|Tim Thomas honored to be an All-Star, willing to shut down Zdeno Chara if opportunity arises||01.11.11 at 5:21 pm ET|
The Bruins received perhaps the least surprising news they could get on Tuesday when they were informed that Tim Thomas was named an All-Star. Thomas is putting together the best year of any goaltender over the last five years, and as such, it is no shock that he’s earned the honor of joining the league’s best for the third time in his career.
“It’s always an honor,” Thomas said of the distinction prior to the B’s game against the Senators on Tuesday. “It’s a feather in your cap, so I’m very happy.”
Thomas has played in 29 of the Bruins’ first 41 games, compiling an 18-4-6 record and leading the league with a 1.84 goals against average and a .944 save percentage. His five shutouts tie his career-high and put him in a tie for the league lead.
Yet given all the time he’s played, it is expected that the Bruins could use Tuukka Rask a bit more just to keep Thomas from being overworked. The same line of thinking might apply when wondering whether the 36-year-old could use the All-Star to get some rest rather than work more. Thomas’ reaction to that idea is simle.
“Everybody wants down time, but having said that, for most people — myself included — you don’t make the All-Star [game] that often,” Thomas said. “It’s an honor worth giving up a couple of days rest for.”
Thomas will join teammates Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin in Raleigh, N.C., for the All-Star festivities, as Chara also earned the distinction, while Seguin will participate in the rookie skills competition a day prior to the game.
Because of the new fantasy draft used to determine the All-Star teams, Thomas and Chara won’t necessarily be teammates in the game, as it is no longer a contest of the Eastern conference vs. the Western conference. As odd it would be to see Chara go up against his own goaltender, Thomas was quick in predicting what would happen in such a scenario.
“I win, he loses.”
|Three the magic number (again) for Bruins in win over Penguins||01.10.11 at 10:06 pm ET|
The Bruins once again proved a third-period terror against the Penguins, scoring four unanswered goals en route to a 4-2 victory at CONSOL Energy Center.
With the Penguins leading, 2-0, on second-period goals from Mike Rupp and Kris Letang, the B’s scored four goals in the final 3:23 of regulation. Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand got it started by scoring goals 12 seconds apart, while Mark Recchi potted the game-winner on the power play at 19:10 and Gregory Campbell sealed it with an empty netter.
The B’s scored their first two power play goals in six games. Tuukka Rask made 23 saves on 25 shots in the victory.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Did the Bruins watch so much tape of what the Habs did to them Saturday that they couldn’t help but do the same thing? The B’s didn’t have to wait for overtime to get a huge road win. With their five-goal third period on Nov. 10, they have now scored nine third-period goals vs. the Penguins and allowed none.
– Chara’s goal was his second in the last five games, clearly a good way to follow up his 23 games without a goal prior to last Saturday’s game in Buffalo.
– Tyler Seguin and David Krejci haven’t produced while skating on the same line the last two games, but the two seem to be a good fit. Seguin tied linemate Blake Wheeler with three shots, while Krejci set up the 18-year-old beautifully in the third period before Fleury robbed the rookie.
While Krejci and Wheeler obviously work well together and the Czech center’s skill set is appropriate for a line with Seguin, Krejci had zero shots on goal for the second straight game. He has two goals over his last five contests.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Penguins’ power play had been bad, but the B’s didn’t need to push the matter. The Bruins handed the Penguins five power plays, one of which Letang scored on to make it a two-goal game. Both teams entered the game with three power play goals over their last nine contests, and the B’s gave Pittsburgh plenty of chances to improve the number, which the Penguins did.
– Pittsburgh native Matt Bartkowski was set to have a memorable NHL debut for the Bruins, but he ended up doing so for the wrong reasons. First, he was beaten by Mike Rupp in the second period on the Penguins’ first goal. Bartkowski then took a hooking penalty with the Bruins playing from behind with less than 10 minutes remaining.
– Eleven games without a goal for Milan Lucic. The slumping winger followed his zero-shot performance by throwing three shots on Marc-Andre Fleury. As the Bruins continue to search from offensive consistency, they need a lot more from their leading scorer.
|Bruins lead Sabres, 4-3, after one||01.01.11 at 8:13 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask probably wasn’t planning on allowing three goals in the first period, but he’s got a 4-3 lead to play with as the Bruins and Sabres enter the second period.
Just 1:29 into the contest, Marc Savard won a face-off to set up an Andrew Ference goal from the point. After Ference’s streak of 99 games without a goal ended last month, the blueliner saw to it that there would only be five games between occurrences of him scoring.
With the Sabres on a 2-on-1, Thomas Vanek appared to trip Ference when going for the puck, but when no penalty was called, Vanek beat Rask to make it a 3-2 game. To make matters worse, Savard was called for a questionable slash four seconds later.
The penalty would prove to be a blessing in disguise. With the B’s on the penalty kill. Mark Recchi got the puck up to Patrice Bergeron to create a 2-on-1, and Bergeron slid it across to Zdeno Chara, who put sent it past Ryan Miller for a shorthanded goal. It was Chara’s first goal in 24 games.
With less than a minute remaining in the period, Rask was unable to hold onto a puck long enough to get a whistle, and Drew Stafford knocked it in to make it 4-3.
The Sabres have outshot the Bruins, 16-11.
|Shots, as far as the eye can see||12.29.10 at 5:34 pm ET|
Nathan Horton‘s been a popular guy lately for all the wrong reasons, as Tuesday’s no-show was the latest example of a contest that, if made into a movie, would not have a part for the winger.
Matt Kalman had an interesting post at the Bruins Blog today pointing out that Horton has had one shot or less in 12 games this season. I was astonished last night when seeing that he’s actually third on the team in shots despite how frequent these duds seem to come. With that in mind, here’s a quick breakdown of each line and its players shots on goal. Of course, the lines are listed just for organization’s sake, as the current lines have only existed for three games this season.
* Savard has played in 12 games,
** Seguin has played in 33 games.
^ Krejci has played in 28 games.
^^ Marchand has played in 32 games.
Moral of the story? As good as Thornton is at getting pucks to the net and creating rebounds, he shouldn’t be nipping at Horton’s heals — and that’s not a plea for Thornton to shoot less.
|That’s what Christmas means to Zee: A look at European Bruins’ traditions||12.24.10 at 6:10 pm ET|
The Bruins gave fans an early Christmas with a statement-making win on Thursday, but when it comes to the Black and Gold, there’s plenty about Christmas that the average Bostonian doesn’t know. David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask, and Dennis Seidenberg spoke to WEEI.com about what Christmas is like in their native countries.
Here’s a look at each player’s customs and holiday memories:
DAVID KREJCI: STERNBERK, CZECH REPUBLIC
Santa who? Jezisek (pronounced “eshishik”) is the man, er, boy for the job back home for Krejci. Czech for “Child Jesus,” Jezisek is a child who delivers gifts to families, much like St. Nick would in these parts.
As is the case in Europe, Krejci’s family is all done with sharing gifts by the time the 25th rolls around.
“We have dinner on the 24th, and right after, we open gifts, so Christmas is the 24th,” Krejci said.
Given his years in juniors and now in the NHL, Krejci, like his European teammates doesn’t get to celebrate Christmas back home.
“It’s been a long time since the last time I was back home for Christmas,” Krejci said. “I guess I’m used to it. It still sucks that you’re not with your family, but I’m getting older and it’s been a long time, so I guess I’m getting used to it now.”
Teammate Tyler Seguin, like many North American kids in the ’90’s, remembers asking for Power Rangers toys and all things Barney. Over in Sternberk, then a part of Czechoslovakia, Krejci couldn’t think of anything but his future career.
“When I was growing up I always wanted skates, hockey sticks, and all the cool stuff that was really expensive that I couldn’t afford,” Krejci said. “So I asked my parents. I never got it, but I was excited for it anyways.”
TUUKKA RASK: SAVONLINNA, FINLAND
What do Rask and Santa Claus share in common? Nothing, besides the fact that they hail from the same land.
“Santa Claus is Finnish,” the 23-year-old goaltender told a now-enlightened WEEI.com. It’s a fact that can be confirmed here.
Aside from that interesting tidbit and opening presents on the 24th (“That’s the only thing I’ve known, ever since growing up”), Rask doesn’t think his time on Christmas as a child is too dissimilar from that of an American.
“The food is different,” Rask, who remembers meals of ham, salmon, and bread, said. “I think every family has their different traditions, but to stay at home and be with the family, that’s the same everywhere.”
DENNIS SEIDENBERG: VILLINGEN-SCHWENNINGEN, WEST GERMANY
The biggest difference that Seidenberg notices between the States and West Germany around the holidays is level to which it’s taken.
“It feels like there’s a lot more toys under the Christmas tree here,” said a smiling Seidenberg. “It’s just a lot more done-up, it seems, than in Europe.”
A traditional Christmas meal is also different from in the USA, and from the countries of his European teammates.
“We eat a lot of duck with cabbage, mashed potatoes, and stuff like that,” Seidenberg said.
The Bruins will practice on Sunday, which probably wouldn’t take place over in West Germany. After eating and opening presents on the 24th, they get the 25th and 26th off as Christmas holidays.
ZDENO CHARA: TRENCIN, SLOVAKIA
While Krejci had Jezisek and Rask had Santa Claus, the Bruins’ captain grew up with both.
“One thing we have is Santa — that’s ‘Mikalas’ — and then whoever brings the presents is Jezisek,” Chara said.
Chara shares Rask’s logic that despite the differences between the countries, there’s no cultural differences (hey, remember those? Those were funny!) when it comes to the most important part of the holidays: family.
“It’s pretty much the same as over here,” Chara said. “We all get together, the families gather together and want to spend it together. We have a nice dinner, and in Europe we open the presents on the 24th at night.
“As far as everything else, it’s almost the same. We have different food traditions for dinners. You guys have different over here, but I think the atmosphere around Christmas is pretty much the same.”
Happy holidays from the Big Bad Blog and WEEI.com.
|Patrice Bergeron has Bruins leading Thrashers after one||12.23.10 at 7:45 pm ET|
The Bruins wanted to make some noise right off the bat, and after doing so they lead the Thrashers, 1-0.
With Claude Julien putting the energy line out to start the game, Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Atlanta winger Eric Boulton. The fight, which was the sixth between the two, energized both the B’s and the Garden crowd, but Patrice Bergeron would give them more to cheer about three minutes later.
Just 13 seconds into a Zdeno Chara hooking penalty, Bergeron put the B’s on the board by deking Ondrej Pavelec and putting it in low on the forehand. It was Bergeron’s 300th career point and the fifth Bruins shorthanded goal of the season.
The two teams have played one another tight this far, with each squad registering 10 shots on goal. There were five minor penalties handed out in the period between the two teams, with the B’s going 0-for-3 on the power play.
|Mike Milbury on D&H: Bruins ‘need some passion’||12.22.10 at 1:02 pm ET|
NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show to give his opinions about the Bruins and the NHL. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Asked if the Bruins might consider a change behind the bench, Milbury said it’s too early for Claude Julien‘s job to be in jeopardy. “I don’t think so, no,” he said. “This team has shown remarkable resiliency. When they get down, you think that the wheels are falling of the wagon, they pull it together. And I think they’ll pull it together for Claude again.”
Added Milbury: “They need to loosen the screws a little bit offensively. Go after it, make some mistakes, try some things, do some things differently. Do I think they’re ready to knock on Claude Julien’s door? Absolutely not. I don’t think that’s a consideration right now. Tell me 10 games from now when they’ve won one, and it’s a different story.”
Milbury said there are plenty of other people who need to answer the critics before the coach. “[Marc] Savard hasn’t quite hit the plateau that he wants to be at,” he said. “[Patrice] Bergeron has not had a great year offensively. [Milan] Lucic is not doing what he’s supposed to do in terms of being an explosive chemistry set ‘ just get in there and create some mayhem. That’s important to that team, and it’s been lacking. I’m on [Blake] Wheeler and [Michael] Ryder all the time for that. These are pretty smart players and gifted players. But the games needs passion. And the Bruins more than anything right now need some passion.”
Milbury said there are individuals showing that passion, but the team’s marquee players need to step it up. “The guy that leads the most for me in terms of effort is Shawn Thornton,” he said. “And he does it on a regular basis. He’s a really important part of this team. [Zdeno] Chara needs to pick it up physically. Just because he’s playing 30 minutes [a game], it doesn’t mean he can’t whack and bang and play with some sort of Kevin Garnett-like attitude once in a while ‘ more in-your-face. All these guys. Savard, when he’s playing well, he’s a bouncy, in-your-face guy. Bergeron in his own quiet way will get there and be in the way and get in the way.
“I don’t know what’s ailing them, but I’m not going to pin it on young guys/old guys, I’m going to pin it on the team and the coach, that somehow have got to refocus their priorities ‘ not to forget about defense, but to make sure they know that the way they’re going to score goals is causing turnovers. And doing that means ‘ dammit, there’s not a better word than hustle.”
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