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Claude Julien: Tim Thomas wouldn’t have won Stanley Cup without Bruins 11.07.13 at 12:46 pm ET
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Tim Thomas won’t play Thursday against the Bruins as he rehabs a lower-body injury, but Claude Julien kept the Thomas-Bruins story alive with a very honest take on Thomas’ legacy Thursday.

Responding to a question about the line of thinking that the Bruins wouldn’t have won the Stanley Cup in 2011 without Thomas, Julien corrected the record by noting that it’s important people understand that Thomas had an easier job than most goalies.

“They’re right, but Tim Thomas doesn’t win the Stanley Cup if our team doesn’t play as well it did in front of him,” Julien said. “This is an honest statement. Tim played well, but I think our team played just as well in front of him. You don’t win the Stanley Cup just with a goaltender. He won the Conn Smythe because he was very good, but I would like to hope that the statistics of your goaltenders can also reflect the team in front of you.

“We did a pretty good job in front of him for years, minimizing the goal-scoring chances and the quality of them. Let’s make sure we don’t take credit away from the rest of the team, too. He was a big part of it, and so were a lot of other guys, but at the same time, we won the Stanley Cup because we were a good team. That’s what I like to think, anyways.”

Thomas had a 2.00 goals-against average in the 2010-11 regular season with a then-NHL-record .938 save-percentage. That performance earned him his second Vezina Trophy, while his 1.98 GAA and .940 save-percentage helped the B’s to a Stanley Cup victory in which he was the recipient of the Conn Smythe.

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Tim Thomas puts blame on Bruins for leaking his plans 10.17.13 at 11:20 pm ET
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SUNRISE, Fla. — Tim Thomas finally spoke to the Boston media Thursday night, as he fielded questions about his time with and exit from the B’s after allowing three goals in a 3-2 Boston win at BB&T Center.

The biggest takeaway from Thomas was that he felt the Bruins forced his hand regarding his year-long disappearance from hockey last season. Thomas’ side of the story Thursday was that he told the Bruins he was just considering sitting out the season — saying that he felt he wouldn’t have to decide about his future until after the lockout — but that the Bruins leaked it, forcing him to commit to not playing last season.

“I told the Bruins, gave them a heads-up that I’m considering it, and it was supposed to be kept on the down-low, and it became public,” he said. “I didn’t want anything to become public. I was pretty sure there was a lockout coming up and I didn’t have to make a decision for quite a long period of time. I was kind of forced into a corner.”

Here is everything that Thomas had to say about his time in Boston:

On his lasting perception of his experience with the Bruins:

“There’s no one thing. It’s the whole thing together. It was an awesome time there. I don’t know what else to say. It’s a new chapter in my life, it’s a new chapter for them. I’m not giving a good answer because I can’t.”

On if he regrets how things ended:

“No. I made a decision based on what was best for me and my family. I felt that the team was in capable hands. I knew where Tuukka was at in his development, and I was obviously proven right. So I went and did something that was incredible for my life and for my family’s life, and I don’t regret it. That’s the most important thing.”

On when he decided to take a year off:

“I had obviously thought about it during the season, but I didn’t know for sure any time. I even trained all the way through the beginning of the season last year just in case it gets to the week before the season and all of a sudden the itch comes back.

“Actually, I told the Bruins, gave them a heads up that I’m considering it, and it was supposed to be kept on the down-low, and it became public. I didn’t want anything to become public. I was pretty sure there was a lockout coming up and I didn’t have to make a decision for quite a long period of time. I was kind of forced into a corner.”

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Adam McQuaid a healthy scratch vs. Panthers at 7:24 pm ET
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SUNRISE, Fla. — In a season in which Claude Julien swears no defenseman is safe from a healthy scratch, the first eye-opening one is upon us. Adam McQuaid will sit vs. the Panthers, as Matt Bartkowski will stay in the lineup for a third straight game, while Dougie Hamilton will make his return to the lineup after sitting out the last two.

The Bruins lineup, per warmups, is as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Smith – Bergeron – Eriksson
Marchand – Kelly – Caron
Paille – Campbell – Thornton

Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Seidenberg
Krug – Boychuk


Rask is obviously facing Tim Thomas as the two-time Vezina-winner and longtime Bruin will face his former team for the first time since leaving them prior to last season. Rask and Thomas, who got along well in their time as teammates, chatted with one another for about 30 seconds at center ice during warmup, as is documented by this horrible photo.

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Andy Brickley on M&M: Tim Thomas ‘looks healthy and ready to go’ at 3:51 pm ET
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NESN commentator Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to discuss the Bruins’ Thursday night game against the Panthers and former Boston goaltender Tim Thomas, as well as Jarome Iginla‘s scoring drought and Brad Marchand‘s demotion to the third line.

Thursday’s game will be the first time that the Bruins will face off against Thomas, who played in Boston for eight seasons and won two Vezina Trophies (2009, 2011) as the league’s best goaltender during his tenure with the team. Thomas is best remembered for his incredible play in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy after posting a .967 save percentage in the Stanley Cup finals against the Canucks.

After the Bruins were eliminated in the first round of the 2012 playoffs by the Capitals, Thomas announced that he was going to sit out the 2012-13 season. Still under contract with the Bruins during his hiatus, Thomas was traded to the Islanders on Feb. 7, 2013. The 39-year-old goalie then signed a contract with the Panthers on Sept. 26.

Brickey said that Thursday’s game certainly will be interesting, adding that the Bruins are motivated to hand their old teammate another loss on the young season.

“If anything you can [see] from the morning skate, [Thomas] looked good, he looked healthy, he looked pretty focused,” Brickley said. “He looks healthy and ready to go. Those numbers are a little inflated obviously with a little rust from taking the year off and then having to deal with an injury, but you know him and his competitiveness, he’ll be ready to go tonight.

“I don’t know if I would term [the Bruins’ mood towards Thomas] as animosity. The general sense that I get from being around the guys and certainly this morning is that this is a game that they want to win, but whatever personal reasons or whatever feelings they have for Tim Thomas, this is not a love-in. … This is a guy and a team that we want to beat, and want to beat real bad.”

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Panthers promise to show Red Sox vs. Tigers as Tim Thomas faces Bruins at 1:17 pm ET
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SUNRISE, Fla. — The Panthers will do anything to get people to the BB&T Center Thursday night. You don’t even need to be there for the hockey — they’ll gladly make it a sports bar if you’d rather catch the ALCS.

As was pointed out by Sarah Connors and PuckDaddy, this is the front page of the Panthers’ official website as of Thursday afternoon:


Notice the * Red Sox vs Tigers game to be played on TV’s throughout the arena [sic] part. The Panthers are reaaaaaaaally trying to sell some tickets with Thomas. They’re offering a three-game Tim Thomas pack, which is tickets to both home games against the Bruins, tickets to another Panthers game and a meet-and-greet with Thomas with $99.

Furthermore, the team announced on Twitter yesterday that Thomas, who was working his way back from a groin injury, would be starting. It’s highly unusual for a team to do that a day before a game, but the Panthers clearly want people at this game.

So if they’re going as far as they’ve already gone with this, why not sweeten the pot a little more for B’s fans attending the game? Get your Tim Thomas package here.

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David Krejci on Tim Thomas: ‘No one knew what was going on in his head’ at 12:59 pm ET
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SUNRISE, Fla. — Hours before the Bruins were set to take on Tim Thomas Thursday at BB&T Center, Bruins forward and alternate captain David Krejci said that the team lost hold of what was going on with the two-time Vezina winner in his final season with the team, which was followed by Thomas leaving the Bruins and sitting out a year.

“At the end of his career in Boston, we all know what happened with the White House and all those things, so after that it was kind of tough to read his mind,” Krejci said. “No one knew what was going on in his head. It was kind of surprising, his decision, but you’ve got to respect it. He had his reasons. It’s his life, so I don’t want to comment on his life.”

The incident to which Krejci referred was of course the team’s trip to the White House in January of 2012 in the annual visit between the reigning Stanley Cup champions and the President. The entire team was joined by former teammates such as Tomas Kaberle and Shane Hnidy, but Thomas — as was his right — elected to not go for political reasons.

The team pleaded with Thomas for him to go, and though teammates tried to downplay it at the time, Krejci admitted Thursday that there was confusion among the rest of the team and that Thomas never addressed it with teammates, nor they with him.

“Obviously we were really surprised that he didn’t show up for that event,” Krejci said. “It is what it is. We didn’t talk about it in the room. It was better for our team not to talk about it, so that’s what we decided to it. It was never brought up again.”

Former Bruin Tyler Seguin told the Florida Sun Sentinel this month that “at the time [Thomas left], there was a little bit of a bitter taste in our mouths,” but Krejci said that he didn’t feel that way about the 2011 Conn Smythe winner.

“Not me. Some players, maybe,” Krejci said. “If Tyler said that, that’s his opinion. Everybody’s allow to have their opinion. I just took it the way it was. I never brought it up, I never really talked about his business off the ice or his plans. I was fine with him.”

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Tim Thomas to play against Bruins Thursday 10.16.13 at 3:56 pm ET
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SUNRISE, Fla. — After missing the last four games with a groin injury, Tim Thomas will be back between the pipes and will face his former team Thursday when the Panthers host the Bruins at BB&T Center, the team announced Wednesday.

Thomas practiced Wednesday, but did not speak to the media. He was pulled from the Panthers’ 2-1 loss on Oct. 8 with the injury and returned to practice this week.

The injury came amidst a rather rocky start to his comeback season. After allowing one goal in a season-opening win over the Stars, Thomas allowed five and was pulled against the Blues. He had allowed two goals on five shots in the game in which he left due to injury.

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