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Mike Milbury on D&C: ‘Don’t throw Tuukka in the 2-hole now’ 10.27.10 at 2:31 pm ET
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NESN hockey analyst Mike Milbury joined the Dale & Holley show Wednesday for his weekly hockey update and discussion of other hot topics regarding the Bruins. Milbury also talked about the latest debate, which has been the goaltender situation thus far in the season.

“It’s how to handle both of them, not just Tuukka [Rask],” Milbury said. “I don’t throw Tuukka in the 2-hole now just because [Tim] Thomas has had a good start. It looks like they’re going to battle for the top spot, and I think one of the things … is the schedule. I mean, they go overseas, they play two games, they get basically a full week off, they played three more and then they get four days off. There’s no rhythm for any of their players, not just the goaltenders.”

Following are highlights from the conversation. To hear the entire interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Can we assume the hype we saw last night in Boston won’t be matched, but will at least be evident as Phil Kessel returns to the Garden with the Maple Leafs tomorrow night?

Yeah, it’ll be fun, and the Maple Leafs are winning their share of games, so it should be competitive. They’re not trading on the back end. I mean, they’re supposed to be strong on the blue line, but they’ll, they cough it up regularly, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities to score. [Jean-Sebastien] Giguere‘s been backstopping the goals against, so it’s been OK, but they’re a vulnerable team, but at least they’re playing with some vinegar, and so it should be a pretty good matchup.

If each goaltender starts roughly 40 games, what’s the best way to handle two goaltenders, and Tuukka, who’s been shaky lately?

That’s a great question. I mean, it’s how to handle both of them, not just Tuukka. I don’t throw Tuukka in the 2-hole now just because Thomas has had a good start. It looks like they’re going to battle for the top spot, and I think one of the things, before I try to answer that question, that has conspired against Rask and Thomas is the schedule. I mean, they go overseas, they play two games, they get basically a full week off, they played three more and then they get four days off. There’s no rhythm for any of their players, not just the goaltenders.

But once they get into the need of their schedule, you know, I think there’s plenty of room to let a guy run two, three or even four games in a row. But if you really want to keep the party going in terms of competition, once you get into five and six games in a row for one guy, you’re asking much from the other guy to just bounce back and be excellent in his first start.
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Read More: Boston Bruins, Mike Milbury, Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask
Expect Tuukka Rask to start vs. Rangers, if you dare 10.23.10 at 12:49 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask was first off the ice during the Bruins’ morning skate Saturday, typically signifying that he will be getting the start in net when the B’s host the Rangers. Rask, however, was also thought to be the starter Thursday when he not only exited the ice first during his team’s morning workout, but insinuated that he would be receiving his first start between the pipes since the season opener on Oct. 9. ‘€œIt’€™s fun,’€ Rask said after the skate, Thursday. ‘€œIt’€™s been a while since [my] last start, so it should be great.’€

during his team’s morning workout, but insinuated that he would be receiving his first start between the pipes since the season opener on Oct. 9. ‘€œIt’€™s fun,’€ Rask said after the skate, Thursday. ‘€œIt’€™s been a while since [my] last start, so it should be great.’€

After Bruins’ win over the Capitals, Tim Thomas (who improved his record to 4-0 with a 0.75 goals against average), explained the situation, saying ‘€œI knew [I was going to start] from yesterday, and nobody asked me this morning.’€

Claude Julien didn’t note who would be between the pipes in his press conference following Saturday’s morning skate but did comment on how Rask has approached a long stretch in which the only ice time he’s seen has been in practice.

“When you don’t play much, these practices have to be games for you,” Julien said. “You’ve got to be sharp and on top of everything, and that’s how you stay sharp.”

Rask said the same thing when asked following the morning skate. One reporter sarcastically quipped that Rask seemed more ready on Saturday than he did Thursday. The goaltender didn’t offer much of a response, simply laughing and saying, “I don’t think so.”

Rask hasn’t started since the Oct. 9 season-opener in Prague, a game in which he faced 36 shots and allowed four goals in a 5-2 loss. Thomas, meanwhile has a .978 save percentage and 0.75 goals against average in four games played. Both statistics are tops among goalies who have started a game this season.

Read More: Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask,
Nathan Horton on D&H: ‘It’s like a family already’ 10.22.10 at 1:33 pm ET
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Bruins forward Nathan Horton checked in with the Dale & Holley show Friday to talk about the B’s fast start to the season. Horton has four goals and three assists in five games as the Bruins have gone 4-1-0.

To hear the interview, including Horton’s thoughts on David Krejci and Zdeno Chara, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Horton is enjoying his new team after spending his first six seasons with the Florida Panthers in the Miami area, where hockey obviously does not have the same importance. “This is what every player dreams about playing, just this type of atmosphere, and this city,” he said of Boston. “It’s not like you can imagine. Once you’re there, it’s pretty amazing.”

Horton said no matter where he is, his style remains the same. “You have to perform,” he said. “Even if you’re not putting up points or anything, you have to work hard and be a team guy and just play hard for your teammates. I think that’s what everyone’s trying to do. We like each other as a team. It’s like a family already. Everyone gets along. It’s an unbelievable feeling when you want to come to the rink every day, you’re going to win games, and I think everyone’s having fun.”

Regarding the B’s goaltending situation, Horton said Tuukka Rask has not shown any signs of disappointment despite serving as Tim Thomas‘ backup the last four games. “He’s been great,” Horton said. “He knows he’s a great goaltender. He’s going to get his shot. ‘€¦ He’s still having fun. Nobody can score on him in practice, too.”

Read More: Nathan Horton, Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask,
Why Tim Thomas is a happy man at 12:01 pm ET
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At the end of last year and in the playoffs, Tim Thomas wasn’t smiling that much. He was in pain from not playing and from bad hip that required labrum surgery in the offseason.

Fast forward five months and you have a spry 36-year-old goalie sliding easily from post to post, stopping 38-of-39 saves in a 4-1 win over the mighty Washington Capitals in the team’s first game of the season before a fired-up crowd at TD Garden. He is 4-0 to start the season, allowing only three goals while posting a 0.75 goals against and a .978 save percentage.

Why wouldn’t you be smiling?

“I felt good, I felt really good,” Thomas said. “My movement felt real good and maybe there was some rebounds, where there’€™s a different kind of on, where it just sticks to you and there’€™s no rebounds and stuff. I didn’€™t exactly have that tonight, so my D helped me out with the rebounds, but I had the movement and the speed. One of these days, you’€™ll have everything and one of these days I’€™ll play the puck the right way too.

“I think it’€™s been exceptional the last couple of weeks since, you know, I got back into the groove. I felt it coming in the early days of Czech and you know, it’€™s fun when you can move.”

Thomas even admitted he’s exceeded his own expectations in his recovery.

“For sure, and obviously, I couldn’€™t be happier with the way I’€™m feeling this far,” Thomas said. “You know, now I’€™ve just got to keep working hard and keep working in practice, and there’€™s ways that I can make it easier on myself. That will be my goal in practice.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, NHL, Tim Thomas
The funny story behind the ‘Tuukka Rask to start’ misconception 10.21.10 at 10:41 pm ET
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Tim Thomas sat by alone after the Bruins’ morning skate, unbothered by the media, yet crowded by scribes as they gathered to talk to the guy next to him.

It was Tuukka Rask fielding all the questions after the morning skate, as he left the ice first for the Bruins, something that is generally taken as a sign that he would be the starting netminder for that night’s game. Reporters asked him of his excitement for the game, and he gave some oddly worded answers, but the writers ran with it.

‘€œIt’€™s fun,’€ Rask said after the skate. ‘€œIt’€™s been a while since [my] last start, so it should be great.’€

It’s fun? Hey, a quote’s a quote, and when it’s the answer to the “how excited are you to start tonight?” question, it’s seemingly worth something. Little did the media know that they were talking to the wrong guy.

Thomas led the Bruins out onto the ice on Thursday night as those fooled — a group including this writer — immediately realized the charade. Rask never said he was starting. All he said was that “it’s fun” and that he hadn’t started in a few games.

A grinning Rask looked both proud and amused after the 4-1 victory, half-jokingly maintaining that he was “just answering” a question, which is absolutely true. No harm, no foul — except on the media’s part. Just laughs and a red-faced Big Bad Blogger. Rask told WEEI.com a day earlier that with regard to the “goalie controversy,” he understood that writers were going to write what they were going to write. Maybe this reporter should have kept that in mind.

Thomas, meanwhile, had some time to himself as reporters hounded Rask.

“I knew [I was going to start] from yesterday, and nobody asked me this morning,” Thomas said after the game, laughing as he quipped that he “wouldn’t have told you anyways.”

Rask didn’t lie to reporters on Thursday. He didn’t say he was starting. He simply took an opportunity to prove once and for all that he isn’t worried about who gets to start each game, and what an amusing statement it was.

Read More: Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask,
Tuukka Rask first off the ice for Bruins, will start Thursday at 11:29 am ET
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The Bruins held their morning skate at TD Garden as they prepare for their home opener Thursday night against the Capitals. Tuukka Rask was first off the ice, and confirmed in the locker room afterwards that he will be in net. The lines were the same as they’ve been, so here’s what to expect:

Milan LucicDavid KrejciNathan Horton

Jordan Caron – Patrice BergeronBlake Wheeler

Mark RecchiTyler SeguinMichael Ryder

Brad MarchandGregory CampbellShawn Thornton

Zdeno CharaJohnny Boychuk

Mark StuartDennis Seidenberg

Matt Hunwick – Andrew Ference

Tuukka Rask

Tim Thomas

—————-

It seems Claude Julien wanted to conceal the starting goalie’s identity, telling a reporter that “you’ll see at 7 o’clock.” If only Rask hadn’t let the cat out of the bag earlier.

“It’s fun,” Rask said after the skate. “It’s been a while since [my] last start, so it should be great.”

Read More: Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask, Tyler Seguin,
Brickley: No goalie controversy at 9:53 am ET
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NESN analyst Andy Brickley joined Dennis & Callahan to talk about the Bruins. One of the big questions surrounding the B’s is the issue of who is the No. 1 goaltender. Both Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas have staked their claims, but Thomas has been the hot goaltender in the early part of the season.

“I don’t like that word, controversy,” Brickley said. “It may be accurate, but I don’t like it. I just think it’s depth and competition to a position that’s critical to winning games.”

(To hear the whole interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page).

Brickley noted the Bruins teams he played on that featured Andy Moog and Reggie Lemelin. “It has a way of sorting itself out,” Brickley said. “Maybe it’s a 60-40 split, maybe it’s 50-50, maybe it’s 70-30 because one of them outperforms the other. What you try to do ideally, is when you get to the postseason, you establish your number one guy.”

Brickley has been impressed with rookie Tyler Seguin, especially the mental part of his game. “He’ll be learning from now until his final game, whether it’s regular season or playoffs,” Brickley said. “The beautiful thing about him is his [brain.] He’s got good hockey IQ. He’s picking up things right away.”

Brickley said the Europe trip was a good thing for the Bruins because it brought them closer together as a team. As to whether they can compete for a Stanley Cup, Brickley said, “They’re in the conversation. Anything can happen in the playoffs. You saw what Montreal did last year to the top two seeds in the East and the Bruins should have capitalized on that. I say, sure. Why not?”

Read More: Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask, Tyler Seguin,
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