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Tim Thomas Just Had The Greatest Season By a Goalie…EVER

June 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Often times people get caught up in the moment and proclaim that whatever is now is best.  “Lebron James is the greatest of all-time”, “Green Bay Packers are on the verge of a dynasty”, “Dirk Nowitzki is the 2nd best Power Forward of all time”, etc.  Hyperbole dominates our world in the 24 hour news cycle…so I figured I’d join in. I am not going to say that Tim Thomas is the best goalie of all time, but he did just have the greatest season of all time.

Heading into this season it wasn’t even clear that Tim Thomas would be the Boston Bruins full-time starter in net.  He had suffered a hip injury in the previous season and lost his job to a bright young prospect, Tuuka Rask.  Tim Thomas is a fighter. He rebounded from his injury and turned in a spectacular regular season.

Regular Season Stats

  • Record: 35-11-9
  • Shutouts: 9
  • Goals Against Average: 2.00
  • Save Percentage: .938

Those numbers are historically good.  His save % mark of .938 is the greatest ever.  What is even more impressive is that the Bruins gave up a ton of shots during the regular season.  He is a slam dunk for the Vezina Trophy, and really should have been given serious Hart Trophy consideration.  He was clearly the MVP of the Bruins during the regular season.

Post Season Stats

  • Record: 16-9 (emphasis on the 16 because that is all that really matters)
  • Shutouts: 4
  • Goals Against Average: 1.98
  • Save Percentage: .940

Tim Thomas’s post season is perhaps more remarkable than his regular season.  Thomas played a ton of games during the regular season, and I sure thought that perhaps his 37 year-old body would wear down during the grind of the playoffs.  That never happened.  Then just when you thought Tim Thomas couldn’t play any better, he took his game to another level and dominated the Stanley Cup Finals. He hit was clearly in the heads of the Canucks.  Vancouver lost their minds. They complained about being out of his crease. Bieksa had the nerve to call him “leaky” after game 4. Luongo told the world that Thomas sucks and that he is better after game 5.  Thomas even nailed one of the Sedin Sisters and almost fought Burrows.  The guy did everything and completely deserved the Conn Smythe.  Nobody else was really in the discussion.

The numbers don’t lie, but they don’t tell the whole story either.  Thomas is a hockey player.  He is confident, aggressive, a battler, a leader, a class act, humble, clutch, and easily the most entertaining goaltender I have ever witnessed.  Hats off to Thomas on the greatest season ever by a goalie.

 

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Stanley Cup Finals Game 6: Why I hate the Canucks Part Two

June 13, 2011 14 comments

After Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals,  I did a post on why I hate the Canucks.  Well, one post on this subject isn’t nearly enough.  This series has brought to light everything that is wrong with Vancouver.  Every time I feel like I have reached a point where I can’t hate them any more than I already do, the Canucks baffle me and reach a new low.  I was always acutely aware of their on-ice act.  Whining, chirping, diving, flying elbows to the head, hair pulling, biting(well biting is a new one, but not shocking coming from scum like Burrows) etc were all to be expected when the Vancouver Canucks were on the schedule.  However, I had no idea that they were this smug and this arrogant.

I am paraphrasing here, but these are some direct quotes from the Canucks after their Game 5 win:

“Look, it doesn’t matter that I gave up 12 goals in games 3 and 4…I am better than Tim Thomas.  I would have saved that one he let in.  It was an easy save.  I am not going to sit here and keep giving Thomas compliments when he hasn’t said one nice thing about me all series. Tim Thomas is my hero and it really hurts my feelings.”–Roberto Luongo

“If I had a time machine, I’d still launch myself into Nathan Horton’s skull. Wouldn’t change a thing. It was only two seconds late and he shouldn’t have been looking at a teammate when trying to get ready for a return pass.  Its Horton’s fault I tried to give him brain damage.  I am the victim here.  The NHL isn’t consistent with their punishments.  I mean Burrows bites a guy and gets nothing, and I try to decapitate a guy and I get 4 games? How is that fair?”–Aaron Rome

“The fact that the Sedins haven’t scored one point and are like minus 23 combined for the series, doesn’t mean that they aren’t playing well or that Chara is shutting them down completely.”–Elaine Vigneault

If those three direct quotes didn’t convince you that the Vancouver Canucks are not only gutless, but also smug and arrogant maybe the story the Boston Globe is breaking will do the trick.  Not only did the Canucks plan a parade that would take place after Game 5 victory, but they also tried to sell the broadcast rights to the event.  So basically the Canucks just thought they could roll over the Bruins when it took them 6 games to beat Nashville, and 7 games to beat the Blackhawks.  Arrogant.  Hey guess what Vancouver…nobody wants to watch your stupid parade that’s 40 years in the making(that probably won’t even happen).  America hates you, the rest of Canada hates you, Sweden probably hates you, so you’ll probably end up having to put it on Vancouver Public access TV or something. Maybe U-stream.

DROP THE PUCK. I am ready for blood.  Rise up Boston.  Bruins 4, Nucks 1. So it was written, so let it be done.

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NHL Finals Preview

May 31, 2011 1 comment

The Stanley Cup Finals are almost here.  The Vancouver Canucks haven’t won the Stanley Cup in their 40 years of being an NHL franchise and the Boston Bruins haven’t won the Cup since Bobby Orr lifted it in 1972.  One of these teams will end a long draught, and the Vancouver Canucks are the heavy favorite.  The series will ultimately come down a few key matchups and situations. 

Chara vs The Sedins

Both the Sedins and Chara have had their fair share of playoff woes.  This year has been different for Chara though.  Since recovering from an illness against the Montreal Canadiens, Chara has been in Norris Trophy form.  He has been the anchor of the Boston Bruins defense and did an admirable job against the Tampa Bay Lightning’s top scorers St. Louis, Lecavalier, and Stamkos.  The Sedins have largely struggled in the playoffs again this season.  Dave Bolland’s return mid way through round one caused a scoring draught that lasted through the second round series against Nashville.  Once the Sedins were clear of players like Bolland, Keith, Seabrook, Shea Weber, and Ryan Suter, they enjoyed more success.  Chara is on top of his game right now and an absolute beast of a man.  He will punish the Sedin Sisters and shut them down for the majority of the series. Advantage: Boston

Tim Thomas vs Roberto Luongo

One is an all-american underdog success story.  The other is a mentally weak, french Canadian grease ball.  Luongo has a history of epic collapses in the post-season and was even benched for Game 6 in the Chicago series after getting lit up in games 4 and 5.  Luongo will most likely have at least one game where he is shaky and that could be the difference in a tightly contested series.  Tim Thomas had arguably the greatest season ever by a goalie and should a unanimous selection for the Vezina Trophy.  He must out play Luongo for the Bruins to win the series.  Advantage: Boston

Special Teams:

This could be the deciding factor for the series.  The Vancouver Canucks power-play and penalty kill have had great success throughout the regular season and playoffs. The Bruins special teams have been awful.  Their penalty kill rate should probably have been better, but Tim Thomas has let in the occasional ill-timed soft goal.  The Bruins’ powerplay is converting at a horrendous 8% in the playoffs.  They are so desperate that have moved Chara in front of the net.  While I am not an advocate of taking Chara’s bomb of a slapshot off out of the equation, Luongo has had difficulty in the past dealing with over-sized bodies at the top of his crease. Advantage: Vancouver

X-Factors

Ryan Kesler is the key to the series for the Canucks.  I can easily envision Kesler exploding offensively against Boston, much the same way he did against Nashville. He won’t have as difficult of a task in this series.  Boston has great depth, but they don’t possess an elite offensive player like Toews or Joe Thornton that will occupy Kesler’s attention.  Given more freedom, Kesler could be a force at both ends and win the Conn Smythe Trophy

Tyler Seguin.  Seguin needs to make plays in this series for Boston to win.  The Canucks like to play a more open style which could create opportunities for Boston’s most talented player.  Seguin is the only Bruin capable of creating an opportunity out of thin air, and if Claude Julien allows him to get more than 5 minutes a game, Seguin could make enough special plays to give Boston an edge.

Final Analysis:

My heart says Bruins, my head says Canucks, and my balls say Bruins.  Usually when my balls and heart agree it’s a recipe for disaster…but I don’t care.  Bruins in 7. Suck it Canada.

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