Notes: Thomas off his game in Game 2


Notes: Thomas off his game in Game 2

By Joe Haggerty

VANCOUVER It was a tough night for Tim Thomas, which usually means a challenging night for the Bruins.

Thomas was solid while stopping 20 out of 21 pucks in the second and third periods of Saturday nights 3-2 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.The Vezina Trophy favorite made 30 saves in the loss, but it was at least two out of the three that got away that bothered him afterward.He missed on a short-side shot by Alex Burrows in the first period that put the Bs in an early hole, and he jumped way out of position in overtime just a handful of seconds into the extra session to set up the Burrows game-winning strike.

Even though it was pretty clear Thomas was way out of position after biting on Burrows' pump fake during his overtime rush to the net, coach Claude Julien wasnt going to tell him to change his style this late in the game.

I think at the stage we're at right now, if I ask him to change his style, I'm not sure that's real good advice, said Julien. We turned the puck over in the neutral zone. I think we tried to chip it in. They intercepted it. Whenever you turn pucks in the neutral zone, they go on the counterattack. I think Zdeno Chara came across.

When Timmy was down, Chara had to go all the way around him. That gave Burrows that extra leverage that he needed to tuck it into the empty net.

Theres little doubt Thomas was unhappy with the outcome as his team dropped to 0-2 against the Canucks in the series, and he was certainly less than enthused about his own performance in a game Boston needed to have.

In reality as I said after Game 1, a loss is a loss. It doesnt matter if its 5-0 or the way that we lost, said Thomas. Losing stinks no matter what. Its not something that you want to do. But weve got to move forward."

Thomas was excellent in Game 1, which was lost when his defense let him down with a turnover turned into an odd-man rush. In Game 2, the 37-year-old deserves more of the blame. The goaltender needs to be a lot more consistent over the next few games if the Bruins are hoping to climb back into a series because he is their most important player.

Mark Recchi became the oldest player in Stanley Cup Final history to score a goal when he tipped home a Zdeno Chara blast from the point during a second-period power play. At 43, Recchi is by far the oldest player to score, blowing away the former record held by then-41-year-old Igor Larionov with the Detroit Red Wings.Recchi also had some pointed things to say to the critics that wanted him off the power play when he hadn't produced a goal in nearly 50 minutes of PP time in the playoffs -- and hadn't scored a power play goal of any kind for the Bruins since January before his Game 2 offensive outburst. "I'm not worried about the critics. I'm worried about my teammates," said Recchi. "Those critics are not in the dressing room every day. They don't know what I bring to the table every day. They can kiss my a--. My teammates, my coaching staff is all I care about." Alex Burrows, in the eyes of many, shouldnt have even been in the lineup for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final after biting Patrice Bergerons index finger.

Instead, Burrows avoided discipline (aside from a double-minor penalty during Game 1), and came back to bite the Bruins in Game 2 with a prominent role in all three goals scored by the Canucks.

Burrows set up the game-tying strike with a nifty pass through traffic from the slot area in front of the net, and won the game for Vancouver when he heeded the scouting reports on Tim Thomas, pump-faked to get the Bs goaltender moving and then patiently wrapped the puck around when Thomas was way out of the play.

There is no doubt Burrows will get a villain's welcome when he arrives in Boston Monday night for Game 3. And as much as Boston fans may cry out against the league for not having suspended Burrows, the Bruins werent about to do the same when it comes to his case, which doesn't seem to have any clear precedent in the finals.

No comment. That has nothing to do with that. I never thought about the Burrows decision in that way, said Julien. The NHL made a decision. We moved on. For us, if we start using that as an excuse, we're a lame team. To me, it's not even a consideration in the game.
Give Johnny Boychuk all kinds of credit for dropping a bone-rattling hit on Ryan Kesler in the corner early in the first period that basically took the starch out of the Vancouver center for the rest of the game. Kesler managed a shot on net and a couple of hits, but wasn't anywhere close to the presence he maintained in Game One. Kesler actually left the bench for a stretch in the first period, but returned and finished out the game at much less than 100 percent. Patrice Bergeron looked none-too-pleased about the punk-ish actions of Maxim Lapierre during Game 2 during a scrum in front of the Boston net. As Adam McQuaid yanked on the collar of a Vancouver player and dragged him out of the pile of bodies, Lapierre dangled his fingers in front of Bergeron's face in mocking fashion after the incident with Alex Burrows in Game One. Lapierre did it for a few long seconds before Bergeron swatted his hand away in disgust after looking at the Vancouver forward with equal parts disbelief and derision. It's unfortunate that a classy player like Bergeron has to deal with the dregs of the Vancouver roster during the Cup Finals, but that appears to be the pattern that's developing during the series."I've got nothing to say about that." said Bergeron. "That's the kind of guy Lapierre is, I guess."

Roberto Luongo has been outstanding for the Canucks in the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final, but the Vancouver goalie had his shutout streak stopped at 139:54 when Milan Lucic goal popped in a rebound goal during the second period.

One stat the Bruins cant feel too good about: in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals, when a home team has taken the first two games of the series, that team has gone on to win the Cup 32 out of 34 times.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bruins' Backes returns to ice after surgery for diverticulitis


Bruins' Backes returns to ice after surgery for diverticulitis

BRIGHTON -- In a development that was certainly much sooner than originally anticipated, David Backes has returned to the ice just a matter of weeks after having 10 inches of colon removed during surgery for diverticulitis. It remains to be seen how gradual a process it will be for the 33-year-old to actually return to game action given his original timetable for recovery was eight weeks following the early November procedure, but it seems like it might end up being ahead of the two months Backes was initially expected to be sidelined. 

For his part, Backes was happy to be back skating with his teammates and pushing his recovering body after feeling pretty sluggish for the first few days following surgery. He confirmed he’d been skating for a couple of days while the team was on the West Coast, but Monday was his first team doing anything post-surgery with the rest of the team. 

“It’s good to be back with the guys and to be around the room, and to have seen the kind of resiliency that these guys showed on the road trip. The back half of the road trip was impressive,” said Backes, who has an assist in five games with the Bruins before succumbing to the surgery. “To be on the ice and moving around after sitting around doing nothing for too long where you don’t think you’re going to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it feels good. 

“The doc’s advice is that if it doesn’t hurt then I can keep moving forward and add more of a workload on, so that’s the update for today. It’s still non-contact, but we’ll keep moving along and hopefully I’ll be back doing what I love to do on a regular basis. I haven’t been notified that the timeline has changed at all, so I’m just going to keep putting in the work. The more I seem to do the work the better it is, and I seem to be able to do a little more each day. So those are all positive signs.”

For the Bruins it’s clearly a morale booster to see the big power forward back doing regular hockey activities, and serving notice that he’ll be bringing his size, strength, leadership and physicality back to a B’s team that definitely needs him. Clearly the return of another high-end forward would also immensely help a Bruins team that’s still very undermanned up front, but it would appear there will be some other B’s forwards getting back prior to Backes. 

Brad Marchand and Ryan Spooner appear poised to return to full practice on Tuesday with a possible return to the lineup not too far beyond that after all three injured forwards took part in Monday’s optional skate at Warrior Ice Arena. 


Morning Skate: Chiarelli taking heat in Edmonton


Morning Skate: Chiarelli taking heat in Edmonton

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading after a rough weekend for the Justice League movie. 


*Radko Gudas was suspended for 10 games after slashing at the head of Mathieu Perreault, and it’s an appropriate sentence for a play that has no place in the NHL, and from a player that really deserves to get slapped around by the Department of Player Safety. Some like the Hockey News here believe it should have been a more severe suspension, but this is the right move with a player that’s headed toward a Raffi Torres sentence the next time he crosses over the line. Let’s hope the message finally gets through to a dirty player, but I’m not holding my breath given his past history.  


*Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is beginning to take some heat in Edmonton with a hockey team that’s performing way under expectations to this point. 


*All Alexander Radulov wanted was to feel like he was wanted, you guys. The Dallas Stars just so happened to say that to him in the form of money and contract years. 


* does a Calder Trophy voting poll with their own staff and it looks like Clayton Keller is strongly in the lead, and that Charlie McAvoy isn’t getting nearly the mount of consideration that he should be getting right now. This is the only rookie averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time per game, people…c’mon now. 


*It’s officially over for the Montreal Canadiens just a couple of months into the season, and it may be for GM Marc Bergevin as well. I’m not sure the Habs are dead and buried quite yet, but Carey Price as a question mark certainly doesn’t help matters. 


*Hall of Famers Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne were both honored in Anaheim this weekend after their Hockey Hall of Fame honors last weekend. 


*For something completely different: Here’s a petition for fans to get a home release of the Zack Snyder cut of the Justice League movie. These people thirsting for ponderous, bombastic drudgery in their comic book movies amazes me. While I feel for Snyder and his family given their tragedy over the last year, I think his movies are god-awful and can’t fathom why anybody would be pounding the table demanding to see a cut that left the DC and Warner Brothers execs running and screaming for Joss Whedon.