Columnist: Thomas should be more open to discussing political views

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CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty has responded to Tim Thomas’ latest political Facebook posting where the Bruins goalie said he stands with Catholics in the fight for religious freedom.

In the piece, Haggerty asks a pointed — and relevant — question about Thomas making these public political statements: If he’s going to keep making them, should he be more open to addressing them?

From Comcast Sports Network New England:

If he’s continuing to post such material on his Facebook page, then it appears as though he should be a little more open — a little more willing — to discuss these topics when asked to address them off the ice.

In the land of the free and the home of the brave Thomas is welcome to speak about whatever he wants through whichever lens he chooses. That’s the American way and everyone should be 100 percent behind that.

But it’s also fairly disingenuous to act surprised — or annoyed — when these same subjects keep coming up in locker room conversations before and after hockey games.

It’s a legitimate line of questioning. While in Ottawa for the All-Star Game, Thomas made it very clear all he wanted to talk about was hockey and hockey alone — when one reporter asked Thomas if he was surprised the White House snub took on a life of its own, the goalie responded with a terse “no comment.”

That’s sort of been the theme ever since. “Here to talk about hockey,” and “No need to further discuss something stated so clearly,” and “I just want to focus on the game” have been the standard-issue platitudes — Haggerty notes Thomas has even taken to cutting interviews short when the subject matter strays from hockey.

If that’s the case, there’s a good chance he’ll be cutting even more interviews in the not-too-distant future. While Thomas might not want to provide the answers, it seems reporters still have plenty of questions left to ask.

Auston Matthews keeps goal streak alive, gives Leafs 1-0 lead in third

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These are the moments Toronto Maple Leafs fans were dreaming about when they drafted Auston Matthews. At least those bold enough to picture such great things, so soon in his career.

Speaking of so soon … that’s not how you’d describe a 1-0 goal happening in the third period of a game in this Leafs – Washington Capitals series, but it took that long to break the ice in Game 6.

It took a very lucky bounce for the puck to find its way to Matthews … but the finish was pure skill. With that, the remarkable rookie now has a goal in four straight games (with an assist thrown in for good measure).

Video will be added to give you better context for the goal, but until then, check out this GIF of the key moments:

The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Marcus Johansson scored to tie it 1-1.

Things could get awfully nervous for Toronto as they try to force a decisive Game 7 in Washington, but that was a huge goal by Matthews either way.

Clarke MacArthur, Craig Anderson made Sens win that much more emotional

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It could have been over for Clarke MacArthur plenty of times during his turbulent NHL career. Scratch that, his turbulent hockey career.

His team walked away from his salary arbitration award. MacArthur’s seen plenty of people give up on him. And then, when he finally found a home with the Ottawa Senators, concussion issues threatened to end his playing days.

Yet, there he was on Sunday … drawing a penalty in overtime and then scoring on the ensuing power play to help the Senators advance beyond the Boston Bruins.

He didn’t deny that he imagined very different possibilities during his darker moments.

And, as uplifting as his story was – seriously, just watch this interview and try not to root for the guy – it wasn’t the only emotionally charged moment from Game 6.

Nicholle Anderson was on hand to cheer on Craig Anderson in this one, and the two were able to embrace after the contest:

As violent and intense as the playoffs can often be, MacArthur and Anderson reminded us of the gentler human side of it all.

Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

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Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins?

It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

Hmm.

Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.

Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

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The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

For more on the three finalists, click here.