Tim Thomas says he is 'ahead of schedule' after May 21 hip surgery

timthomasprogress.jpgWhile he was usurped by Finnish sensation Tuukka Rask, I think that Tim Thomas was better during the 2009-10 season than most people gave him credit for. Or, perhaps more precisely, he wasn’t quite as bad as people thought.

His save percentage was down to 91.5 last season, but that’s nicely above 90 percent, generally accepted as the “Mendoza line” for goalies. His level of play just fell distinctly short of his Vezina-worthy 93.3 mark and Rask’s 93.1 pace.

Still, at $5 million and at the age of 36, it’s reasonable to wonder if Thomas already played his best hockey. Then again, maybe he was just worn out. The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa reports that Thomas is “ahead of schedule” in the rehab process after undergoing hip surgery on May 21.

“It’s going really well,” Thomas said. “It’s actually gone exceptionally well, right from the start, which has been a good thing. We’re ramping it up and ramping up the workouts. I think everything would be considered right on track, if not a little bit ahead.”

Next Friday will mark 12 weeks since the procedure. Doctors have told him not to butterfly until the 12-week point. Thomas, however, doesn’t usually start skating until September, so he might not hit the ice at all this month. Thomas said he’ll be ready for the start of training camp.

* Thomas wasn’t willing to note the injury as a reason why his play slipped last year. “You can’t say. Everybody’s got injuries all the time,” Thomas said. “There’s no use even speculating. I can do it for myself. But definitely publicly, I wouldn’t even want to speculate.”

Thomas also had some other interesting things to say in that article.

Contrary to many reports, Thomas said that he never waived his no-trade clause during the NHL Entry Draft. He said “being at least somewhat in the inner loop, you realize that 75 percent of what’s being written is wrong.” Thomas also commented on this summer’s bone-dry goalie market … one that, let’s face it, he’s very lucky he avoided by a year.

While Thomas will likely be the target of trade rumors for the three years remaining on his questionable contract, let’s not forget that the NHL has seen a large quantity of “one-year wonders” in net. If Rask falters, the Bruins will need Thomas to match (or at least approach) his 07-08 form. Getting healthy will improve his – and Boston’s – chances considerably.

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    NHL admits off-side challenge error that cost Avalanche a goal

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    The NHL admitted on Friday that a decision denying the Colorado Avalanche a tying goal against the St. Louis was wrong.

    Mikko Rantanen’s goal late in the third period was overturned after Sven Andrighetto was ruled to be off-side following a video review challenge issued by the Blues.

    Now here’s where the fun starts.

    Because Andrighetto was not ruled off-side by the linesman when he touches the puck in the Blues’ zone, when he leaves and re-enters the zone that’s considered a (clean) second zone entry. So the goal should have counted and the Avs should have had a power play for a failed off-side challenge.

    Here’s the NHL’s statement:

    “St. Louis requested a Coach’s Challenge to determine whether Sven Andrighetto of Colorado was off-side prior to the Avalanche goal. The video review decision determined the play was off-side but that determination was based on a play prior to the puck clearing the zone. 

    Per Rule 78. 7 (Note 1) Coach’s Challenge: ‘Goals will only be reviewed for a potential “Off-Side” infraction if: a) the puck does not come out of the attacking zone again; or (b) all members of the attacking team do not clear the attacking zone again, between the time of the “Off-Side” play and the time the goal is scored.

    Although there was an off-side, it occurred prior to the puck clearing the zone which nullifies any goal review related to that off-side. The entry in to the zone immediately prior to the goal was on-side, therefore the goal should have counted.”

    Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, appearing on Sportnet’s Hockey Central at Noon on Friday, said he believes the wording of the rule will change in the future.

    “The call on the ice was correct,” he said. “The wording in the rulebook is wrong, and that’s where we’re going to have to work with. I think that’s why the rulebook always changes because you come up with unintended consequences, and that was one of them. I don’t think anyone that watched the game last night think that’s a goal we want to count.”

    Let’s just go with NHL ’94 rules and turn off-side off, yeah? That’ll stop games from being paused and goals being taken off the board because a player’s skate blade was a millimeter off-side entering the offensive zone.

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    Canucks’ Gudbranson suspended 1 game for boarding Vatrano (Video)

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    Vancouver Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson will miss Friday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres after he was suspended one game for boarding Frank Vatrano of the Boston Bruins.

    The hit occurred early in the first period during Thursday’s 6-3 Bruins victory. Gudbranson was given a majors for boarding and fighting, along with a game misconduct. The Bruins would take advantage with three power play goals. Vatrano would retun to the game later in the period.

    Here’s the Department of Player Safety’s explanation:

    Look at many of the suspensions the NHL’s DoPS has handed out for boarding and it’s the same thing over and over again. The suspended player has time to make a better decision on a hit, but fails to do so. Here, Gudbranson could have changed his angle, minimized contact with Vatrano or tie him up along the boards instead of plastering him into the glass.

    Gudbranson will see $18,817.20 of his salary go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    Adam McQuaid’s broken leg is the latest injury to hit Bruins

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    Another day, another Boston Bruins player exiting the lineup due to injury.

    The team announced on Friday that defenseman Adam McQuaid will miss the next eight weeks recovering from a broken right fibula. The injury was suffered during Thursday night’s win over the Vancouver Canucks when he blocked two shots on the same shift in the final period.

    “Adam has been doing that for years around here,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said afterward. “He’s one of the unsung heroes in that locker room. Doesn’t get a lot of credit for what he does, the tough parts of the game, blocking shots, sticking up for your teammates.”

    The Bruins were happy to get Patrice Bergeron (four points) back in their lineup, but that was after Tuukka Rask was diagnosed with a concussion. Losing McQuaid to a broken leg and David Krejci to an upper-body injury was not ideal despite the two points. Cassidy said he expected Bergeron and Krejci to return to the lineup Saturday versus the Buffalo Sabres after sitting out Friday’s optional skate.

    Stick-tap Reddit user and Walking Dead fan RickvsNegan for the video

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    Flyers founder Ed Snider honored with statue outside Wells Fargo Center

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    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Flyers founder Ed Snider was honored with a 9-foot bronze statue outside the Wells Fargo Center.

    Snider founded the team in the 1960s and remained chairman until his death in April 2016. The statue was unveiled before the Flyers played Nashville on Thursday to mark the 50th anniversary of the Flyers’ first home game in 1967.

    Chad Fisher, of Fisher Sculpture of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, created and built the 1,300-pound bronze statue, which stands on a 3-foot base encased by granite.

    Snider’s statue has a Stanley Cup championship ring on his left ring finger that fans are encouraged to rub for good luck. Flyers President Paul Holmgren was one of the first to rub the ring on the statue.

    NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the statue, like Snider’s accomplishments, ”were larger than life.”

    The Flyers won Stanley Cups under Snider in 1974 and 1975.

    Hall of Famers Bernie Parent and Bobby Clarke and dozens of former Flyers greats attended the dedication.

    ”Everything I am as a human being, thank you Ed Snider,” Parent said as he threw a kiss toward the statue.

    Snider’s daughter, Lindy, spoke on behalf of the family and encouraged fans to rub the ring.

    ”Paul, especially you,” she told Holmgren. ”The pressure’s on. You’re not off the hook.”

    Snider was arguably the most influential executive in Philadelphia sports. He was chairman of the 76ers, was once a part-owner of the Eagles and had a hand in founding both Comcast’s local sports channel and the city’s largest sports-talk radio station.

    Snider was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.