|Media roundup: National opinion starts to turn against Canucks||06.10.11 at 12:10 pm ET|
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.”
|Tim Thomas has isolated himself from the outside world||at 2:42 am ET|
All series long, Tim Thomas has ignored everything the Canucks have said about his style of play. After Game 2, he ignored critics who questioned how often he leaves his net. Interestingly enough, Thomas has also ignored fans and media who have lauded him throughout the playoffs.
When asked about his relationship with Boston and the love fans have for him, Thomas gave an interesting answer.
“I’ve been so focused on playing in the playoffs that I’m a little bit removed from what’s happening inside the city right now,” Thomas said.
That isn’t to say Thomas doesn’t care about Bruins fans or anything like that. He just doesn’t want anything interrupting his focus on the games.
“I felt that it was the best way to approach these playoffs and the Final,” Thomas said. “The best way to keep my feet on the ground is to kind of isolate myself. That’s what I’ve kind of done. I’ve stayed away from reading the media and watching the media and stuff like that.”
When asked if isolating himself like that has helped him get into a zone this series, Thomas said it certainly hasn’t hurt.
“I felt like that for a lot of this year, to be honest with you,” Thomas said. “I have felt good in the Final so far. I’m just going to keep doing the same thing that I’ve been doing to try to have the same success that I’ve had.”
Instead of soaking in the accolades and acclaim during what little free time he has, Thomas is soaking in the sun.
“Spend some time with my kids. Spend some time by the pool with this nice weather that we’ve had,” Thomas said. “That’s really about all we’ve had time for. It isn’t like we’ve had a ton of time at home.
“My little boy is trying to get me to play hockey. I’m like, ‘I’m a little bit too tired. Wait till this summer.’ ”
It’s safe to say Thomas’ son would be OK with the wait if dad can get two more wins.
|Video: Tim Thomas talks about his ‘Love Tap’ to Burrows||at 1:56 am ET|
After all, Nathan Horton has done it all this postseason for the Bruins – especially in the clutch. There was the overtime winner in Game 5 against Montreal. There was the overtime winner in Game 7 against Montreal.
And there was game-winner against Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
But Horton won’t be playing anymore this season. Peverley was moved up to the top line of David Krejci and Milan Lucic and responded with first and last goals of a 4-0 thumping of the Canucks to even the series at 2-2 going back to Vancouver.
Peverley wasn’t informed he was on the top line until just before the game.
“Just before warm-ups,” Peverley said when asked when he found out he was playing on the top line. “I had no idea who was going to go in there, if it was going to be me or [Michael Ryder]. Rydes took a lot of shifts with them too. [Tyler Seguin] was in there, too. Nothing is set in stone.
“I haven’t contributed as well as I think I could, offensively. Anytime you can help out, especially in this environment, you want to do so.”
Julien has experimented with different looks for his top line and came to the conclusion before Game 4 that Peverley was his choice.
“We had different looks,” Julien said. “We saw [Michael] Ryder go up there a few times as well when Rich was killing penalties. I said I’d use different players at that position. Pev’s got good speed. Their line had forechecks pretty well with Lucic on one side. We thought we’d keep that going. He still has pretty decent hands. We thought we would start with that. Michael is another guy who can fit on that line as well. Certainly Tyler [Seguin] was a consideration. His skill and speed level on that line at times also.”
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