Tag: Tim Thomas

Boston Bruins v Anaheim Ducks

With Chara on the decline, focus turns to Hamilton and Krug


The Detroit Red Wings haven’t been the same since Nicklas Lidstrom retired, and the Philadelphia Flyers haven’t been the same without Chris Pronger. This cannot be disputed. To do so would be to willfully ignore the greatness of those players, and their ability to impact games.

The fact is, when it comes to the makeup of championship-caliber teams, you’ll almost always find a cornerstone defenseman.

Still playing in the current NHL postseason: Duncan Keith for Chicago, Drew Doughty for Los Angeles, PK Subban for Montreal, and Ryan McDonagh for New York, even if the latter hasn’t been all that great in these playoffs.

There are exceptions to the rule, sure, like the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes, who won the Stanley Cup with a blue line of good-but-far-from-great players. Similarly, there are great defensemen who never won the Cup, like Brad Park. But take a look at the list of Norris Trophy winners; most of them have rings. That is not a coincidence.

Zdeno Chara has a ring. He got it in 2011, when the Boston Bruins won their first Stanley Cup since 1972, which just so happened to be the year Bobby Orr won his fifth Norris. The B’s also won the Cup in 1970, the year Orr won his third Norris. Orr won the Conn Smythe Trophy in both ’70 and ’72.

Even if it was Tim Thomas that ended up winning the Conn Smythe in 2011, Chara was brilliant during that run. The big man logged 27:39 per game and finished the playoffs with nine points and a plus-16 rating. He was kryptonite for the Sedin twins in the Stanley Cup Final. Vancouver scored just eight times in the contentious seven-game series.

But Chara did not have a good series versus the Montreal Canadiens in 2014. Or, at least, he wasn’t the dominant force he’s been in the past.

Chara is also 37 years old. Despite his famous fitness regimen, his NHL career is winding down, and he knows it. No, he’s not done yet, but it’s clear the Bruins need Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton to keep progressing if they want to remain Cup contenders in the years to come.

Of the two, it’s Hamilton that screams cornerstone defenseman the loudest. He’s big. He skates well. He has good offensive instincts. There’s a reason he was drafted ninth overall in 2011. Granted, at just 20 years old, he still has a lot to learn. Consider: when Chara was Hamilton’s age, he was still a raw rookie with the Islanders. In reality, he didn’t become an impact player until he was traded to Ottawa a few years later.

That being said, young defensemen can make big impacts in today’s faster game. Subban just turned 25 and already has a Norris to his name. Erik Karlsson is only 23, and he won the Norris before Subban did. Doughty won the Stanley Cup as a 22-year-old, not to mention an Olympic gold medal at 20. Krug, 23, led the Bruins with 10 points this postseason.

As an organization, the Bruins have been blessed with great defensemen. We already mentioned Orr. They also had Ray Bourque, a five-time Norris winner. Chara won the award in 2009, and he’s a finalist again this year.

Add it up and a Boston player has been named the NHL’s top defenseman an incredible 14 times since the award was first handed out in 1954. No team — not even Montreal (12) — can say that.

Will the tradition continue?

Related: Disrespected? OK, but that’s not why the Habs won

Video: Ovechkin beats Thomas on penalty shot, Russia blasting USA


The score is now 6-1 for the Russians over the Americans in the second period of their IIHF World Championship group stage game in Minsk. David Leggio replaced Tim Thomas in goal after the Russians made it 5-1.

Justin Abdelkader has the lone tally for the United States.

Russia and the U.S. entered the game with identical 2-0-0 records.

Video: Plekanec knocks over Rask, scrum ensues

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 5.06.40 PM

Tomas Plekanec got himself into penalty trouble early in Saturday’s Game 5 between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins. One of his transgressions included knocking over Boston’s goalie Tuukka Rask late in the first period.

Going to the net, Plekanec pushed Rask right over, causing the Bruins’ puck stopper to respond by swatting his blocker at the Canadiens forward. A large pile-up also ensued, with Rask channeling his inner Tim Thomas.

Including early in the second period, Plekanec had taken three minor penalties. The Bruins scored on two of those power plays – both goals coming early in that second period to gain a three-goal lead.


Online bookmaker: Rask the heavy favorite to win Conn Smythe Trophy

Tuukka Rask, David Legwand

Here’s the full list, courtesy Bovada:

Tuukka Rask (BOS) 4/1
Jonathan Toews (CHI) 12/1
Patrick Kane (CHI) 12/1
Sidney Crosby (PIT) 12/1
Ryan Getzlaf (ANA) 12/1
Patrice Bergeron (BOS) 15/1
Duncan Keith (CHI) 15/1
Corey Crawford (CHI) 15/1
Evgeni Malkin (PIT) 15/1
Corey Perry (ANA) 15/1
Jonathan Quick (LA) 15/1
Carey Price (MON) 15/1
Henrik Lundqvist (NYR) 15/1
Anze Kopitar (LA) 20/1
Zach Parise (MIN) 20/1
Torey Krug (BOS) 25/1
Jarome Iginla (BOS) 30/1
Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT) 30/1
Drew Doughty (LA) 30/1
Marian Gaborik (LA) 35/1
Martin St. Louis (NYR) 35/1
Brad Richards (NYR) 35/1
Rick Nash (NYR) 35/1
Darcy Kuemper (MIN) 45/1
Matt Niskanen (PIT) 50/1
Francois Beauchemin (ANA) 50/1
P.K. Subban (MON) 50/1
Brendan Gallagher (MON) 50/1
Thomas Vanek (MON) 50/1
Max Pacioretty (MON) 50/1
Dany Heatley (MIN) 50/1

Think even Heatley’s surprised he made the list?

As for Rask, no real surprise he’s at the top. The Bruins’ netminder went 4-1 with a .961 save percentage in the first round versus the Red Wings, and he plays for a Boston side that Bovada has as its 5/2 favorite to win the Stanley Cup.

Jonathan Quick was the last goalie to win the Conn Smythe, in 2012. Tim Thomas did it for the B’s in 2011.

Patrick Kane was the 2013 winner.

PS — Anze Kopitar at 20/1? You could do worse than that.

And then there were 12: Stars eliminated

Anaheim Ducks v Dallas Stars - Game Six

For more entries in this series, click here.

When it comes down to it, the Dallas Stars’ 2013-14 season assessment probably boils down to perspective.

Some will look at the team blowing a two-goal lead with its playoff hopes on the line and feel quite sour. Others will accentuate the positive in the Stars even getting as far as to push the Western Conference’s top team to six (and almost seven) playoff games, even in the first round.

There’s no debating that the Ducks won it 4-2 after a stunning overtime win in Game 6, however.

  • Change was in the air for the Stars overall.
  • Long-time Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff took over in Dallas and helped the team make it back to the playoffs after edging some stout competition, particularly in the Phoenix Coyotes.
  • The Stars drew Detroit Red Wings GM Jim Nill to the Lone Star State with considerable initial results.
  • Most importantly, Dallas gave face-of-the-franchise Jamie Benn a partner-in-crime in Tyler Seguin, who proved definitively that he’s a top-line forward in the NHL (if there was any doubt in Boston).
  • The Stars even enjoyed a nice bit of early returns in the draft, as Valeri Nichushkin became an immediate impact player.
  • The franchise did a nice job giving Kari Lehtonen useful backup support, first with Dan Ellis and then by trading Ellis for Tim Thomas.
  • Dallas seems to be mixing wide-open offensive talent in the form of Benn and Seguin with players who have a knack for getting under opponents’ skin, particularly in Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt.
  • Ultimately, it likely comes down to how Nill decides to support what’s looking like an increasingly promising core. While Shawn Horcoff enjoyed strong playoff performances, former stalwarts such as Ray Whitney slipped to the point of being healthy scratches.

While the Blues find themselves asking big questions and the Red Wings wonder how many runs are left in them, the Stars seem to face a bright future. Still, the Ducks highlighted that there’s still plenty of work to do.