Tag: politiciking

Tim Thomas, Wayne Simmonds

Mike Milbury on Tim Thomas’ White House absence


Mike Milbury says that he’s fine with Tim Thomas taking a political stance but isn’t crazy about his decision to do so by skipping the traditional White House ceremony.

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Tim Thomas the aggressor? Vancouver hopes officials will let them stand their ground

Vancouver Canucks v Boston Bruins - Game Three

One of the lasting visuals from Game 3 was that of Bruins goalie Tim Thomas taking a stand in his crease and delivering a body check to Canucks star and captain Henrik Sedin. Sedin was trying to glove down the puck from mid-air to play it and try to score. Thomas wasn’t eager to wait for Sedin to do that so he dropped him to the ice sending the crowd into a frenzy at the site.

While the Bruins and their fans loved the scene the Canucks were clearly not too happy about Thomas’ aggression. During today’s pregame press conference, coach Alain Vigneault expressed his thoughts on Thomas’ play and hopes that officials will allow his players to stand their ground while keeping an eye on what Thomas is doing.

“Part of Thomas’ way of playing is playing out of the blue paint, initiating contact, roaming out there. He seems to think that once he’s out, set, makes the save, that he can go directly back in his net without having anybody behind him,” Vigneault said.

“Well, that’s wrong. He’s got the wrong rule on that. If we’re behind him, that’s our ice and we’re allowed to stay there. We’ve talked to the NHL about that. We’ve talked to the NHL about him initiating contact like did on Hank. They’re aware of it. Hopefully they’re going to handle it.”

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The politicking never ends in the playoffs and while the Bruins and Canucks are both playing very physical hockey and dishing it out to each other ferociously, the one player you don’t expect that from is the goaltender. Given Thomas’ nature in goal the Canucks should be more aware of it, but that doesn’t make it right. As for what the Canucks might do in response, Vigneault was asked about that.

Q. Most of us weren’t even sure if it’s legal because surely you can’t body check him. What explanation did the league give you on his ability to throw a hit like that?

COACH VIGNEAULT: I’m not going to give you the explanation.

I will tell you, everybody is aware of it, we talked to it prior to this series, about the way he plays. We got clarification on what is allowable as far as him coming back in his net after he’s out five or ten feet past the blue paint. Hopefully everything will get sorted out on the ice.

While we don’t expect things to get out of hand around the goal, it’s not as if the Canucks are being saints either.

The play that helped set off the entire situation that ended with Milan Lucic taunting Alex Burrows started when Burrows tried to chop at the puck trapped on the side of the net. Thomas had his glove hand covering the puck to draw a whistle, but Burrows took a chop at his hand and then the shenanigans began in earnest between Burrows and Lucic.

Everyone’s getting their shots in one way or another and there are certainly no saints to be found on the ice in this series. If Vigneault wants it to be looked at closer, he may not like what ends up being called to settle things down.

Canucks Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault not happy with Rich Peverley slash on Kevin Bieksa

Alain Vigneault

While the Canucks were getting into Boston this afternoon, their arrival led to some rather interesting reactions from GM Mike Gillis and coach Alain Vigneault. While many would be curious about what their mindset is coming to Boston with a 2-0 lead, they had other things on their mind like standing up for one of their players.

During last night’s Game 2, defenseman Kevin Bieksa was felled with a slash to the back of his leg from Bruins forward Rich Peverley. The chop dropped Bieksa to the ice and left him hobbled for the remainder of the game and leaving him a step or two slow, the Canucks certainly took notice of who did it and they’re unhappy that there was no call made on the play.

During today’s press conference Vigneault made it known that they’re not happy. Commence the politicking.

Q. Alain, you knew what the Bruins were about before this series, one of the more physical teams in this league. Bieksa and Kesler were hobbled a little bit last night. Do you sense them playing that card in this series?

COACH VIGNEAULT: I think if you look at the stat sheet at the end of the day, we’re hitting as hard as they are. If you look at the stat sheets throughout the playoffs, we’re the team that’s got the most hits. That’s part of our game.

Kevin didn’t get hit by Peverley, he got a cheap shot in the back of the knee, so that’s totally different. He went down because of something that obviously you don’t want to see in the game.

But at the end of the day, we know that they’re a big, physical team. We can play a speed game, but we can also play a physical-type game, which I think we’ve shown throughout the playoffs.

Gillis was asked later on if he approached the NHL about the Peverley infraction in question and Gillis was quick to the point saying, “I didn’t talk to them.”

What’s fascinating here is that we’re just a day removed from seeing Alex Burrows being the man of the match in Game 2 scoring two goals and an assist in a game he likely shouldn’t have been playing in after biting Patrice Bergeron. Of course, all that is out of sight and out of mind for the Canucks staff when it comes to their own players.

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If you’re a Bruins fan and you’re reading all of this we apologize for the rage you’re feeling about all this but it’s all part of how things go off the ice in the game. The Canucks have shown a masterful ability to get after the officials in their own subtle ways and the bristling that was evident out of both Gillis and Vigneault shows how deadly serious they are in getting that little edge. It may not come off sound fair nor right to Boston fans and it probably makes you hate the Canucks all the more but it’s these sorts of things that teams feel give them an edge.

While they didn’t look to the NHL to take any action on Peverley, them saying what they did this evening wasn’t intended for their ears. They’re hoping that tomorrow night’s officials heard everything loud and clear.