Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas to start vs. Bruins on Thursday

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Tomorrow night’s Boston-Florida game will be a special one.

The Panthers have announced that Tim Thomas will return from a four-game absence (groin) and start on Thursday against the Bruins, the team he backstopped to the 2011 Stanley Cup.

Thomas, 39, hasn’t played since allowing two goals on five shots in just over seven minutes of action against Philadelphia last week.

He left with a groin injury, sat out the following four games (during which backup Jacob Markstrom went 1-3-0 and allowed 16 goals) but is now apparently fit enough to participate in what promises to be a compelling game.

Thomas appeared in nearly 400 regular season contests and 50 playoff games for the Bruins, emerging as one of the best netminders in franchise history.

He made four All-Star games and captured two Vezinas, a Jennings and Conn Smythe Trophy — joining Bobby Orr as the only Bruin to ever win playoff MVP.

Related: Thomas won’t talk to media ’til after Bruins-Panthers game (Updated)

Bruins ‘not making the plays we should be making,’ says Chiarelli

Peter Chiarelli
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Boston is 3-2-0 thus far with 12 goals scored — not a bad start to the season, but certainly not great.

Just ask the GM.

“We’re missing the net a lot,” Peter Chiarelli told the Boston Herald following Monday’s 3-2 loss to Detroit. “We’re not making the plays we should be making.”

Chiarelli explained that while he’s “OK” with his team’s start to the season — saying he likes the effort, personnel and puck movement — there is concern about the club’s inability to score goals.

Through five games, Boston sits 25th in 5-on-5 goals (seven), 25th in 5-on-4 goals (two) and 20th in goals per game (2.40).

“I think we’re squeezing our sticks,” Chiarelli explained. “We’re getting a lot of chances. Our scoring will come. We are getting a lot of looks.”

One of the prime culprits for Boston’s lack of goals is Jarome Iginla. The 36-year-old winger leads the team with 19 shots on goal and is playing heavy minutes — 21:13 against Detroit on Monday — but has yet to find the back of the net.

Iginla is trying to stay positive, but admits the scoring drought is frustrating.

“I think it’s probably just being a little too anxious,” he told CSNNE. “[I’m] just lifting my head up. You want to get that goal for the team, and just get one, and get feeling it. At times you squeeze a little too hard, it’s all those clichés and sayings you hear.

“You try to swing a little too hard and lift [your] head a little bit. [I’m] just not in a grove there where you just want to kind of will it into the net as opposed to letting it happen.”

Thomas won’t talk to media ’til after Bruins-Panthers game (Updated)

thomasback
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Things promised to get interesting in Florida on Wednesday as the Panthers prepped for Thursday’s game against the Bruins.

Today would’ve marked Tim Thomas’ first reunion with the Boston media since his abrupt hockey sabbatical — but, apparently, it’ll have to wait.

According to multiple reports out of Florida, Thomas won’t meet with the media until after Thursday’s game, this despite the fact he returned to practice on Monday and was back out again this morning taking shots.

Thomas, 39, hasn’t played since leaving last week’s 2-1 loss to Philadelphia after surrendering both goals on five shots in just over seven minutes of action.

Thomas tweaked his groin against the Flyers, got shelved and subsequently missed Florida’s last four games. Young netminder Jacob Markstrom allowed 16 goals in relief of Thomas, including six on 24 shots in a 7-2 whitewash at the hands of Tampa Bay.

So, it stands to reason Thomas could be back in goal on Thursday to face the Bruins, only adding to the intrigue.

Update 2:45 p.m. ET

According to CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, Panthers PR confirmed Thomas won’t speak until after Thursday’s game.

Haggerty also notes that, during his final season in Boston, Thomas adopted a policy of not speaking to reporters the morning of games — but extending that policy to the day before games is something new.

Red Wings win rematch against Bruins

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 14: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins has words with Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings at the TD Garden on October 14, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
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The Boston Bruins took first blood against the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 5 in the first contest of their Atlantic Division rivalry. Today it was the Red Wings’ turn to strike back.

Henrik Zetterberg, Stephen Weiss, and Daniel Cleary each found the back of the net for Detroit en route to a 3-2 victory.

Jimmy Howard was originally scheduled to play between the pipes against the Bruins, but he was held out of the game due to a bruised hand, according to MLive’s Ansar Khan. He might be start on Tuesday instead, but backup Jonas Gustavsson was more than capable of holding his own today.

Gustavsson was plagued by injury problems last season and missed the beginning of the 2013-14 campaign due to a groin issue. This was his season debut and he turned aside 28 shots to pick up his first win since March 25.

Boston made things interesting when Milan Lucic netted his 100th career goal with just 1:20 minutes left in regulation time, but they couldn’t complete the comeback.

Detroit improved to 4-2-0 ahead of tomorrow’s contest against Columbus. The Bruins will get a few days off before starting a three-game road trip in Florida on Thursday.

Horton says Bruins waited ‘until the last minute’ to try to bring him back

leapinghortongetty
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Nathan Horton’s original explanation for leaving the Boston Bruins for the Columbus Blue Jackets is his preference for a quieter, more private lifestyle. It appears that either was a PR-friendly reason, or just a part of the story.

After hearing that a Bruins-produced documentary captured B’s GM Peter Chiarelli’s angry reaction to Horton’s departure for Columbus, the 28-year-old winger told CSNNE.com that Boston dragged its feet regarding a new deal.

“All year, nothing happened. I waited for a long time,” Horton said. “When you wait until the last minute, what am I … I’m not going to wait around. I’m happy with the way things turned out. It just came down to, at the end, for my family, I wanted a place where my kids could be outside.”

Horton isn’t done rehabbing shoulder surgery, but he’s definitely on board with Columbus, calling the Blue Jackets an up-and-coming team.

He admits that his time with Boston was still special, though.

“Obviously I enjoyed my time in Boston. I still talk to [Milan Lucic] and most of the guys on the team,” said Horton. “When you win a Stanley Cup with everyone, you never forget it. It’s a big part of your life.”

Apparently he didn’t feel that the Bruins organization believed he was a big enough part of their team, though. With the obvious exception of Tuukka Rask, Chiarelli has been proactive regarding signing core guys to extensions with plenty of time before their current deals expire, so maybe Horton has a point.

Whether Boston really wanted him back or not, he’s now in Columbus, and seems glad to be there.