Whether it was the reaction from the fans on Tuesday night after watching the Bruins simply fall apart in the 3rd period, giving up four unanswered goals to the Canadiens and handing them two very important points at this place in the season. Or perhaps they were watching NESN’s version of Coach’s Corner with Don Cherry as he, not only called out Milan Lucic for “quitting” in his fight with Toronto’s Colton Orr, but also called out the team’s lack of physical presence on the ice as of late. Whatever it was, it certainly seems that the much needed fire has been lit under the Bruins this week.
Tim Thomas clearly seems to have found that much needed confidence that he’s been missing for a month or so. It was great to see that Vezina caliber goaltending Thursday night against the Maple Leafs. Among other things robbing Toronto on five wide open breakaways, including one by former Bruin Phil Kessel that got the “Tough on Timmy” Garden crowd on their feet and back in his corner real fast. In the shootout he was no different; starting off with a big save on Kessel and not letting up one bit, stonewalling all the Leafs shooters to get the B’s their first win in the Garden since December 30th. Earlier this afternoon Thomas looked like he was on a mission to prove that his performance in the Toronto game wasn’t a fluke. He turned away 37 shots (33 in the last two periods) and looked very much in control of his game in the 3-2 win over the Islanders.
An unfortunate note to come out of today’s game is the Michael Ryder hit from behind on Blake Comeau. Ryder received a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for the hit and in my opinion will probably be getting a 2-3 game suspension. After watching the hit probably a dozen or so times in the last few hours I don’t feel it was a “dirty” hit. But it was definitely a very careless hit. It looks like Comeau put himself in a vulnerable position when he really didn’t have to. However it also seemed like Ryder could have pulled up a bit on the hit. We’ll see what Colin Campbell and the NHL have to say about it tomorrow.
Thursday night I was at the Garden for the Maple Leafs game so I didn’t get to see Don Cherry’s comments on NESN, but based on the reactions I was reading on Twitter during the first intermission I knew I had to check the DVR as soon as I got home. Those of you that don’t watch Hockey Night in Canada (Sat. nights on NHL Network in the US & CBC in Canada) on a regular basis are probably not use to Don Cherry’s style of commentary. But if you are use to Grapes and can read through his blunt use of words, like I can, you’ll know that he’s a Bruin through and through. But as much as his blood runs black-and-gold, it also has an equal amount of red-and-white in it. He’s a Canadian that loves his big, tough Canadian boys… What am I getting at? Don calling out Milan Lucic and the Bruins lack of hitting is his way of showing that he’s frustrated, like most of us have been, in their play as of late. Like he said, “If you’re not going to score, at least hit someone!” It’s a very valid point… As good has the Bruins have been in the last couple games and in the four wins prior to the Olympic break, they’re physical game is still extremely lacking and has been for the better part of the season. Lucic’s role on the team has been to bring a lot of the physicality and due to the couple bouts with injuries this season Milan’s had quite a bit of trouble finding his game. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it, this is a team that needs to play angry. The more physical the games the better the Bruins seem to perform. So while we don’t have a 30 goal scoring sniper on the team, we do have a good number of guys that can throw a body check or two. They are going to have to be the ones stepping it up through the back half of the season, creating space and moving bodies so the shooters we do have can make that red lamp light up.