March 23 2013 08:53PM
Photo: Abelimages/NHL Interactive via Getty
In his 378 games with the Boston Bruins, Tim Thomas played a game by stopping fewer than 75% of the shots against him just 10 times. The Bruins have been a team in construction for some time, culminating with the 2011 Stanley Cup. They had the goaltending since the dawn of the post-lockout era. They signed Zdeno Chara to shore up the defence and gradually added pieces. The scoring didn't show until the Stanley Cup year, when Milan Lucic blossomed, the team added Nathan Horton, had a healthy Patrice Bergeron and junior stud Brad Marchand broke out.
But the team was always excellent in goal. Where "toughness" is used as reasoning for why teams without obvious talent win games, "goaltending" is usually the cure. Thomas played just six seasons in Boston as the starter, but was without doubt the best of his era. No matter what the team was in front of him, as they rebuilt the defence around Chara and the forwards around Bergeron, Thomas was there to provide them great goaltending.
Anton Khudobin is not Tim Thomas, and the Toronto Maple Leafs ate him up. The Bruins held the Leafs to 13 shots, but when you've lost 8 straight times to a dominant divisional opponent, a Rembrandt isn't always required. Sometimes you just need a Picasso, and the Leafs painted one Saturday. They may not have deserved a 3-2 result, but they jumped up to a 3-0 lead and held on, and that's all that counts in a playoff drive.
March 23 2013 01:04PM
Hockey news doesn't typically happen on Fridays, and hockey blogs aren't frequently read on Fridays, so we often don't post a lot of things on Fridays. However there have been a few small events that have arisen between the end of the Leafs last game against Buffalo and Saturday afternoon that would warrant a few eyeballs.
First there was Joffrey Lupul's public questioning of the league's disciplinary decisions. Then Leo Komarov was placed on injured reserve. Then came speculation that hey, maybe Ryan Hamilton will play with Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel tonight. So there's lots of activity floating around, and lots of discussion, but I think we'll focus most of this on the game against the Boston Bruins tonight on Hockey Night.
March 22 2013 01:09PM
I meant to talk about the game and ended up ranting about goons. Screw goons.
March 21 2013 09:17PM
Photo Bill Wippert/NHL Interactive
A talent agent is sitting in his office. He hears a knock on a door and opens it up, and it is Frazer McLaren. It is Colton Orr. Both are standing in the doorway. "What can you do," asks the talent agent, who has had a very long day and is very tired. He is visibly frustrated and annoyed with the sudden appearance of these two thugs.
"Not much," says Frazer McLaren. "I can stand on a guy's wing and not skate very fast. I can visibly restrict Jay McClement's abilities. I can also, in a pinch, absolutely fill in a guy's face if the situation requires it."
"There's this puke on the Sabres named Patrick Kaleta," continues Orr. "Maybe he'll dive across the half the ice on a weak shove and stop play. I'll go out on the ice for the next faceoff. I will crosscheck him hard across the back. I'll break my stick across him and impale him with the remains."
"Good grief!" says the talent agent. "What do you call an act like that?"
Colton Orr and Frazer Mclaren say in unison: "The Aristocrats!"
March 21 2013 03:16PM
So Lupul was suspended for his hit on Victor Hedman for two games, and I have to say I'm quite surprised. Ryan Hamilton was called up to fill Mike Komisarek's spot in the lineup, so he'll play for the Leafs in Buffalo. Leafs without Lupul, but the bigger absentee in this game is Thomas Vanek, out with a lower-body injury for the Sabres.
I didn't see the play with sound on, but I'm guessing it's from when Vanek was hit by a Christian Ehrhoff slapshot against Montreal on Tuesday in the team's 3-2 win. Might have been Ehrhoff, I could be wrong there, but Vanek missed the second half of the game. He came out to do a skate during a TV timeout and is still practicing with the team so poolies, it probably isn't long-term.
The Sabres have been pretty well a two-man team this season. The other guy is Ehrhoff.