand’s second was an empty-netter with just over two minutes remaining.
Bergeron opened the scoring for the Bruins at 14:37 of first period, taking a pass from Marchand in the slot and sending the puck past a pair of Canucks skaters and just past Roberto Luongo‘s right leg.
The goal marked one bookend of a telling issue for the Bruins, as they did not record another shot on Luongo until 7:40 into the second period. Marchand had another superb opportunity in that span, though he saw his backhanded bid in front of Luongo go off the crossbar.
Despite the lack of work provided for Luongo, Marchand made his presence felt by beating the Vancouver netminder on a wraparound at 12:13. The rookie finished the postseason with 11 goals, and the B’s won all nine games in which he scored.
If it’s possible for a dagger to come in the second period, Bergeron provided it with a shorthanded goal on a breakaway late in the period. The play was reviewed to determine whether Bergeron punched the puck into the net, though the goal stood, and so too did the Bruins’ lead.
Thomas’ performance capped a remarkable series for the anticipated Vezina winner, as he allowed just eight goals over the entire series and set the record for most games in a Stanley Cup finals series. His shutout was his fourth of the postseason and second of the finals.
Though first period yielded the Bruins’ first goal, though it was not the most encouraging 20 minutes. The B’s managed only five shots on goal, with the fourth line of Gregory Campbell between Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille. The line’s tireless work and aggression stood out for the Bruins, with each member getting a shot on Luongo. By the end of the period, the line had contributed 60 percent of the team’s shots on goal.
An injury scare occurred for the Bruins early on as well, as a hit from Chris Higgins at the blue line in the first period left captain Zdeno Chara down on the ice for a few moments. Chara got up and returned to the bench without any further issues.
The Canucks came out of the gate much stronger than the Bruins, and had quality opportunities throughout the night despite the Bruins’ attempts to push the play to the side. Vancouver’s best opportunity came a little over nine minutes into the second, when Chara was attempting to send the puck up the boards in his own zone, only to see the puck deflect off of Henrik Sedin and in front of the net to Alexandre Burrows. The controversial Vancouver winger had an empty net to work with, but Chara made up for his own miscue by getting in position to save the puck for Thomas.
A few odds and ends from the game:
- Mark Recchi will now retire having won three Stanley Cup championships with three different teams, as he won it all with the Penguins in 1992 and Hurricanes in 2006.
- Dennis Seidenberg is now the second German to win the Stanley Cup, joining Uwe Krupp (1996).
- Both Henrik and Daniel Sedin were on the ice for the first three Bruins’ goals. Henrik was one of the players in front when Bergeron’s shot went past him on its way to Luongo on the first goal.
- The Canucks’ power play finished the Stanley Cup finals just 2-for-31.
- Tyler Seguin has gone from No. 2 overall pick to Stanley Cup champion in less than a year.
- Of the four major sports, the Patriots now have the longest Boston championship drought, as they las won the Super Bowl in February of 2005.
VANCOUVER — Join DJ Bean, Joey The Fish and many others from Rogers Arena for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. If the B’s win, they will hoist the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972.
VANCOUVER — Check out the below video of Bruins winger Nathan Horton, who has been out with a severe concussion, pouring Boston water onto the ice prior to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. The Bruins have gone 3-0 in Boston in the finals but have dropped all three games in Vancouver.
The video is not ours, as it is property of the NHL Network posted to YouTube by our friend Jeff Schools of the Maine Sports Network.
With a series-high six points apiece, Michael Ryder, Mark Recchi and David Krejci have lead the way offensively for Boston, and the Bruins will certainly be counting on their big guns with the title on the line. However, Stanley Cup Game 7 history has shown that big plays often come from unexpected places. Here’s just a pair of examples.
The last time the Stanley Cup finals saw a Game 7 was in 2009, when the Penguins shocked the Red Wings in Detroit for their first title in 17 years. Marc-Andre Fleury stole the show in net, but it wasn’t Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin providing the offense. Instead, Maxime Talbot, a grinder who never had more than 13 goals in a season, scored twice for the Penguins in the 2-1 victory.
Back in 2003, the Devils relied on former benchwarmer Michael Rupp for all three points in their 3-0 title-clinching win over the Ducks. The forward had been a healthy scratch since March, and didn’t hit the ice until Game 4 of the finals when Joe Nieuwendyk went down with an injury. Rupp had one assist through his first three games, but erupted for a goal and two assists in the decisive Game 7.
So who might play that role for the Bruins? Rookie Tyler Seguin has been relatively quiet with just one assist after breaking out in the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning, while Adam McQuaid, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton have stayed off the score sheet through the last six games.
A goal from Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara wouldn’t qualify as unlikely, although neither player has lit the lamp this series.
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