Archive for Tim Thomas

Mixed Results for the Bruins in West Coast Trip

Posted in Boston Bruins, Hockey, Movies, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2010 by clarencethehorse

The Boston Bruins return home for their Martin Luther King Day afternoon matinee game against the Ottawa Senators having earned three of a possible six points on their brief West coast road trip.  They sandwiched an improbable shootout win against the San Jose Sharks with two games in which they gave up third period leads, so for the Bruins, it felt like they could/should have come home with more than three points. But this team was playing with so many missing components heading into these three games that a 1-1-1 record has to be seen as at least a semi-successful road trip.

Game 1 – Anaheim 1/13/10

In the first game against Anaheim, Tuukka Rask was in-goal for the Bruins facing NHL player of the week Jonas Hiller between the pipes for the Ducks.

Teemu Selänne was also in the lineup for the Ducks. On the verge of turning 40 next summer,  Selänne had what is still arguably the greatest NHL rookie season of all time in 1992-93 when he had 76 goals and 132 points for the Winnipeg Jets.

He would suffer a broken jaw late in the game that will sideline him for 4-8 weeks:

TRIVIA QUESTION (Answer at bottom): Anaheim Head Coach Randy Carlyle won the Norris trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman in 1980-81.

For what team was he playing that season?

The Ducks took a 1-0 lead late in the first period, a period which featured two pretty good bouts – the first Adam McQuaid/Troy Bodie tussle was one of the best I’ve seen this year:

Byron Bitz and Kyle Chipchura also got pugilistic:

In the second period, goals from Zdeno Chara, Matt Hunwick and Marco Sturm (beautiful tip-in) gave the B’s a 3-2 lead heading into the third.

But, as this video of the Bruins third period shows, they would blow the lead and the game, losing 4-3:

Game 2 – San Jose 1/14/10

The next night in San Jose against the Sharks

the Bruins would have to get right back on the horse against one of the best teams in the NHL.  If not for the Bruins effort in this game, the road trip would have been a complete disaster. Wit David Krejci out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury, the Bruins went into this game with no natural centers in the lineup.  Tim Thomas would make 41 saves, a season high, as the Bruins would upset the Sharks 2-1 in a shootout.

Joe Thornton would get the lone Sharks’ goal.

Captain Zdeno Chara blasted home a rare shootout slap-shot for the deciding goal:

TheBostonBruinsShow sums up the BIG win for the Bruins nicely:

Here’s the complete game highlights from NHL.com:

******

Game 3 – Los Angeles 1/16/10

Coinciding with the regional Northeast holiday of Hamfest,


the Bruins wrapped up their brief western road trip with a Saturday afternoon game  at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.  Could the Bruins carry over the momentum fromwin over San Jose?

The game marked the return of center David Krejci.

Less than three minutes into the game, Adam McQuaid and Brandon Segal dropped the gloves:

McQuaid is showing a rugged side that could well earn him a place on a team that is really still searching for it’s identity.

Shawn Thornton earned his 13th fighting major in 45 games this season when he squared off with Raitis Ivanans just after the Kings took a 1-0 lead:

Before the end of the first period, Miroslav Satan would get his second goal since signing with the Bruins to tie the game at 1.  A pair of goals 11 seconds apart by Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder would give the Bruins a 3-1 lead after two periods of play.  But another third period collapse would allow the Kings to come away with a 4-3 shootout victory.

Here’s the full NHL.com highlights from this disappointing game for the Bruins:

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hlg=20092010,2,710

While they earned a point with the shootout loss, they should have come back to Boston with a win and two-points.  Any momentum from the win over the Sharks is gone, and the Bruins have now lost four of theri last five contests.  The B’s remain in fifth place in the conference, a mere four points from being out of the playoff picture. Patrice Bergeron could return as soon as tomorrow against the Senators, while Marc Savard is 2-3 weeks from a return from a knee injury.  Milan Lucic has had some major cobwebs since his return, and the Bruins need him to return his Tasmanian Devil form of old (with all due respect to Terry O’Reilly).

The Bleacher Report

Here’s an interesting article from the Bleacher Report

“This is a compilation of the Boston Bruins’ top acquisitions via trade or free agency of all time. All of these players had an impact on the franchise, but not all of them resulted in championships.

These players skated for the Bruins for many years or a short while. However, they are listed here because they all helped the Boston Bruins for the better during their stay.”

***************

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TRIVIA ANSWER: The Pittsburgh Penguins

2010 NHL Winter Classic an Instant Classic

Posted in Boston Bruins, Hockey, Music, Travel and Nature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2010 by clarencethehorse

It was January 1, 2010 in Boston – but to a Boston Bruins fan, it felt more like 1972.

Yawkey Way, and all the streets surrounding Boston’s Fenway Park, were painted in blotches of black and gold – with a smattering of orange from a good number of bold Flyer fans.

But no matter what colors you were wearing, there was an air of anticipation that hockey fans were about to see something special.

“Dirty Water” was a recurring theme for Clarence in 2009.  I saw it covered by Dave Matthews at Fenway in May last year, then by Billy Joel at Gillette Stadium and Steely Dan at the Wang Center on consecutive weekends in July.  With all due respect to the Standells, I was actually aching for some “Brass Bonanza” when I first saw the band:

Boston was a hockey town on this day, and you’ll find little argument to the contrary from any Boston sports fan.

After a bit of a logjam getting situated in the park:

I got into my seats in the right field roof deck for a pretty cool view of the on-field festivities.  Prep work on the main ice surface was overshadowed by the Pee-wee hockey game in right-center field.  Helicopters hovered overhead as Flyers fans around me debated whether or not Daniel Carcillo would get into the first fight in Winter Classic history (he did).

The biggest piece of the most recent 1972 Stanley Cup for the Bruins was there – the celestial Bobby Orr, skating slowly but effortlessly to center ice to take the ceremonial face-off with former Flyers nemesis Bobby Clarke.  The appearance of Bobby Orr on the ice at Fenway Park put the capacity crowd of 38,112 into a frenzy:

It was a three-ring circus on the field leading up to the game, featuring the Dropkick Murphys:

…and native son James Taylor, delivering his smoothest national anthem yet at Fenway Park:

Being at Fenway, I thought JT may play this song in honor of Dice-K:

…but I digress…

A B-2 stealth bomber did a flyover following Taylor’s anthem…and fireworks behind home plate lit up the gray skies of a winter day unlike any other before at Fenway Park:

Once the action got underway, both teams struggled to find their rhythms. Speculation about whether or not Fenway would provide the backdrop for the first fight in Winter Classic ended at 12:01 of the first period.  Usual suspects Shawn Thornton (Bruins) and Dan Carcillo (Flyers) dropped the gloves, with Carcillo gaining a decision:

At 4:42 of the second period, Tim Thomas lost his composure and left his crease to cross-check perennial pest Scott Hartnell.  Only problem was Flyers defenseman Danny Syvret put a shot on net at that moment, and the Flyers had a 1-0 lead.  The second period flowed into the third, and Flyers goalie Michael Leighton continued to stone the Bruins – it appeared that Thomas would be the goat of the 2010 Winter Classic.  As the clock hit five minutes left in the third, I started to get a sick feeling in my stomach that this long-awaited Winter Classic may come and go without anyone ever knowing what the Bruins crowd would sound like in Fenway after the Bruins scored a goal.

But with the Bruins on a power play late in the third, Mark Recchi tipped home a Derek Morris shot to tie the score at one, and the Fenway crowd exploded like an underwear bomb with 2:18 remaining in regulation.  In the OT period, Marco Sturm completed the Bruins’ Winter Classic comeback when he deflected home a Patrice Bergeron shot 1:57 into the overtime period.

The Bruins had an improbable 2-1 victory, and Bruins fans spilled out into the streets surrounding Fenway in a state of nirvana.

The work of Tim Thomas in OT cannot be overlooked – the Bruins could have easily lost this game several times if not for Thomas.  And after the game, Thomas found out he had been named the 2010 U.S. Olympic team.  So instead of being the scapegoat du jour, Tim Thomas had a day that most professional athletes can only dream of.

No matter how you slice it, the 2010 Winter Classic was an unqualified success.

Here’s a nice compilation of all the highlights/hoopla from the 2010 Winter Classic:

Check out the highlights from the game and all the surrounding events at NHL.com:

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=14&id=55973

Sure, it’s been a long 37.5 years since the Bruins last drank from Lord Stanley’s chalice.  But the 2010 Winter Classic only made the Bruins fans more anxious for their team to slake that thirst once again.

Bruins Showing Signs of Life

Posted in Boston Bruins, Hockey, Movies with tags , , , , on November 15, 2009 by clarencethehorse

Let’s face it, last season’s success set some very high expectations for this year’s Boston Bruins.  If they do in fact end up having the type of season that we know they are capable of having, this most recent 4-game home stand (Nov. 5 – Nov. 12) will be looked back at as the point where they started to gain some traction traction after a less than thrilling opening 14 games (6-7-1).  The Bruins headed into the opener of this home stand against the Canadiens having suffered back-to-back shutouts on the road to the Rangers and Red Wings, so they were woefully in need of some offense.  They had not scored in six plus periods, they were 0 for their last 20 power plays (and last in the NHL), and were still looking for back to back victories five weeks into the season.  Would they be able to break some of these less-then-desirable streaks? On top of all this, it was announced that David Krejci krejci_06032009 was out indefinitely with the swine-flu swine flu. Although this home stand was not a complete success, it was a huge step in the right direction, as the B’s gained six out of a possible eight points (2-0-2), and Bruins fans exclaimed “Finally!” each time the aforementioned streaks were thankfully put behind them.

In the first game, it took 59 minutes against Montreal Canadiens, but the Bruins finally broke their scoring drought of 194:06 as Patrice Bergeron beat Price with 52 seconds remaining in the third period when he popped a goal-mouth rebound in to tie the game at one.  This was the 37th shot of the game for the Bruins, who ended up outshooting the Habs 43-26, but lost in a shootout.  But the Bruins had one monkey funny_monkey off their back….they had scored a goal….Finally.  Carey Price had a solid game in net for Montreal, but I still think he’s extremely overrated and would be surprised if he plays this well against the Bruins in any of the remaining Bruins/Canadiens games this season. I had to watch this game on DVR because I went to see Ben Folds BenFolds385x292 at Brandeis. This video is far away, but you can still hear Ben punchin’ the ivories.

It would not get any easier for the Bruins next game, as the Northeast division leading Buffalo Sabres (9-3-1) came to town with arguably the hottest goalie in the NHL in Ryan Miller.  But the Bruins caught a break, as rookie netminder Jhonas Enroth, recalled from Portland of the AHL on Wednesday, made his NHL debut between the pipes.   The Bruins (Finally) got a power play goal from March Recchi on a tip-in of a Derek Morris shot, then another PP goal from Zdeno Chara chara to gain a 2-0 edge after the first period.  These were the B’s first power play goals in seven games, and Chara’s goal was also his first of the season.  The monkeys were flying flying monkey off the Bruins backs now.

The first period also featured a good Thornton/Montador fight, with a clear decision being awarded to Shawn Thornton over former Bruins-stiff and current Sabres-stiff Steve Montador in this bout.  This was also the first Garden appearance for Sabres’ rookie defenseman myers Tyler Myers, who at 6′ 8″ is an impressively agile player and looks to be a star of the future for the Sabres.  He had a beautiful assist on the Sabres’ second goal. But the Bruins were finally playing with the kind of confidence we had become accustomed to last season, and Byron Bitz made it 3-0 early in the second stanza, showing again why the Bruins fourth line is the best in the league.  Sure, there are no all-stars amongst the fourth line of Bitz, Steve Begin and Shawn Thornton; but they continually shut down the other teams top lines and frustrate the opposition by keeping the play 180 feet away from the Bruins’ goal.  With 1:29 remaining in the second, Bergeron fed Marco Sturm for a 4-1 Bruins lead.  This was Sturm’s first goal in 12 games, and the Bruins will need him to get back on track if they want to replace the offense that went to Toronto this past offseason in the form of Phil Kessel.  Serendipitously, this was also the night that Kessel scored his first goal of the season for the Maple Leafs, as he returned three weeks ahead of schedule. This game also featured solid penalty-killing by the B’s, and that is one aspect of their game that has been solid all season.  The Blake Wheeler/Michael Ryder/Vladmir Sobotka line is also developing some nice chemistry, and that line produced several solid scoring chances. The 4-2 Bruins victory also featured a good bout between Thornton and Paul Gaustad, as well as more solid play from emerging defenseman Mark (don’t call me ‘Martha’) Stuart.

The Bruins had failed in their first six chances to win back-to-back games, and they now had a seventh chance to finally accomplish this against the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.  The Penguins came to Boston on 11/10/09 with several key players out, with Evgeni Malkin evgeni-malkin-nick-jonas being the most notable. Sidney Crosby was in the lineup, but entered the game with zero points in his last four games, the longest such drought of his career…and it would stretch to five games after tonight.  The Bruins were also still undermanned (Savard, Lucic still out), but were somewhat buoyed by the return of David Krejci from the swine_flu_pig swine flu. There was a familiar name on the back of #12 for the Penguins, as Chris Bourque small_bourque (yes, son of Bruins legend Ray Bourque) was picked up off waivers by Pittsburgh from Washington earlier this season.  The first period featured good sustained action, but the game remained scoreless going into the second period.  Matt Hunwick put the Bruins up 1-0 early in the second period, scoring a goal that slipped under the crossbar and eluded the on-ice officials.  After continued play of 1:20, there was finally a stoppage of play, the tape was reviewed, and the B’s had a 1-0 lead. In the third period, Derek Morris, who is showing himself to be a solid free-agent signing, blocked a shot that led directly to a breakaway goal by Daniel Paille.  It was Paille’s first goal as a Bruin, and Mark Recchi’s assist was the 900th of his career (in 1,507 career games).  Tim Thomas was solid when needed, and made several big saves to earn his second shutout of the season.  Pittsburgh’s Marc Andre-Fleury made the save of the game on David Krejci late in the third period to keep the Penguins within two goals at 2-0. The impressive win by the Bruins was capped off by a 180-foot open-net goal by Patrice Bergeron that took all the right bounces…..if this was plinko Plinko, it would have been a $10,000 shot.  So the Bruins had beaten the Sabres and Penguins for their first back-to-back wins of the season….FINALLY.

The last game of the four game home stand welcomed Tomas Vokoun and the Florida Panthers to the Garden.  The Bruins always seem to have problems with Florida at home, and on this night Vokoun would make sure that those problems continued.  Tim Thomas was almost as good, and this save in the first was definitely his best of the game, if not the season.  But Vokoun stymied the Bruins at every turn, and even Thomas’ second straight shutout (and third of the season) did not ensure two points for the Bruins, as Florida won in a shootout, 1-0.  Stat of the game:  the Bruins outshot Florida 19-1 in the second period (40-23 overall).  There was one bout worth noting, as Shawn Thornton scored a decision with a take-down of Bryan Allen in the second period.  There are going to be a couple of games over the course of the 82-game season where you have to tip your hat to the opposing goalie, and this was one of them.  The Bruins inefficiency in shootouts is somewhat troubling, but these stats show that there are some teams that have fared worse in shootouts since the NHL adopted this game-deciding format in the 2005-2006 season.  So three consecutive wins was not in the cards, but the Bruins had succeeded in getting points in all four games in this home stand (2-0-2).

Jack Edwards jack1 continues to make me turn down the NESN audio and turn the radio to 98.5 FM for the game play-by-play, as he remains an annoying clown clown in the TV booth.  Gems such as “(Frolik) slams into (Mark) Stuart and he’s an executive desktoy!” make me wonder what is more important to him….calling the game, or making sure he squeezes in as many useless, meaningless non-sequitor soundbites as possible.  He also called Vokoun “Brodeur” during the OT period.  Even Andy Brickley, a talented color commentator who also works on VERSUS national broadcasts, seems to be tiring of Edwards’ shtick.  I never thought I would say this, but I miss dale-arnold Dale Arnold.

The Bruins (8-7-3) head into Pittsburgh for Saturday’s (11/14/09) game looking to get back to their winning ways after the aggravating shutout at the hands of the Tomas Vokoun.  With Evgeni Malkin evgeni-malkin back in the lineup for the Penguins, and Tuesday’s 3-0 shutout at the hands of the B’s still fresh on their minds, the Bruins have their work cut out for them.  But the Bruins’ play has been trending up Trending-Up as of late, and with the imminent returns of Milan Lucic (possibly 11/19 or 11/20) and Marc Savard (should begin skating next week), Bruins fans have reason to believe that trend will continue.