|Tim Thomas: ‘I didn’t realize it was my job to pump [Roberto Luongo's] tires’||06.12.11 at 1:11 pm ET|
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas finally got in on the fun Sunday, providing the media with the closest thing he’ll give to partcipation in a war of of words with Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo. Thomas has allowed a minuscule six goals in five games of the Stanley Cup finals, yet its been Luongo’s opinion of his style that has made the most headlines. After saying he would have saved the Maxim Lapierre shot that won the game for the Canucks in Game 5, Luongo noted Saturday that he has praised Thomas without hearing anything back.
Said Luongo Saturday: “I’ve been pumping his tires ever since the series started. I haven’t heard any one nice thing he’s had to say about me, so that’s the way it is.”
Thomas responded to Luongo’s comments Sunday after the team’s practice, saying that he as a goaltender respects other netminders, though he had some fun with the way he went about it.
“I guess I didn’t realize it was my job to pump his tires,” Thomas said with a grin. “I guess I have to apologize for that.
“I still think I’m the goaltender on the union side and I stick with all the other goalies. In being one and knowing what it takes to perform at this level and with this amount of pressure, I understand to a certain extent what every other goaltender is going through.”
|Maxim Lapierre admits he got a ‘little lucky’||06.10.11 at 11:25 pm ET|
The game-winning goal off the stick of Maxim Lapierre was a “lucky” break by the admission of the man who scored it. Lapierre was positioned to the right of Tim Thomas when he took a pass off the end boards and flipped it off the backside of Thomas. The puck trickled off of Thomas’ pads and dropped over the goal line, providing the margin of victory in Vancouver’s 1-0 win in Game 5.
“I was actually going backdoor for a tip,” Lapierre told Versus in a postgame interview, referring to a pass he was expecting from Kevin Bieksa in front of Thomas. “That was a good play. We got a little lucky but we’ll take it.”
“The puck got across the line by a couple of inches and that was the difference,” added Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault in his postgame press conference.
“I don’t think that was necessarily the play they were going for, from where the guy shot it to where it came out, he was pretty wide,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Bieksa’s pass from the right . “Normally, those pucks from where he shot it don’t come out there. Nonetheless, you make your own breaks. I think tonight – as a whole – they were the better team. I think we have to acknowledge that because if we don’t, we’re not going to be a better team the next game.”
Roberto Luongo – who stopped all 31 shots in the shutout – had his own take when asked if making saves like the one that got by Thomas are difficult.
“It’s not hard if you’re playing in the paint,” Luongo said, referring to Thomas’ aggressive approach. “It’s an easy save for me but if you’re wandering out and aggressive like he does, that’s going to happen.”
As for coming out stronger and outhitting the Bruins, 47-27, Lapierre said the Canucks were more in control.
“We played with a little more confidence and were more patient,” Lapierre said on his postgame TV interview. “It was good for us.”
Game 6 is now a must-win for the Bruins back in Boston Monday night. If the Bruins win, Game 7 is back in Vancouver Wednesday night.
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.”
With the Stanley Cup finals down to a best-of-three series, two countries’ worth of media can’t help but comment on the series.
The Toronto Star’s Dan Robson hasn’t enjoyed the pettiness and immaturity by both the Canucks and the Bruins, calling them “fifth-grade versions of themselves.”
Wrote Robson: “The Bruins and Canucks have gone classless-tit for gutless-tat all series long.”
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun, meanwhile, has focused on the games themselves, seeing Vancouver’s road losses to the Bruins by a combined score of 12-1 reflect numerous issues with the Canucks, ranging from poor goalie play to a lack of team confidence.
“They head home with their confidence shaken, their goalie perhaps rattled and their passionate fan base unquestionably believing 40 years of misery will continue with one more giant heartbreak headed their way,” LeBrun wrote Thursday.
Gord McIntyre, a writer for Vancouver-based newspaper the Province, wrote Friday that the media and much of the NHL wants to see the Canucks lose, that they have become the villains of the NHL. His article cited such examples as Versus commentator Mike Milbury calling Daniel and Henrik Sedin “Thelma and Louise,” a Chicago reporter seeing a picture of Cher and saying “Luongo,” and Blackhawks center Dave Bolland saying the team played “sort of like a little girl.”
Helene Elliot of the Chicago Tribune wrote Thursday that the Bruins’ success is based on Tim Thomas’ success, and Thomas’ success is based on his “feistiness.” Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.com wrote a similar article Thursday, but added that the Canucks don’t respect Thomas’ aggression and talent. MacMullan quoted Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa as calling Thomas “leaky,” and wrote that, according to the Canucks, simply shooting more will expose Thomas’ weaknesses.
|Just like the Canucks, Tim Thomas is thinking about Tim Thomas||06.09.11 at 7:59 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Canucks have had a series-long obsession with Tim Thomas. It’s all they talk about with the media, and given that he’s held them to one goal over the last two games, probably all they think about.
As a result, a funny moment came from Thursday’s media availability at Rogers Arena, when Thomas tried to deflect the notion by saying he was just focusing on himself. Of course, by doing so, he admitted that he shares the Canucks’ fixation, causing quite a bit of laughter from the Vezina favorite and those on hand.
“[What they think about] doesn’t really matter,” Thomas said. “What’s going to matter is the results that you have on the ice moving forward. So I’m going to worry about Tim Thomas and not worry about anything else.”
Thomas said he doesn’t like to think about the idea that he might have any mental advantage over the Canucks, who have complained about his style of play and have used various tactics to throw him off physically.
“That’s something that I’d rather just ignore and worry and focus on just doing the best that I can on myself,” Thomas said. “It’s not something I put a lot of thought into.”
Frustrations have seemed to boil over between Vancouver forwards and Thomas. The 37-year-old netminder crushed Henrik Sedin in the crease in Game 3 and slashed Alexandre Burrows after the winger took multiple hacks at the top of his stick in Wednesday’s Game 4 Bruins’ victory.
|GQ’s Jonah Keri: ‘No one wants’ Bruins to win||at 4:31 pm ET|
In a piece written for GQ.com entitled “The Boston Bruins vs. The World,” noted sportswriter Jonah Keri has a simple but sharp message for the Bruins and their fans.
After spending a few paragraphs discussing the “We want the Cup” chant that has filled the TD Garden and discussing how every other NHL team wants a Stanley Cup, Keri writes, “But you, Bruins fans? No one wants you to have it.”
He notes that there are plenty of good reasons to root for the B’s. Among them are Tim Thomas‘s long journey to stardom, Alexandre Burrows‘s bite on Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton‘s season-ending concussion. But Keri still adds “You know what? We’re still not rooting for you.”
His main reasoning behind this thesis is that Boston fans complain of “The Drought,” the 39-year period since the B’s have lost won the Stanley Cup, when the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics have all took home trophies in the last decade. Since Keri claims that all Bruins fans also root for these other squads, there should be no remorse for those who don the black and gold.
“You sound like the douchebag who [expletive] that, after the three-bedroom in Tribeca, the place in the Hamptons, the kids’ boarding school, the annual trips to Paris and Aruba, the four cars, and two alimonies, you’ve barely got enough left for that third bottle of Dom at Per Se,” Keri writes before concluding, “We feel for the 12 Bruins fans who’ve shunned the city’s other franchises and waited nearly 40 years for their shot. The rest of you? Prepare yourselves for heartbreak. Until the day after Vancouver wins the Cup, when you can watch your first-place Red Sox try to break Boston’s Three-Year Curse.”
Former Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning following the Bruins 4-0 win in Game 4 to discuss the game and the remainder of the series with the Canucks. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“I saw the Bruins come out with a different will in Game 3, from the opening shift when [Mark] Recchi went out ran over two guys, they were trying to be so much more physical than they were in Vancouver,” Bourque said. “I see a different will from the Bruins, and obviously that hit on [Nathan] Horton fueled things even more for the guys to rally around and make them more determined and hungry and want to win it for him. They just kept coming and coming to Vancouver in terms of physical play … As both games wore on you could see the Bruins were wearing down Vancouver and how they were playing physically and it was fun to watch.”
Bourque discussed how goaltending has been such a major difference in the series.
“As you look at both teams their backbone is their goaltending and they rely on their goaltending so much, and Tim Thomas has been so much better than [Roberto] Luongo. I think that is wearing on Vancouver, as they are saying, ‘what are we going to get tonight from this guy?’ He’s been struggling.”
Although Luongo has in fact struggled, Bourque does not expect a Cancucks goalie change for Game 5.
“I think you have to go with the guy that has gotten you there and is a Vezina trophy finalist, with Thomas, and you hope he gets back home and feels comfortable and plays his game,” he said. “I think you can’t go away from him, his track record in regular season is so strong … he’s got to the finals so you have to ride him out.”
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