Claude Julien Tim Thomas

Julien not dwelling on Tim Thomas: “I’m looking forward to working with some of these other goaltenders”


After undergoing offseason hip replacement surgery, Claude Julien was back at his TD Garden office on Monday and spoke with about — who else? — Tim Thomas.

With his star goalie set to sit out the upcoming campaign, Julien focused on the ‘tenders he has available to him — Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin.

“Well I think, you know, Tim has made his decision and as a coach my philosophy doesn’t change, and it’s about dealing with the players that you have in front of you,” said Julien. “We all know that Tuukka is a very capable goaltender. He’s proven it time-after-time. We got an opportunity to see Khudobin in action in Ottawa one of the last games of the season, and he handled that game extremely well — he was phenomenal.

“So we still feel confident that we have some great goaltenders. Tim has been a great goaltender for us, and what he’s done will certainly never be forgotten, but at the same time it’s important for me to take the news and move forward with it. I’m looking forward to working with some of these other goaltenders.”

Julien noted the biggest challenge will be for Rask to carry the No. 1 gig for an entire season. He’s never opened the year as Boston’s starting goalie — even during the 2009-10 season when he appeared in a career-high 45 games and played every minute in the playoffs, Rask was Thomas’ backup to begin the campaign.

“Tuukka has not been exposed to being a number one goaltender from the start of the season on,” Julien said.”That’s the challenge that Tuukka has.”

It’ll be very interesting to see if Boston does indeed roll with the young duo of Rask (25 years old) and Khudobin (26). Teams often prefer to have at least one veteran presence in the mix — Boston could conceivably have a tandem with just 52 career wins combined.

That’s a far cry from Thomas, who had 70 wins for Boston over the last two seasons.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.