|Expect Friday morning’s lines on Saturday||09.24.10 at 6:19 pm ET|
Those excited to finally hear that Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton skated on a line in Friday morning’s practice are in luck. Same goes for those gushing about the PPF (past, present, future — stick tap to ESPNBoston’s Joe MacDonald on the name) line consisting of 42 year old Mark Recchi and 18 year old Tyler Seguin with Patrice Bergeron, 25, in the middle. Claude Julien indicated that the lines from the earlier of the team’s two sessions will likely be the same ones that take the ice Saturday night at the Garden against the Panthers.
“Our lineups should be pretty close to what you saw this morning in the first group,” Julien said Friday. “So if you took note of that, that’s pretty close. I always say that because tomorrow morning something may happen or we might make a change here or there. But what you saw in the first group is, if everything goes according to how it should, it should be pretty close team for tomorrow.”
Chiarelli also said that Tim Thomas, who practiced on Friday, will not be in net for the Bruins. By process of elimination, expect Tuukka Rask, the only other goalie in the first group Friday, to get the start.
|Julien: Thomas will practice, travel||09.21.10 at 3:51 pm ET|
With Tim Thomas a notable absence from Tuesday’s practices, it is only natural to wonder just how much his workload will be cutdown as far as the short-term future goes. Thomas is recovering from offseason hip surgery, and after making appearances at captain’s practice earlier this month was held out of Monday’s intrasquad scrimmage.
Claude Julien, who has said that the team is taking precaution with Thomas in the preseason, said Tuesday that keeping the 2008-09 Vezina winner out of practice was simply “part of the process of giving him a little bit of rest in between those hard workouts.”
Julien noted that Thomas is expected to practice Wednesday and travel with the team for its preseason matchups with the Canadiens and Panthers. He did indicate, however that Saturday’s game against the Panthers at the TD Garden might be the soonest that Thomas, 36, sees preseason game action.
Regarding Wednesday and Thursday’s games, Julien said that the team’s intention is to go with a separate squad for each game, with no players participating in both matchups.
|Tim Thomas missing from Tuesday’s practice||at 1:26 pm ET|
One day after the Bruins held goaltender Tim Thomas out of the team’s black/white scrimmage, the 2008-09 Vezina winner was once again missing when Group A took the ice for Tuesday’s practice.
Thomas is recovering from hip surgery and participated in some of the team’s captain’s practices earlier in the month in an effort to hopefully be at 100 percent by the time the Bruins begin their season next month in Prague. Even so, the team sees no use in rushing the 36-year-old back.
“Something that we’ve said right from the get-go, [is that] we’d monitor [him],” Bruins coach Claude Julien said Monday. “He’s had that surgery and we have to take our time to bring him [back].”
Julien added monday that though Thomas “is actually ahead of schedule” if anything, the team’s plan is to “bring him along slowly.”
|Tuukka Rask working on becoming a Bostonian||09.17.10 at 2:30 pm ET|
Finland native Tuukka Rask has done plenty in Boston so far as a goaltender. In his first full season splitting time with Tim Thomas in net, Rask led the NHL in both goals against average (1.97) and save percentage (.931).
Now, after bringing Finland to Boston, Rask is getting more acquainted with becoming a Bostonian. After spending a couple of months in his native country, Rask did what he could to soak up the Boston atmosphere outside of hockey season.
“I had never seen Boston in the summertime, so I kind of wanted to see that. I was really impressed, it was awesome here.”
As such, his offseason activities included plenty of golfing — including charity tournaments for both Shawn Thornton and the Bruins foundation — and, like many locals this summer, taking in the Aerosmith/J. Geils Band concert at Fenway Park last month.
With fitness testing taking place Friday morning, the offseason fun is over for Rask, but if he continues what he started last season, his affection for the city will undoubtedly be reciprocated.
|Tim Thomas: ‘My play will do the talking’||09.13.10 at 2:24 pm ET|
BOLTON — Between rehabbing from a hip injury, coming off a season in which he lost his starting job down the stretch, and trying to remain a key piece of the puzzle, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas had plenty to talk about Monday at the team’s golf tournament in Bolton.
Thomas said the hip that was operated on following the season is feeling “pretty good” and that after skating a bit last week, has “passed every test we threw at it so far.” He’s not sure whether he’ll be cleared to go full throttle once camp opens Friday.
“I don’t know,” Thomas said when asked what his level of participation will be. “That’s going to be up to the trainers and physical therapists. It depends on how it reacts as it’s going along. You can’t really make a projection at this point.”
Thomas added that he and the medical staff will “evaluate it as it goes along” and that he should have a clean bill of health by the team the wheels touch down in Prague to open the season on October 9.
“That’s what we’re shooting for, is opening day of the regular season, 100 percent,” Thomas said. It’s been going pretty well. It might end up being 100 percent before that.”
Much has been made about what Thomas’ role with the team will be in the 2010-11 season. After getting the majority of starts in the regular season (43), Thomas saw Tuukka Rask take over as the team’s starting goalie in each of the Bruins’ two playoff series. The 36-year-old now must focus on proving naysayers wrong and splitting time with Rask once again.
“I thought it over over the summer, and I’m approaching it just like I did every challenge I had at every level going through,” Thomas said. “It’s a battle against yourself. I’ve proven in the past what I can do when I bring the best game that I have to the table, so it’s up to me just to do that.
“I was promised the same chance [as before], and that’s the way I’m approaching it,” he added. “I think I will [get a chance]. My play will do the talking. It’s in my hands. that’s the way I look at it.”
|X-Factors: Tuukka and Tim||08.24.10 at 1:00 am ET|
Each day this week, WEEI.com will be putting a player or position in the spotlight based on their ‘X-factor’ status entering the season. Monday, we took a look at Michael Ryder. Up next are the two men between the pipes in Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas.
Though it may be a bit strange to not consider strong goaltending to be a sure thing in Boston given the past two seasons, it is certainly worth looking into what type of production the Bruins can expect from their netminders. Each player has something big to deal with in 2010-11. For Thomas, its another year under his belt and for Rask it’s the dreaded sophomore slump.
For the Bruins, and this goes against most of the fans’ wishes this offseason, it would appear the right choice was made in not dealing Thomas and his $5 million salary cap hit. The fact of the matter is that though he is 36 years of age, is coming off hip surgery and did not show his Vezina form last season, Thomas is of utmost important to the Bruins’ operation. He started the majority of Boston’s regular season games and posted a respectable 2.56 goals against average last season. He didn’t get a single start in the postseason, but he played just as big a role as Rask in getting the team there.
So why all the negativity surrounding Thomas? One would have to guess it can’t be fun going into each season with fans expecting you to lose your job, something Thomas has undoubtedly had to deal with for quite some time. Though he made $1.8 million more than Rask (after the rookie’s performance bonuses), evaluating the position as a whole based on cap hit would actually suggest the Bruins are paying a fair price.
Entering the coming season, the Bruins will be paying $6.25 million for a tandem that gave them a 2.33 goals against average over 82 games last season. The team’s GAA was second to only the Devils. For a frame of reference regarding that $6.25 million number, that’s exactly how much reigning Vezina winner Ryan Miller will be making with the Sabres next season. Though Thomas’ cap hit may be alarming by itself, the Bruins are paying a manageable amount for perhaps the league’s best duo in net. Read the rest of this entry »
|Slideshow: Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s||08.09.10 at 10:51 pm ET|
WEEI.com was on hand for Shawn Thornton’s first annual Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s golf tournament, which means photographer John Vu was snapping plenty of pictures at Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton. Here is the slideshow of the event, which also featured Bruins forward Milan Lucic and goaltender Tuukka Rask (click the picture to begin). For the full low-down on the event and what it meant to Thornton, whose grandmother passed away from Parkinson’s, click here.