Tag:Boston Bruins
Posted on: January 28, 2012 9:31 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2012 11:35 pm
 

Zdeno Chara breaks his own hardest shot record



By: Adam Gretz

As long as Zdeno Chara is going to All-Star games it's hard to imagine anybody beating him in the hardest shot contest.

And he keeps raising the bar.

On Saturday night he set a new All-Star record, breaking his own mark, by firing a shot that traveled an incredible 108.8 MPH, topping the 105.9 he registered last year.

Needless to say, he won the event (by a pretty wide margin) as he had done in the previous four All-Star games, and in the process became the first player to ever win the contest five straight times. When it comes to the all-time mark he still trails former Blues and Flames rearguard Al MacInnis who won the event seven times. But it seems to be only a matter of time until Chara takes over that spot as well.

Chara's four shots on the night went an average of 107 MPH, and from slowest to fastest were 106.2, 106.9, 107.0 and 108.8. The only player on the ice that could even stay within reasonable range of him was Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber, who for the second year in a row finished as the runner-up.

Weber, of course, is no slouch, and finished with a high mark of 106.

Hey, anybody want to play goalie?

Previously at Eye On Hockey

NHL Skills Challenge results, highlights
Kane's Superman wins breakaway challenge
More 2012 All-Star Game coverage

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 28, 2012 12:00 am
Edited on: January 29, 2012 10:25 am
 

Tim Thomas responds to criticism

Thomas

By: Adam Gretz

The Tim Thomas White House controversy just won't go away, even though he wishes that it would.

After he refused to attend the Bruins visit to the White House earlier in the week, the Conn Smythe winning goaltender has drawn a flood of criticism from media, fans and even anonymous sources within the Bruins organization, referring to his decision as "selfish," as the Boston Globe reported on Tuesday.

Even though he said his Facebook statement explaining his position would be his only comment on the matter, it's been all anybody wants to talk about anytime he's been in front of a microphone or camera during the All-Star weekend festivities.

During his media availability on Friday, for example, he was asked if he wanted to see this all just go away.

“I think it should. I think it should," said Thomas. "I think it’s all media-driven right now. It has been from the start. Everything I said then was as an individual. It wasn’t as a representative of the Boston Bruins. All it has to do is with me. It’s separate from hockey. That’s my personal life. Those are my personal views. Those are my personal beliefs. It has nothing to do with hockey. It has nothing to do with this All-Star Game.”

Thomas did not join the Bruins on Monday and said later in the evening that it was his right as an individual to not go, a decision he made because he feels the Federal government "has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People."
 
The controversy that followed even led to speculation that maybe this could be the beginning of the end for Thomas' time in Boston, which seems pretty silly to think about. Of course, sooner rather than later Thomas and the Bruins are going to part ways, but that has more do with the fact he is 37 years old, only has one year remaining on his contract, and the team already has his replacement, Tuukka Rask, on the roster. Not because he skipped out on taking a trip to visit the President.

Thomas will also eventually get his wish, and this story will disappear. Perhaps as soon as the second half of the season starts up and he gets back into the crease and starts winning games again.

That always seems to put a pretty quick stop to a lot of controversies like this.

Photo: Getty Images

Previously at Eye On Hockey

Bruins honored at White House while Thomas declines
Thomas explains decision
Thomas Speculation starts

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 27, 2012 3:13 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 3:39 pm
 

All-Star Game preview: Finding lines to entertain

By Brian Stubits

When it comes to All-Star Games, the NHL is probably in the middle. It's certainly a notch below the holy grail of games, baseball's Midsummer Classic, but it's undoubtedly ahead of football's Pro Bowl. Like the NBA's version, defense isn't even optional, it's pretty much discouraged.

So truth be told, people don't watch the All-Star Game for the hockey. Really, mid-week games featuring the Blue Jackets and Oilers will provide a better game (not necessarily entertainment, however). Instead, fans watch it for the Stars , the chance to see their favorite players.

Or to see things we never get the chance to see.

Thanks to the Fantasy Draft, the possibilities exist for some squeamish line combinations that wouldn't otherwise have been feasible. Such as Bruins playing with Canucks. However seeing as one of the two captains was a Bruin, we missed out on some golden opportunity to have Zdeno Chara paired with Alex Edler while playing with Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Tyler Seguin in front of them with Tim Thomas in net. Oh, if Chara could have only seen the potential.

What Chara did end up doing was drafting a host of right wingers, making this pre-draft incredibly awkward exchange all the more apropos.

With all that said, thanks to our Line Mixmaster 3000 (patent pending) we were able to come up with some interesting lines with the teams that were selected -- and some lines that make you go "meh." Hey, you can't win them all.

(Do note we had to execute some position changes to get four even lines. But to Joffrey Lupul and Daniel Alfredsson: I see what you did. Lupul only helped Chara draft one left winger and Alfredsson only picked one right winger. Sorry fellas, you can't triple shift.)

Let's start with Team Alfredsson, considering he's the host and all.

As Seen in Ottawa line: Milan Michalek, Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson. Intrigue? Nah, there's not a whole lot on this one, frankly. Senators fans can see these guys together most every night. But you have an entire line of guys not out of position in their hometown ... it's a lock. But hopefully they keep the mic on Spezza during the game like he had it on in the draft and this time we can hear a full-out laugh. That's interesting enough.

Third Wheel line: Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Logan Couture. OK, I'll relent and keep the Sedins together. The best third wheel for them is Couture. You have the whole Predators of the sea thing (Canucks' killer whale vs. the Sharks), the little rivalry between their teams and, well, just another way to pick on Couture a little bit after he was Mr. Irrelevant. Sorry Henrik, I don't think you're going to get those better players to play with this year (It's OK, Daniel, you can smile!).

I Believe I Can Fly line: Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux, John Tavares. I had a harder time naming this line than any of the others (no doubt it shows). But the Flyers connection is pretty clear and they get an Atlantic Division friend in the mix in Tavares, somebody who has wheels that just might inspire Hartnell to try and skate faster and contribute to the Hartnell Down-O-Meter. Tavares converts to the wing to make it happen, a pretty easy transition from center.

The Forgotten line: James Neal, Steven Stamkos, Jason Pominville. Neal was the guy who the NHL just didn't seem to want to invite. It took the last replacement spot for Neal to get the call despite being second in the league in goals scored. Stamkos is the only guy with more goals than Neal and yet he's such a quiet superstar that some might not even be aware of that fact. As for Pominville? Well it's been a forgettable season in Buffalo so far, so he fits in here.

Defensive pairings: This is really a hodgepodge of names when put together, there's not a whole lot that screams out for obvious potential pairings. So I've got Shea Weber with Alex Edler (Western Conference the tie that binds), Erik Karlsson with Kris Letang (excessive use of the letter K) and Dan Girardi with Keith Yandle (ummm, they were each in that game that was won with 0.1 seconds left this season).

Now on to Team Chara. Here are the lines that we can put together, seeking maximum intrigue.

Cyborg line: Corey Perry, Pavel Datsyuk, Jarome Iginla. The cyborg obviously references the man in the middle, but it also includes one of the league's ageless wonders in Iginla plus a guy with a connection to Disney. Hey, we have to make some stretches. The only person out of position here is Perry, being forced to the left wing because of Chara's right-side glut.

Miss-match line: Jamie Benn, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Gaborik. Yea, there isn't a whole lot of connections with this line except Malkin and Gaborik are both from Eastern Europe. But hey, good for Benn to play his first game in weeks alongside the best player in the NHL the last couple of weeks in Malkin. He'll take it, I'm sure.

Two Blackhawks and a Kid line: Jordan Eberle, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa. So this line has a couple of players "out of position" but Kane is no stranger to center. We had to convert somebody to the middle and he's the easy pick seeing that he's played there this season. He gets to be alongside his Chicago buddy Hossa. Poor Eberle, he might not get to see the puck with these two guys. That won't make his fan club president (on the right) too happy.

Blackhawks and ladies? No doubt this will be Joey the Junior Reporter's favorite line to follow.

The Awkward line: Joffrey Lupul, Tyler Seguin, Phil Kessel. We saved the best for last. Yes, consider this the coup-de-grace of interesting lines. The two players -- Seguin and Kessel -- who will forever be tied to each other thanks to the trade between the Maple Leafs and Bruins, alongside another Leaf in Lupul.

“I said ‘Kess, I think we’re linemates,'" Seguin said to Kessel on Thursday (from the Boston Herald). "He said ‘That be cool. I think the media would like it.’”

Yes, Phil, yes we would.

Defensive pairings: Well we have to put Chara with Dion Phaneuf. Again, it's the Leafs-Bruins angle but also two of the more fearsome defensemen in the league. Good pairing. Ryan Suter gets paired with Kimmo Timmonen so they can find out if there is any chemistry there in case Philly is Suter's landing spot if he's traded. That leaves Brian Campbell to pair with Dennis Wideman. All I got here is Campbell is a current Panthers defenseman and Wideman used to be one.

As for a goalie to be mic'd up like Cam Ward was last year? I'm going to vote for Carey Price. Hey, any guy that does a campaign video like this and nearly spits his drink out when he's picked in the draft is probably entertaining enough to help carry the event for a period.

Enjoy the game. It will be a lot easier with some of the above intrigue. But please, leave your gripes about the lack of defense at home, we all know it's sorely lacking.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 26, 2012 9:23 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 11:42 am
 

2012 NHL All-Star Rosters

By: Adam Gretz

We knew which players were going to be taking part in the All-Star game this season, but we had no idea which team they would be playing for and who they would be playing against. It was all settled in Ottawa on Thursday night as Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson and Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, the two captains for this year's game, made their selections as you can see below in the order they were picked.

Chara won the coin toss and ended up with the first selection and chose Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk, and continued to load up on offense in the early rounds going with Evgeni Malkin, Marian Hossa and Phil Kessel.

Kessel, of course, was the last pick in the All-Star draft a year ago, but went in the eighth round this season. The last man standing this season was San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture

Two developments that should not have been a surprise to anybody: First, The Vancouver-Boston rivalry that started in last year's Stanley Cup Finals, and carried over into this season as we saw in their regular season matchup a couple of weeks ago, continued on as Chara did not pick a single Canuck.

That means that unlike last year when they were split up, the Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel, will play on the same team as they've always done throughout their time in the NHL.

Also not a surprise: Alfredsson made sure to pick every Senator in the game, ending up with Erik Karlsson (his first pick), Jason Spezza (his second pick) and Milan Michalek.

2012 NHL All-Star Rosters
Team Alfredsson Team Chara
Henrik Lundqvist (Rangers, Goalie)* Joffrey Lupul (Maple Leafs, Forward)*
Erik Karlsson (Senators, Defense) Pavel Datsyuk (Red Wings, Forward)
Jason Spezza (Senators, Forward) Tim Thomas (Bruins, Goalie)
Jonathan Quick (Kings, Goalie) Evgeni Malkin (Penguins, Forward)
Claude Giroux (Flyers, Forward) Marian Hossa (Blackhawks, Forward)
Kris Letang (Penguins, Defense) Kimmo Timonen (Flyers, Defense)
Steven Stamkos (Lightning, Forward) Corey Perry (Ducks, Forward)
Brian Elliott (Blues, Goalie) Carey Price (Canadiens, Goalie)
Shea Weber (Predators, Defense) Phil Kessel (Maple Leafs, Forward)
Daniel Sedin (Canucks, Forward) Ryan Suter (Predators, Defense)
Dan Girardi (Rangers, Defense) Jimmy Howard (Red Wings, Goalie)
Keith Yandle (Coyotes, Defense) Brian Campbell (Panthers, Defense)
Milan Michalek (Senators, Forward) Patrick Kane (Blackhawks, Forward)
Henrik Sedin (Canucks, Forward) Dion Phaneuf (Maple Leafs, Defense)
James Neal (Penguins, Forward) Jarome Iginla (Flames, Forward)
Alex Edler (Canucks, Defense) Dennis Wideman (Capitals, Defense)
John Tavares (Islanders, Forward) Marian Gaborik (Rangers, Forward)
Scott Hartnell (Flyers, Forward) Jordan Eberle (Oilers, Forward)
Jason Pominville (Sabres, Forward) Tyler Seguin (Bruins, Forward)
Logan Couture (Sharks, Forward) Jamie Benn (Stars, Forward)

(*Assistant Captain)

More NHL All-Star Game Coverage


For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 26, 2012 2:17 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 2:29 pm
 

What to look for in tonight's All-Star draft

Kessel was the last one left last year. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

I only speak for myself -- obviously -- but the draft has already become my favorite part about the All-Star weekend. It's entertaining, fun and even has some suspense. The game itself that finishes the weekend might not have any of those three features working for it.

Last year's inaugural draft in Carolina was clearly a success, that's why it's coming back this year. It's just like sitting at home plate waiting for the kickball on the mound to call your name in elementary school recess. Who doesn't look back at those days fondly (don't answer that)?

Unfortunately, some of the suspense of the event is taken away though as there are some predictable elements to the draft. You already know that captains will stick to their real-life teammates. For example, Daniel Alfredsson has already made it very clear that his first pick will no doubt be his defensive teammate with the Senators, Erik Karlsson.

The draft will take part on Thursday night at 8 ET on NBC Sports Network (here's a guide to the whole weekend courtesy of Puck the Media). It was moved up one day this year to take place on Thursday instead of Friday. Don't forget that.

With all that said, here's a guide of what to look for in the draft.

Sens will go fast: This one is a guarantee. One of them is a captain. Another one will go to Team Alfredsson likely on his first pick. The others (Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek) could very well be headed to Team Alfredsson early too. It's the hometown team with a hometown captain, he's not going to let those guys sit in the pool for very long.

Same goes for the Bruins: I'm going to take a stab in the dark here and say Tim Thomas will be the first goaltender picked, and he'll go to Team Chara. That's especially the case when you consider Team Alfredsson already has a goaltender in assistant captain Henrik Lundqvist. Tyler Seguin isn't going to last long with Chara picking either. You have to take care of your own, you know?

Kessel won't go last: There was a chance when the captains were named that you thought Phil Kessel could possibly fall to the bottom of the draft again and be Mr. Irrelevant even with the solid season he's having. But then Maple Leafs teammate Joffrey Lupul was named the assistant to Zdeno Chara and he'll likely lobby for Chara to forget some old feud and select Kessel for their team.

But one of these guys will: The pool for guys going last is pretty easy to narrow down. It's going to be a forward (rules require goalies and defensemen to go by a certain round) who is the lone representative from his team and is on the lower-profile side. That knocks out big scorers (Steven Stamkos, Corey Perry) and veterans (Jarome Iginla). That leaves five guys (not burgers and fries) to choose from -- placed in my order of least likely to go last to most likely.

John Tavares -- I think he's easiest to cross off seeing that he plays center. He's safe.

Logan Couture -- A couple weeks ago he was my pick when the teams were announced but some later additions make him safe in my mind.

Jason Pominville -- Some think he wasn't even the right Sabres player to pick, instead it should have been Thomas Vanek. Certainly good odds of going last.

Jamie Benn -- The only Stars player, the All-Star Game will actually be his first game in a couple of weeks after an appendectomy. That could actually garner him some sympathy. But he's a quiet guy, so we'll see.

Jordan Eberle -- The Oilers forward was one of the late additions because of injury. He's only 21 and in just his second season. There are ingredients for him to be the last one sitting. But as last year showed with Kessel, that can result in a nice parting package.

For the record, the oddsmakers at Bovada (formerly Bodog) have Scott Hartnell the favorite to go last at 6/1, but I think he's safer than the guys above.

Disinterested players: Of course there will be guys who look like this is one of the worst things they've had to do as a professional hockey player. That's pretty much inevitable. It's a distinct possibility the captains could look that way. Sorry, but Alfie and Chara don't exactly scream exuberance.

Boo birds: The battle of Ontario is regaining steam this season, so no doubt Lupul and Kessel will hear some boo birds (and cheers from those Leafs fans who snuck in). Poor Kessel, guy can't catch a break at this thing.

Sedin twins: Will Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin be split up again? Is it possible that Brian Burke was able to keep them together against 29 other teams but the captains can't do it against one other team? This is as good of a chance as any year ... would Chara actually pick a Canucks player?

Hazing: I'm not talking about anything serious here, but remember the things like Alex Ovechkin taking a picture of a lonely Kessel in the seats? Yea, there will be some fun being had among the players. I'm putting money down on Hartnell pulling a prank on somebody in some fashion.

Better yet, it would be better if Hartnell tripped himself after he is picked, like at least one kid does at every graduation ceremony ever hosted. It would add to the legend that is Hartnell Down.

Enjoy the show everyone. It only goes downhill from there this weekend.

More from Eye on Hockey

Full All-Star Game coverage
NHL.com: Full All-Star list

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 25, 2012 7:43 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 7:44 pm
 

Tampa mascot let go after silly string incident



By: Adam Gretz

Your bizarre NHL story of the day comes from an incident that took place during a Bruins-Lightning game in Tampa Bay last week.

Video surfaced of the Lightning mascot, Thunderbug, getting tackled from behind by a fired up Bruins fan after he was covered in silly string by said mascot.

Of course, the whole thing was as absurd as you would expect a hockey fan covered in silly string tackling a giant bug to be.

The fan was seen being escorted out of the seating area by arena security and according to WTSP in Tampa Bay, was eventually allowed to return to his seat.

The person that won't be returning to the arena, however, at least in the same capacity, is the woman that was inside the Thunderbug costume, as she will not work another game for the team according to the Lightning. While the silly string incident reportedly played a role in the dismisal, "it wasn't the only factor."

Not surprisingly, there is already a Facebook page dedicated to saving Thunderbug's job, and it's already passed 1,000 fans. So go fight the good fight, if you choose.

Personally, I find almost all mascots to be more trouble than they're worth most of the time, especially if I'm paying good money for a seat only to have a giant sideshow blocking my view of the field/court/ice for any amount of time. But that's just me.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 25, 2012 3:14 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 3:29 pm
 

Bruins hit the break on slump by their standards

Boston goes to the All-Star break 5-4-1 in its last 10. (US Presswire)

By Brian Stubits

WASHINGTON -- No team is ever as bad as it is at its worst moments nor as good as they look in their best moments. I hate clichés, but remember, they are all born out of truth. This one is no exception and is important to remember.

I bring this up in reference to the Boston Bruins, the defending Stanley Cup champions. I'd like to take you back to the beginning of the season, if I could. You'll remember the Bruins began the season 3-7-0 and people were beginning to wonder what was going on. There wasn't much but even a little doubt setting in about their chances.

Fast forward a month or two and the Bruins were on one of the most incredible stretches of hockey I've ever seen. They rattled off a 21-2-1 stretch that vaulted them back up atop the NHL perch and ran their goal differential to gaudy levels, leading many to crown them for a second time in as many years.

Like most everything, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Of course the Bruins weren't 3-7-0 bad or 21-2-1 good. But you knew that.

They leveled off and found a bit of that medium now by finishing the first half with a 5-4-1 stretch, including the final game pre-All-Star break being a 5-3 loss to the undermanned Washington Capitals on Tuesday night in D.C.

The surprising thing about that closing stretch is the where the defense has gone for the Bruins recently. This is a team that not only scores goals galore on teams but doesn't allow others to score. That's why they led the league last year in goal differential and are doing so again this season. They are truly a two-way team, elite two-way players like Patrice Bergeron fit the bill.

When the conceded five goals to the Caps -- minus Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, mind you -- it marked the third time in five games the Bruins gave up five goals. So of course I had to ask coach Claude Julien about his team's defense.

"Talk about our defense? There was none," Julien said after the loss. "The way we played tonight we gave them their goals, there's no question about that. The turnovers from our Ds, the type of goals we gave them certainly are disappointing for our team."

It's certainly out of character to see the Bruins giving up as much as they have lately. It's not their style. So with how porous the defense has been of late, I'd say it's a pretty good testament to how strong this team is even when they aren't playing very well that their not riding a losing streak.

In the 10 games since their 9-0 clobbering of the Flames on Jan. 7, Boston has surrendered 33 goals, an average of 3.3 goals per game. That's not exactly up to their standard. It's safe to say that for the second time this season, the B's have hit a slump, the thing is they are scoring enough this time around to avoid another 3-7-0 stretch.

"Bottom line is we've got to play better, we know that," Julien said. "Saying that is one thing, you just have to make sure you make it happen. Hopefully in a week that will happen."

One thing I have not seen mentioned much with the Bruins in the first half of the season: They actually had it pretty easy from the schedule makers. They had a little spurt of games before the All-Star break that brought them closer to the rest of the league in terms of games played. For the majority of the season they had played a lighter schedule than all the other teams with many games in hand.

Moreover, they were spending a lot of time at home in the comfy confines of Boston. Even after playing six of the last seven games on the road, they still have played three more home games than away. So maybe it's no coincidence that they have hit another bump in the road.

"It's not the way we wanted to head into the break and we realize we have to be better," Bergeron said. "We can't just rely on playing a good first, bad second and just think everything is going to come up in the third period and we're going to win the game. It's not going to happen all the time, we've been lucky when it did and now we need to realize that."

I'd say there hasn't been much luck involved for the Bruins. You don't get those kinds of goal differentials by way of luck. It's teams like the Panthers, who are minus-14 in scoring, who have been a bit lucky to have their playoff position. I mean, the Bruins still have the league's best plus/minus mark at plus-69, an incredible number through 47 games.

Slumps happen, obviously even to teams that seem slump-proof. The difference between the Bruins and most of the other teams is that they can sustain a .500 pace even through the bad times, such as now.

"We need to be better," Bergeron said.

That's because 5-4-1 is seen as not good enough with these Bruins. That's a serious standard. That will go a lot further in telling you what kind of team the Bruins are than any stretch of play this season. They have downs and a lot more ups. But it's that understanding that treading water isn't good enough that shows how good they are to me.

More from Eye on Hockey

Recap: Caps 5, Bruins 3
Thomas called selfish, speculation starts
Bruins honored in White House visit
Thomas explains skipping White House

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 25, 2012 10:41 am
Edited on: January 25, 2012 3:30 pm
 

Report: Thomas called selfish; Speculation starts

Thomas had a chance to be heard and he took it. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The biggest non-news story of the hockey season -- the defending champions visiting the White House and meeting the President of the United States -- is mushrooming into one of the bigger stories this season. Sadly, that might not be hyperbole based on the latest reports out of Boston.

By now you surely know about Tim Thomas' decision to not join his teammates on their trip to the White House. He instead chose to skip it as a protest to what he later revealed in his Facebook statement is the ever-expanding reach of the federal government. It ignited a wildfire that's leading people to thinking some awfully irrational things.

First, here is what is being said from within the Bruins organization, outside of their public statements. From Fluto Shinzawa at the Boston Globe:

It was Timmy being Timmy.

“[Expletive] selfish [expletive]," one team source said.

But that's not the view from everybody. Milan Lucic was on the record saying it didn't bother him and Shinzawa reported two team sources didn't believe Thomas' decision would have any negative effects in the locker room, it's par for Timmy's course.

Sounds pretty similar to another player in Boston sports (Manny Ramirez, anyone?) In the case of Ramirez, the Red Sox put up with his antics for some time before he was eventually pushed out of town.

Could that actually be a possibility for Thomas? After all, as Shinzawa writes (and makes clear with Timmy being Timmy) he is a bit of a lone wolf. He's a goaltender, and you know it's OK to categorize every goalie out there as a wackjob.

The answer is maybe, according to Shinzawa.

Thomas’s decision, however, may be the first step in goalie and team parting ways. His no-movement clause expires at the conclusion of this season. Thomas has one more season remaining on his four-year, $20 million contract. Rask, a restricted free agent at year’s end, should be ready to assume the starting job in 2012-13.

Now you know this story is getting out of hand. Look, I'd understand trading Thomas from a hockey perspective. I think it would be a mistake and would be stupid, but I understand it. He's up there in age at 37, his value is still incredibly high and Tuukka Rask has proven to be more than capable. The hockey aspect makes sense ... except when you remember that Thomas is arguably still the best in the world and can lead the Bruins to back-to-back Stanley Cups this season. Don't forget that little aspect of the equation.

I haven't understood this whole soap opera at any point. I've seen people complaining that Thomas decided to politicize an event that wasn't about politics. The way I see it, this was the most political thing any of the Bruins players have done in their careers. It's certainly more political than all the time they spend playing games, practicing or traveling. Should he instead have had a grandstanding session after a November shutout in the locker room? He was presented with a chance to make a political statement and he took it.

Further, I'd argue that this didn't take away from the Bruins' day at the White House at all. What this Thomas story did is actually make people remember that the Bruins visited the White House period. It's an event that is a photo op where the honoring from the president lasts literally less than 10 minutes. A lot of people have no idea that the St. Louis Cardinals just had the same honor a week ago. It was hardly news.

But now? Oh, everybody knows the Bruins visited the White House as the reigning champions. This whole saga has only shined a brighter light on the visit.

There are others that don't care what Thomas has to say about politics, he's just a hockey player. I see that all the time and it irritates me to no end. So because somebody is an athlete they can't have their own ideologies? The difference between Thomas and that neighbor of yours who litters his yard with political signs is that Thomas has a bigger platform. He wanted to get a message across and he did it.

I don't know who the source was that so eloquently called Thomas selfish, obviously. But I'd bet that even that person wouldn't want Thomas off the team. I was in the locker room with the Bruins last night, we in the media saw Thomas walking around munching on a postgame snack and going into the changing area with the other players. He didn't appear to be in any kind of awkward state of avoidance.

I can't see how this becomes a seriously divisive issue as some make it out to be. Are the other guys going to be so upset that they stop playing in front of Thomas and hinder their own goal of repeating as champs? Or might it be a distraction with the team and Thomas being asked about it?

Doubtful. Thomas is a strong-willed person, that's evident. He said in his Facebook statement that this was the only thing he was going to say on the whole fiasco. That's it. When he is eventually asked by the media, you already know he is going to defiantly say he's not talking about it. That will be that.

So Thomas has a bit of a selfish side and this let it be seen to the rest of the world. So what? Chalk it up to goalies being goalies (or Timmy being Timmy, in this case) and move on, I have little doubt the players will.

In the meantime, I'm left wondering how many write-in votes Thomas will get in this year's presidential election because you just know he'll get some.

More from Eye on Hockey

B's hit break on slump by their standards
Thomas explains decision to skip White House
Bruins honored in visit to White House

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com