|‘Tuukka Time’ is finally coming to Boston||09.26.09 at 10:51 pm ET|
With a 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets still fresh in his mind, rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask still couldn’t hide his excitement at winning a spot on the Bruins regular season roster Saturday afternoon. The B’s announced that Dany Sabourin was being sent down to Providence prior to the game, and that meant a goalie competition — one that was fairly one-sided — was officially over.
One short season ago Rask had the best camp of any Bruins goaltender, but was busted down to the AHL for seasoning with veterans Thomas and Manny Fernandez on the roster. It was difficult for the 22-year-old to hide his frustration on his way down, but things couldn’t be more opposite this time around as Thomas’ understudy.
“[I’m] really excited,” said Rask. “This is something that I’ve been working toward. I feel for [Sabourin] because I was in the same spot last year. Obviously it’s fun to be here, and I’ve been hoping for it to happen. It’s good that it happened.
“It’s a little different feeling [this year]. You can imagine what it feels like when you have a good camp and then you’re sent down. But if that’s the way things are you’ve got to get over it.”
The young goalie clearly was battling with a fatigued team in front of him playing its sixth game in eight nights, but there were flashes of exactly what he’ll bring to the table this season on Saturday night. He’s bigger and plays a much more silent game between the pipes than his Vezina Trophy-winning partner, and he managed 31 saves against a Blue Jackets team piling on Grade A chances over the final 30 minutes of play.
“When you looked at the way [Tuukka] played in those first few exhibition games, it was clear he had improved a lot from what I saw last year,” said Claude Julien. “Personally from what I saw in the playoffs in Providence the year before, he had collapse a little bit. Especially in that last game.
“Mentally he’s become stronger and physically he’s become stronger and he’s in a lot more control. He’s got a lot more experience and he’s the right fit for us. Tonight, I think he played well. Didn’t have much help in front of him. We’re confident in him, and he’s going to play. We all know Timmy is not a goaltender that will play 70, or 75 games. Tuukka will need to come in and do the job, and we’ll confident in him.”
Rask was never more impressive than when he completely stone-walled Russian sniper Nikita Filatov skating in all alone for golden opportunity in the third period. There was no panic or quick movements, and Rask didn’t allow any holes for Filatov to pick at as he came speeding toward the cage. Rask won’t be required to play any more than 30-35 games in his first season backing up Thomas, but the 6-foot-2, 171-pounder is ready to fill whatever role comes his way.
“I’m really excited for Thursday and to get things going,” said Rask. “We’ve just got to get this train going on the right track. Just get a good start and never look back.
“The job I’m given, I’m going to try the best I can and help this team. You want to do your best and simply help the team. That’s all I can do. I feel like I’ve been this team for two weeks now, and it feels good.”
|B’s game roster set for preseason tilt vs. Canadiens||09.24.09 at 12:26 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — B’s practice has commenced on Thursday morning without the players headed to Montreal for the Bruins/Canadiens preseason game. The game-day players skipped their morning skate, and the game roster includes:
Forwards — Patrice Bergeron, Zach Hamill, Chuck Kobasew, Guillame Lefebvre, Jeff LoVecchio, Kirk McDonald, Brad Marchand, Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder, Vladimir Sobokta, Blake Wheeler and Trent Whitfield.
Goalies: Tim Thomas, Dany Sabourin.
–Bruins coach Claude Julien said that Thomas will play the entire game Thursday night against the Habs.
The rest of the B’s roster is currently out on the ice going through practice. We’ll have updates from Ristuccia Arena as they happen.
|Team USA invitees donate youth hockey equipment||08.18.09 at 6:48 pm ET|
As part of the Team USA Olympic hockey team orientation camp taking place in Woodridge, Ill., this week, each of the 34 National Hockey League players attending attending the camp this week will donate 15 sets of OneGoal starter equipment to a lucky youth hockey organization of their choice. The equipment was purchased by the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), through its Goals & Dreams fund, in cooperation with USA Hockey and OneGoal.
As part of the Tuesday afternoon announcement at the orientation camp, 35 children had the opportunity to use OneGoal equipment and play hockey for the first time with a group of Olympic hopeful heroes.
“We’d like to thank the NHLPA for its gift of equipment to our local programs,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. “Their generosity helps further opportunities for young children to try our great sport without financial duress.”
“NHLPA members are very proud to be involved with this initiative,” said Paul Kelly, NHLPA executive director. “The players’ Goals & Dreams program is focused on providing future generations with the opportunity to play the great game of hockey, so this is a fitting collaboration with OneGoal and USA Hockey.”
Listed below are the NHL players attending USA Hockey’s Men’s Olympic Orientation Camp and the programs they’ve designated to receive their 15 sets of OneGoal starter equipment — including Bruins players Phil Kessel and Tim Thomas. Both B’s players donated the hockey equipment to youth organizations from their hometown stomping grounds with Kessel donating to the Madison Capitals in Madison, Wi., and Thomas donating his share of hockey stuff to the Flint Icelanders of Flint, Mi.
Ron Hainsey, Jonathan Quick and Chris Drury all donated hockey equipment to younth hockey groups in Connecticute, and Massachusetts native and BU alum Ryan Whitney donated his allottment of equipment to South Boston Youth Hockey.
ABOUT THE NHLPA’S GOALS & DREAMS FUND
In 1999, the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) launched the Goals & Dreams fund as a way for the players to give something back to the game they love. The players’ program has donated full sets of hockey equipment to more than 13,000 economically disadvantaged children in 19 countries and assisted with upgrades and the building of hundreds of arenas world-wide. To date, Goals & Dreams has donated more than $17-million to grassroots hockey programs around the world making it the largest program of its kind. For more information on the NHLPA and the Goals & Dreams fund, visit www.nhlpa.com.
OneGoal is a nonprofit organization founded by the major hockey equipment manufacturers, with support from USA Hockey, the NHL, the NHLPA, Hockey Canada and the NHL Alumni Association. Its goal is to positively affect the growth of hockey, particularly at entry level ages (four-to-eight year-olds). OneGoal seeks to accomplish its goals through media campaigns that provide visibility and key messaging for hockey and also through its OneGoal starter equipment program.
Each set of starter equipment includes a helmet with face shield, chest protector, elbow pads, gloves, pants and shin pads. Youth organizations and rinks are able to purchase the OneGoal starter equipment sets at a minimal cost and lend them to prospective entry level players to significantly reduce the cost to try the sport. For more information, visit OneGoal.com.
Organizations Designated To Receive OneGoal Equipment
David Backes, Spring Lake Park Youth Hockey, Blaine, Minn.
David Booth, Hockey Ministries International, Montreal, Que.
Dustin Brown, Ithaca Youth Hockey Association, Ithaca, N.Y.
Dustin Byfuglien, Roseau Youth Hockey, Roseau, Minn.
Ryan Callahan, Rochester Youth Hockey, Rochester, N.Y.
Chris Drury, Wonderland Wizards, Orange, Conn.
Tom Gilbert, Bloomington Jefferson Youth Hockey, Bloomington, Minn.
Tim Gleason, Honeybaked, Farmington Hills, Mich.
Scott Gomez, Scott Gomez Foundation, Anchorage, Alaska
Ron Hainsey, Eastern Connecticut Hockey Organization, Manchester, Conn.
Erik Johnson, Bloomington Athletic Hockey Association, Bloomington, Minn.
Jack Johnson, Ann Arbor Amateur Hockey Association, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Patrick Kane, Cazenovia Park Hockey Association, Buffalo, N.Y.
Ryan Kesler, Livonia Hockey Association, Livonia, Mich.
Phil Kessel, Madison Capitals, Madison, Wis.
Mike Komisarek, Suffolk P.A.L., Hauppauge, N.Y.
Jamie Langenbrunner, Cloquet Hockey Association, Cloquet, Minn.
Ryan Malone, TBA, TBA
Paul Martin, Elk River Youth Hockey Association, Elk River, Minn.
Ryan Miller, Great Lansing Amateur Hockey Association, Lansing, Mich.
Mike Modano, Junior Stars Hockey Association, Dallas, Texas
Kyle Okposo, Highland Central Association, St. Paul, Minn.
Brooks Orpik, Hockey in the Hood, Sewickley, Pa.
T.J. Oshie, Warroad Youth Hockey, Warroad, Minn.
Zach Parise, Highland Central Association, St. Paul, Minn.
Joe Pavelski, Portage County Youth On Ice, Stevens Point, Wis.
Jonathan Quick, Hamden Youth Hockey, Hamden, Conn.
Brian Rafalski, Wyandotte Youth Hockey, Wyandotte, Mich.
Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Junior Ducks, Anaheim, Calif.
Rob Scuderi, Freeport Arrows, Bellmore, N.Y.
Paul Stastny, Chesterfield Hockey Association, Chesterfield, Mo.
Ryan Suter, Madison Capitals, Madison, Wis.
Tim Thomas, Flint Icelanders, Flint, Mich.
Ryan Whitney, South Boston Youth Hockey, South Boston, Mass.
|Thomas and Kessel commence Team USA tryouts||at 11:59 am ET|
Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Tim Thomas and unsigned sniper Phil Kessel are the only two Bruins representatives attending Team USA Orientation Camp this week at the Seven Bridges Arena in Woodridge, Il. — and both players were among the 34 skaters invited to appear Monday for workouts and team-bonding exercises leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Kessel, a restricted free agent without arbitration rights, is mired in a contract stalemate with the B’s that clearly isn’t headed for a quick ending. The increasingly rare chance that another team swoops in with a $4-5 million per year offer sheet for Kessel could change the tenor of negotiations, or the 21-year-old winger could drop all contractual demands and agree to something in the neighborhood of David Krejci money (three years for $3.75 per year).
Unless either of those things happen — and both seem to have long shot chances of happening — then it could be an address-changing trade that ends up shifting some movement from one or both sides, as Kessel clearly wants his contract situation resolved before the NHL regular season begins in October.
In some interesting comments made to the USA Today’s Kevin Allen on Monday, Kessel said that he fully expects to be signed — one way or the other — by the time the regular season begins on Oct. 1. There had been some speculation that last season’s 36-goal scorer would be A) out until December with rotator cuff/labrum surgery on his right shoulder and B) could hold out until Dec. 1 before finalizing his contract.
Kessel put that notion to bed on Monday, and said that he intends to be ready for game-action by early-to-mid November. According to the player, he already has 95 percent strength in his shoulder. and should be ready to skate some time in September.
The young B’s winger also admitted that the two sides are in something of a “stalemate”, but that some kind of resolution will be made when the NHL season commences on Oct. 1. It’s been a very civilized negotiation between agent Wade Arnott and B’s GM Peter Chiarelli thus far, and Chiarelli has already made statements that Kessel will be returning to Boston next season barring an outlandish offer sheet from another NHL team. To this date, there hasn’t been one offer sheet given to an RFA player this summer.
“It’s at a stalemate and I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Kessel said to the USA Today. “‘¦I think it could go either way at this point.”
Is there a date that Kessel expects to sign by?
“There is no date,” Kessel said to the USA Today. “Either way it will get done before the season for sure.”
Fellow 21-year-old young gun Anze Kopitar struck it rich with the LA Kings for a multi-year deal that’s going to pay him $6.8 million per season for the next seven years, but a better comp for Kessel continues to be Florida Panthers forward David Booth. Booth has similar service time and stats to Kessel, and inked a market-setting six-year, $25.5 million deal this summer as a restricted free agent.
The cap hit amounts to $4.25 million per season for the Panthers, and that is exactly what just about every hockey observer outside the negotiations felt that the young B’s superstar would eventually settle in for. It remains to be seen when that actually happens, but it’s safe to say it’ll be in September if Kessel has his druthers.
|Thomas and Kessel invited to Team USA camp||06.30.09 at 12:50 pm ET|
A pair of Boston Bruins players have received the worthy honor of potentially playing for a Gold Medal for the Red, White and Blue of the United States. It just remains to be seen if both players remain members of the Bruins by the time the Olympics actually get here in February.
USA Hockey announced on Tuesday that Bruins goalie Tim Thomas and forward Phil Kessel have been invited to the Men’s Olympic Orientation Camp from August 17-19, 2009 at the Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge, Illinois (6690 S Route 53 Woodridge, IL 60517). They were among 34 American players that made the first cut en route to filling out a roster for the United States Men’s Olympic Hockey Team.
“I think it’s obviously a great honor for both of them,” said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. “With respect to Tim, he’s going to challenge for No. 1 and I would expect that given the season that he had. With Phil it shows that he’s really in their plans because he’ll be injured while going into this camp and they feel very strongly about including in all these orientation things because he’s in their plans.
“It’s exciting for both, and I think we’re going to have more of our players being part of these kind of camps in order to prepare (for the Olympics). I’m sure you’re going to see some more of our players that are going to come up for their respective national teams.”
The camp is designed to assist in the preparation of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team that will compete at the XXI Olympic Winter Games to be held from Feb. 12-28, 2010, in Vancouver, B.C. Of the 34 invites to the Orientation Camp, 23 players (20 skaters and three goaltenders) will be chosen to represent Team USA at the 2010 Olympics. With Kessel expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season following labrum and rotator cuff/shoulder surgery, the winger won’t be taking part in any on-ice drills during the August camp.
Tim Thomas set a career high with 36 wins this year and was the winner of the 2009 Vezina Troph while finishing the 2008-2009 regular season as the league leader in Goals Against Average (2.10) and Save Percentage
(.933), and played in his second straight NHL All-Star Game.
Thomas appeared in all 11 postseason games for the Bruins, finishing with the playoff’s best Goals Against Average (1.85) and second best Save Percentage (.935).
Phil Kessel established career highs in goals, assists and points this year after tallying a team-best 36 goals, 24 assists and 60 points in 70 games. Kessel become the club’s first 30-goal scorer since 2005-2006 and compiled the longest point streak in the NHL this season after recording a point in 18 consecutive games from November 13-December 21,
2008 (14-14=28 totals during this span). Kessel appeared in all 11 postseason games for the Bruins and contributed six goals and five assists.
Defensemen: Tom Gilbert, Tim Gleason, Ron Hainsey, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Mike Komisarek, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, Brian Rafalski, Rob Scuderi, Ryan Suter, Ryan Whitney
Forwards: David Backes, David Booth, Dustin Brown, Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, Jamie Langenbrunner, Ryan Malone, Mike Modano, Kyle Okposo, T.J. Oshie, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Bobby Ryan, Paul Stastny.
|Seidenberg ties it up at 1-1 in the first period||05.14.09 at 8:12 pm ET|
19:40: Quick shot from Joni Pitkanen at the left point on Tim Thomas. Glove save with some pushing and shoving afterward. The crowd is appropriately crazy tonight.
17:05: Solid defense by Aaron Ward during a potential one-on-one between him and Eric Staal coming down the left side. Ward didn’t back off and Staal’s shot bounced off his right skate and away from danger.
14:57: Tuomo Ruutu with another tester from well beyond the left faceoff dot with Ryan Bayda bearing down on Tim Thomas. Tank made the save cleanly before Bayda could get to the cage. The Canes are pushing a constant flow of bodies at the Boston net in the early going. The early flow of this game has a Carolina advantage to it.
12:18: This place just went nut. Byron Bitz with his first career playoff goal. A Dennis Wideman blast from the high slot missed wide left of the net and then caromed back out in front. Krejci missed the puck as he went for it at the left post, but Bitz picked the puck clean out of the traffic and fired the shot into the open net. Bitz followed the goal with a Stanley Cup primal roar that any Bruin would be proud of.
9:25: Scott Walker yacking at Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi or anybody else that will listen following a Tim Thomas cover-up for a whistle. He’s determined to play the bad guy in the series, but the Bruins aren’t listening — or more importantly, responding — at this point.
BTW, there was definitely a Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake sighting in the TD Banknorth Garden press box tonight. He’s wearing his trademark white Underarmor T-Shirt and his arms are roughly the size of Kansas from end-to-end.
7:58: Hooking penalty on P.J. Axelsson for going after Eric Staal as he crashed into Tim Thomas. No call on Staal as he came crashing toward threand a hook for P.J.
6:01: The Canes tie it up with score in front of the net from the Ultimate Warrior, Rod Brind’Amour. With one second left on the Carolina PP, Dennis Seidenberg wound up from the high slot and blasted away with Brind’Amour redirecting the puck in front of the net. Edit: Check that, Seidenberg got credit for the goal for his shot up top, but a good screen job from Brind’Amour in front.
3:59: Milan Lucic just missed on the tip of a Dennis Wideman blast from the right point. The puck trickled just to the left of the net after Big Looch camped out in front.
3:08: Two minutes in the sin bin for Tuomo Ruutu for slashing. First PP for Boston.
1:45: Best bid of a disjointed PP came when Phil Kessel worked the puck in from the point to the right faceoff circle and fired a shot at Cam Ward. Ward made the initial stop, and Chuck Kobasew had two good whacks at it in front of the net. The second shot hit Ward’s pads and then bounced right out past the left post. Nobody there to blast it home, though.
00:00: A hit on Marc Savard there at the end that looked as if it hobbled the center a little bit. He bent over and then limped a bit as he skated off the ice.
The Bruins and Hurricanes are tied at a a 1-1 score after one full period in the decisive Game 7 at the TD Banknorth Garden.
|Recchi, Montador have Bruins up 2-0 after first period||05.12.09 at 7:12 pm ET|
17:59: Bruins score that immediately silences that crowd. Bergeron again rushed the puck up the right side of the all by himself, cut through the Hurricanes defense and then dished to a wide open Mark Recchi as Anton Babchuk took out Cam Ward at the net and knocked the post off the moorings. It looked liked the puck got through before the post came unhinged, but it’s under review.
Call on the ice stands. It’s a goal.
17:33: A bad Carolina turnever in their own end leads to another Michael Ryder snap shot from the slot. The Canes look sloppy in this one early.
14:56: Wow. Great behind the back tip pass from David Krejci in the high slot to Steve Montador at the right left point, and Montador beats Ward up high with a slap shot blast. The Carolina crowd’s silence is deafening.
12:06: Big pad save by Thomas on a Tim Gleason bomb from the right point. The Canes look as if everything is coming from the outside in the early going.
Just like I wrote in this piece, it looks like the Bruins players have made a little bit of an adjustment and are sometimes just lugging the puck all the way up the ice with speed rather than passing around too much and letting the forecheck hem them in their own zone.
8:14: Phil Kessel fired a shot from the slot and then just couldn’t corral the rebound in a prime shooting spot in front of the net.
7:40: Best save of the night for Thomas as he was falling forward on a doorstep bid by Eric Staal and basically leapt forward at the puck to block the shot in tight.
5:55: Great job by Patrice Bergeron of forechecking and stealing a puck out of mid-air and then battling with Chad LaRose for a potential one-on-one bid with Ward. Bergeron couldn’t quite get past LaRose, though, and just pushed a diving forehand bid to the right of the goal.
The B’s are putting heavy pressure on Ward in this period from very close to the night.
5:04: Good job by Thomas of blocking a Matt Cullen shot and then directing it toward the side of the net.
4:05: That was Thomas’ best save of the net. Sergei Samsonov rifled a shot from the left faceoff circle and Thomas kicked it to Jussi Jokinen in the slot. Jokinen fired but Thomas able to deflect the shot and avert a really messy situation in close to the B’s cage.
00:30.1: The Hurricanes have really started turning up the pressure, and the Staal, Cole, Whitney line kept the puck in the B’s zone for at least a minute with some really rapid fire puck movement. The possession resulted in Zdeno Chara blasting Eric Staal behind the net and holding him down behind the cage while his teammates tried to get the puck out of the zone. First PP for the Canes.
Big for the B’s to hold off the Canes and sustain their two-goal lead after getting hit with a pretty good shot by Carolina there at the end.
The Bruins have taken a 2-0 lead after one full period of play during Game 6 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.