Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Boston Bruins
Posted on: January 23, 2012 6:27 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 9:28 pm
 

Thomas explains decision to not visit White House

Thomas elected not to visit the White House with teammates (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

WASHINGTON -- The Boston Bruins were at the White House on Monday to meet President Barack Obama. Well, almost all of them.

There was one very notable absence as the Bruins were honored in the East Room of the White House. Nobody could seem to find Tim Thomas among the crowd of players in the background. Soon enough, word got out that he elected to skip the event.

"He chose not to come. The reasons behind it I think he'll make the media aware through his Facebook," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said after the ceremony.

Sure enough, the reasons were made clear. Here is the message Thomas posted a little after 6 ET on his Facebook page.

I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.

This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.

Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.

This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT

There was a lot of anger across the hockey world on Monday because of Thomas' decision not to show up. I don't understand it one bit.

Let me say that I, myself, would never turn down an opportunity to be honored by the President of the United States, no matter how much I dislike him. It's about the office, the individual.

With that said, I have zero problem with Thomas passing on it. None at all. He has his beliefs and convictions and has every right to stand up for them. To the people who are complaining that he is being selfish and taking away from the team's spotlight, I say mission: accomplished. Look how much attention he is getting because of this and thus getting his political views shared with everybody.

"Everybody has their own opinions and political beliefs. He chose not to join us," team president Cam Neely told the media after the ceremony. "We certainly would have liked to have him come and join us but that's his choice. All the guys came except for Tim. It's his decision and his choice."

Neely would later release another statement on the matter, this time a little more officially than his after-ceremony comments to the media.

"As an organization we were honored by President Obama's invitation to the White House. It was a great day and a perfect way to cap our team's achievement from last season. It was a day that none of us will soon forget. We are disappointed that Tim chose not to join us, and his views certainly do not reflect those of the Jacobs family or the Bruins organization. This will be the last public comment from the Bruins organization on this subject."

Nobody should be upset about this, it's just not a big deal. He declined to go, so be it. What's the big deal?

My only issue with it is that it added a more newsy element to an otherwise light-hearted day for the Bruins. Well that and the mixing of hockey and politics. That's never a good idea.

There are so many mixed feelings on all of this, and I'm not talking about the politics themselves. Of course people won't agree on that. But sometimes you have athletes who are chided for not caring enough, not using their positions of power to make an impact. Then when players do just that, they get ripped for sharing their political views; why do we care what a goaltender thinks about big government?

I say anything that leads to discussion can't hurt. And after seeing some of the players and team officials after the ceremony, I don't think it detracted much from their experiences either. Really, this is a case of no harm, no foul for me. The man had a choice to make and he made it.

More from Eye on Hockey

Bruins honored at the White House

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

Posted on: January 23, 2012 6:02 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 8:11 pm
 

B's honored at White House while Thomas declines

By Brian Stubits

WASHINGTON -- The Boston Bruins had the honor and privilege to visit the White House and President Barack Obama on Monday, continuing a long tradition of sports champions being honored by the POTUS.

Not everybody was there -- the whole nation is looking at you Tim Thomas -- but the majority of the Bruins were. Heck, even old friend Tomas Kaberle made the trip in to visit the White House and take in his vetting of the Bruins for their Stanley Cup championship.

Here is video (apologies for the shakiness, a guy can only do so much holding a camera over his head) of the president addressing the Bruins and congratulating them.

Lord Stanley's Cup was there, so was NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Former presidential candidate and Massachusetts senator John Kerry was there, parked out in the front row. The throng of media members surrounded all of the family members and people of the Bruins organization for the vetting. It was a special day for all the Bruins.

It also had the obligatory Zdeno Chara is tall talk and presidential jokes. Although his first one of the short ceremony was a bit more candid.

"The Bruins, the Sox, the Celtics, now the Patriots. Enough already, Boston," Obama said. "What's going on, huh?"

The only downside to the afternoon was the absence of Thomas, who elected to skip the event on his own merit.

"He chose not to come. The reasons behind it I think he'll make the media aware through his Facebook," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said after the ceremony.

It put a damper on the day for the Bruins, the story of Thomas being a no-show, but not too much. For the players it was still a treat. I had the chance to catch up with Brad Marchand afterward in the Diplomatic Room and the excitement of the day was still very evident, even after the president gave Marchand a little ribbing, noting one of his many nicknames of the "Little Ball of Hate."

It was a day fit for champions, and almost all of them were there. Almost.

More from Eye on Hockey

Thomas explains his decision to not visit White House

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

Posted on: January 22, 2012 3:19 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2012 3:34 pm
 

Bruins' Andrew Ference suspended three games

By Brian Stubits

Brendan Shanahan works on weekends too.

The NHL's chief disciplinarian handed down a three-game suspension to Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference on Sunday for his boarding of Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh in Saturday's game.

We'll let Shanny take it from here.

This ruling is all about the hit, so the three-game punishment makes it pretty clear Shanahan didn't like it one bit. He describes the play being in clear violation of the boarding rule, highlighting the part about pushing a player from behind.

The things that Shanahan really accentuates about the hit are the factors of how far from the boards that Ference pushed McDonagh on the play and how there was plenty of time for Ference to read the situation and react differently.

The other two factors that Shanny considers -- injuries on the play and previous discipline -- are non-factors here. McDonagh doesn't appear to have suffered an injury on the hit and Ference's only discipline history in his 12-year career is a fine for a foul gesture (remember this one in the playoffs last season?)

My take: Three games is fair. The precedent for such hits falls in line here. If anything, I thought maybe two games considering factors two and three, but if the league wants to get these messages across they will have to continue to hand out stiff punishments.

More NHL Discipline news

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

Posted on: January 21, 2012 4:08 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2012 10:41 pm
 

Ference charging penalty proves costly for Bruins

By: Adam Gretz

The Boston Bruins are a physical team. An extremely physical team. It's what they do, and it's a large part of why they won the Stanley Cup last season (Tim Thomas had a lot to do with it, too, of course) and why they've been one of best teams, if not the best team, in the NHL over the first half of this season.

Sometimes, however, they can take it a bit too far, as was the case in overtime of their 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday, a game that did not fail to live up to the expectations that existed heading into it.

Just a little over a minute into the extra period, with the game even at two, Boston's Andrew Ference was guilty of a costly charging penalty when he sent Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh flying face-first into the boards.

This is the play that resulted in a five-minute major penalty, as well as a game misconduct, and will most likely earn a second look from the NHL  with the possibility for some supplemental discipline:



Said Rangers coach John Tortorella after the game: "One of the most dangerous hits I've seen in a while. It's an easy call to make"

Not only did it leave the Bruins shorthanded for the remainder of the overtime period, and without the services of Ference, it also led to the game-winning goal off the stick of Rangers sniper Marian Gaborik with just three seconds remaining in overtime.

It was Gaborik's second tally of the game and his 25th of the season, moving him into a three-way tie (along with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel) for third place in the goal-scoring race.

Now we wait to see how many (if any) games Ference has to sit for the Bruins.

Update: Ference is scheduled to have a phone hearing on Sunday, meaning that if he is suspended it will be no more than five games.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 20, 2012 12:57 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 3:50 pm
 

Weekend Preview: Rangers and Bruins finally meet

McDonagh's and Seguin's teams renew acquaintances. (Getty Images)

Weekend Schedules: Friday | Saturday | Sunday

By Brian Stubits

Thanks to the scheduling quirks of the NHL, it has taken us until the end of January to get a dose of some real New York-Boston feuding in hockey. No offense to the Devils and the Islanders, but the city-to-city rivalry is reserved for pretty much only the Rangers against the Bruins.

This season, though, the wait has seemed even longer than it really has been. That's because of the little fact that for the first team in a long, long time, the Bruins and Rangers are the best two teams in the Eastern Conference.

There has been some bemoaning lately of the lack of rivalries in hockey. Well this isn't on par with Yankees-Red Sox in baseball, but there's always a little extra flair when it's New York vs. Boston. This one should have a lot of extra flair.

Nobody at this point will dispute the Rangers are one of the best teams in the league this season. You'd be foolish to try. But there are people, myself included, who are still wondering exactly how good are the Rangers? Well what better way to find out than to send them to the hornets’ nest that is TD Garden in Boston to face the defending champs?

Although it’s too bad we could have had this game a week or so ago. By their standards this season, each of these teams has lost some steam going into the game. The Bruins are only 6-4-0 in their last 10 (gasp!) while the Rangers just slightly better at 7-3-0. I laugh about it a little but it was just in the last two weeks that each of these teams had won nine of 10 games.

One of the tricks for each of the coaches is to find ways to keep pushing their guys in the middle of the season, particularly when you've had as much success as these two Original Six squads have. Sometimes that can be as simple as finding a bear to poke (pun clearly intended).

Bruins coach Claude Julien took his poking stick to the midsection of Nathan Horton this week on the Bruins' recent road trip.

"Horton has got to pick up his game. No ifs or buts about it," Julien said after the shootout win at Florida. "A guy his size needs to get more physically involved. He needs to compete a lot harder. He's skating hard, you can see it on the backcheck ... but we need more from him. When he's emotionally engaged, he scores goals and he's a difference-maker. He's got to find his game. We're at the point where we're a little shorthanded and we need him to step up."

Horton responded by scoring twice in the loss to the Lightning and then one more in the win on Thursday night against the Devils. That might be mission: accomplished.

It looks like Rangers coach John Tortorella has his own target to try and prod.

Brad Richards was the star they brought to New York this summer to give Marian Gaborik that other scoring threat and finally give Henrik Lundqvist some much-deserved support. In that regard, Richards has been alright. But that's it.

In 45 games he has 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points while carrying a minus-3. That stat still means very little, plus/minus, but on a team like the Rangers, it's tough to be negative. He and Ruslan Fedotenko are the only players on the team with more than 10 games played that are in the red.

Going into the game against the Bruins, Richards hasn't tallied a single point in the last six games. Obviously that's not very good, particularly for a guy making $6.7 million per season.

While Tortorella didn't go anywhere close to the level of criticism that Julien did with Horton, he at least made it known that Richards needs to step up some. From Ranger Rants:

Coach John Tortorella said he didn’t want to analyze individual performances after the game when asked specifically about Staal and Brad Richards. But he acknowledged that Richards’ game wasn’t spot on right now (he was a minus-1 in 16:46 though he won 12 of 16 faceoffs).

If the Rangers can get a point-per-game pace out of Richards like he has been doing for most of the past few seasons, then watch out.

This will be the first of four matchups between the foes this season and each will very likely go a long way in determining who gets home-ice advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

If that leaves you wanting more ...

... Then you'll get it. There is no better way to spend Saturday if you're a hockey fan than to tune in to the NHL Network. Once that Rangers-Bruins tilt is done it's on to the next, but it takes no backseat to the first game.

The Vancouver Canucks seem to have a lot of rivalries these days. We all know about their ongoing feud with the Bruins, they have a fierce battle with the Chicago Blackhawks and pretty much any team from Canada.

But don't forget about their rivals to the south in San Jose, too. They've had some damn good playoff battles as well, including that Western Conference final matchup a season ago where Kevin Bieksa was the only person on the ice who knew what the heck was going on.

The Sharks are an interesting team to me. Perhaps it's a situation of just getting used to it, being desensitized to them, but once again they are right there in the race for the Presidents' Trophy this season. Remember, they have games in hand on every single Western Conference team.

Yet they are just quietly trudging along on the West Coast. It's expected from them now to be honest. That's a great compliment to give to the ownership and front office in San Jose.

Unlike the Eastern powers mentioned above, these Western heavies have already met three times this season, so when they dance on Saturday night in Vancouver, it's the last time they'll see each other until next season. Unless ...

Hot, hot, hot!

The Ottawa Senators are 12-2-2 since Kyle Turris came to town. They are in the midst of a very challenging road trip to the West Coast, starting it off with a win on Thursday in San Jose.

When they looked at the itinerary for the road trip, they had to look at the Saturday visit to Anaheim as a little bit of a reprieve on the tough trip. Not anymore.

It took a while, but Bruce Boudreau is seeing the Ducks play the way we all thought they would this season. All of a sudden, these are the two hottest teams in the NHL (what?!?). The Ducks are 6-0-1 in their last seven games in their own right.

It's likely well past the time for them to get back into the playoff picture. Even with these 13 points in seven games, they are still 13 points behind Colorado for the eighth spot in the West. What a really strong finish can do, though, is affect the way general manager Bob Murray views his team and thus how much of a seller the Ducks will be at the Feb. 27 trade deadline.

In the meantime, each of the Sens and Ducks gets a heat check in one of the few places in either the USA or Canada that it's actually warm right now, Southern California.

Familiar foes

Friday night will feature some old friends facing off as the Florida Blackhawks visit the Chicago Panthers. Wait ...

Since Dale Tallon took over in Florida as general manager, the Panthers have taken on quite a strong feeling of the Blackhawks. They currently carry five former players from Chicago: John Madden, Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg, Tomas Kopecky and Jack Skille. Of them, only Skille wasn't a contributor to the Stanley Cup a couple of seasons ago.

To make that happen obviously Tallon had to send some of his Panthers players to GM Stan Bowman in Chicago. It's not as strong the other way but the Blackhawks currently employ former Panthers Michal Frolik, Steve Montador and have Rostislav Olesz and Alexander Salak in the system.

But the player to watch in this battle? How about Andrew Shaw, who is quickly making a big name for himself in Chicago. The 20-year-old forward who was a fifth-round pick by the 'Hawks has five points in the last four games on the strength of a goal in each game. That's led to the Twitter hashtag of #ShawFacts where fans have taken their best Chuck Norris jokes and tailored them for Shaw.

Something else worth watching: With weather conditions as bad as they are in Chicago this weekend, will the Panthers have any problems getting out of town and into Winnipeg in time for their game Saturday against the Jets?

Speak of old friends ...

What would the Tampa Bay Lightning give to have the summer over and keep Mike Smith instead of Dwayne Roloson?

The Bolts will get the chance to see firsthand what has happened to Smith since he moved to the desert this offseason. For those not in the know, what has happened is that he has become a quality starting goaltender for the Coyotes.

The Lightning are giving up more goals than any team in the league. Don't you think Smith and his 2.41 goals against average would be handy in Tampa Bay this season?

Then again, it probably wouldn't be too much different if the defenders in front of Smith were playing the same/as injured as they are in front of Roloson and Mathieu Garon.

Fun doesn't stop Saturday

On Sunday there is a nice pair of battles for matinee games in the Eastern Conference.

The Bruins will take on another one of the I-95 corridor powers in the Philadelphia Flyers while the Pittsburgh Penguins will host the Washington Capitals for their final bout this season. It might be a bit watered down without Sidney Crosby playing, but it's still worth watching.

Both games are worth it, so get ready to wear out the "last" button on your remote.

We're going streaking!

A look at the winning and losing streaks heading into the weekend.

Penguins: Remember how they just lost six in a row? This is how you rebound from that. The Pens take a four-game winning streak into Friday night's game against the Canadiens before the game against the Caps.

Detroit Red Wings: For the moment, they have taken the lead in the Central Division, which is an unbelievable race this season. Their five straight wins will be put on the line Saturday vs. the Blue Jackets.

St. Louis Blues: They are doing what they can to keep pace with the Red Wings and Blackhawks, and they're doing it just fine. They ride a three-game run into a home game against the Sabres, losers of 10 straight on the road.

Buffalo Sabres: As just mentioned, 10 straight road losses, four in a row overall. Only the one chance in St. Louis to snap it this weekend.

Panthers: They haven't won a game in their last three chances but they have picked up points in two of those three. The double dip this weekend is at Chicago and at Winnipeg.

Minnesota Wild: The ship keeps on sinking. Remember when they were first in the NHL? I hardly do either. Four straight losses and Dallas on tap this weekend.

Dallas Stars: Misery loves company, I suppose. Dallas brings its own losing streak of three games into the weekend, but they get Tampa Bay before facing the Wild.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.
Posted on: January 19, 2012 9:58 pm
 

Henrik Tallinder to miss 6-8 weeks

By: Adam Gretz

The New Jersey Devils are going to be without one of their top defenseman, Henrik Tallinder, for the next 6-8 weeks as announced by general manager Lou Lamoriello on Thursday night.

Lamoriello said that the veteran was diagnosed with acute thrombophlebitis (a blood clot) in his leg, which is obviously not a good thing.

In 39 games this season he's recorded six assists and has played an average of just over 21 minutes per game, second most on the team, trailing only rookie Adam Larsson.

The Devils lost to the Bruins, 4-1, on Thursday night, and currently sit in the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference with 54 points.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 19, 2012 12:57 pm
 

Pronger's wife: He has his good days and bad

By Brian Stubits

Chris Pronger's season was shut down by the Philadelphia Flyers more than a month ago after it was revealed Pronger was suffering from post-concussion syndrome. It's been tough on the Flyers captain, not only dealing with the symptoms but also dealing with not playing.

With a lot of the concussed players, you hear about them having good days and bad days. It affects them so much each day is defined so starkly (and easily, unfortunately).

That's the case too for Pronger. His wife Lauren attended an event that both she and her husband were supposed to be at but Chris had to stay home as it was a bad day. Lauren talked with CSN Philadelphia about how tough it has been for her husband and family.

It's pretty tough to hear, particularly at the end of the video when you can tell that Lauren is doing her best to remain composed, saying that they would love to just have a couple of good days in a row.

Sadly, it's starting to sound similar to what Boston Bruins forward Marc Savard is going through with his post-concussion symptoms.

Tweets like the following are common for Savard to share.

There is a reason why you hear so much about concussions and all the steps to prevent them, because what these guys are going through can sometimes be the result.

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

Posted on: January 18, 2012 1:04 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 1:08 pm
 

Alfredsson, Chara named All-Star Game captains

By Brian Stubits

We're another step closer toward determining the All-Star lineups as the captains were announced for the game to be played later this month in Ottawa. Remember, they will be in charge of actually selecting the teams like a schoolyard kickball match, something the NHL first tried last season.

One of them was the lock of the century in Daniel Alfredsson. The longtime Senators captain will be the boss for one of the two teams and will have the task of being his own GM -- minus salary cap constraints, of course.

The other spot was a battle that likely came down to three names: Dion Phaneuf, Jarome Iginla and Zdeno Chara. It was eventually Chara who got the honor, a really good choice. First of all, he was a member of the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins a season ago and won the Norris Trophy for his efforts. Secondly, he was an Ottawa Senator once upon a time. So that Project Mayhem won out a little in the end after all.

“It’s gonna be interesting. It’s another honor on top of being selected as an All-Star. I found out this morning, so I’m a little bit surprised,” Chara said on Wednesday (via CSN New England). “I’m going to at least try to see how it is to be in the position that some GMs are in, or people that are making those decisions. In a group of players that are being selected I don’t think you can make a wrong choice.

“I’m not going to do too much research, but I’m going to do the best job I can to build the best possible team.”

The possibilities abound. The biggest question mark that we'll have to watch for in the draft is Chara and Phil Kessel or Chara and the Canucks. First with Kessel, the two didn't seem to have the best relationship while they were together with the Bruins, but Chara doesn't think that will matter when it comes to draft (again from CSN).

“I don’t know. We’ll see how it goes. Somebody has to go last,” said Chara with a smile on his face. “I don’t know if they’ll have a car for him or something else ... we’ll see how it goes.”

I would say with the season Kessel is having, the other team will take that problem off Chara's hands and select Kessel, but remember, we're talking about a member of the Maple Leafs here. The Battle of Ontario is picking up some steam again and Alfredsson might not be all that crazy about having a member of the Leafs on his team either.

Could another Mr. Irrelevant car be coming Kessel's way? I'll still say no.

I don't know about you, but this draft might have become my favorite part of the All-Star Weekend last year. It's fun and a good chance to see the players interacting. It's certainly better than the game itself (other than Cam Ward on the goalie mic, that was entertaining).

Previously at Eye On Hockey

Dissecting All-Star selections; predictions

Photo: Getty Images

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