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Felger & Mazz: Cam Neely Says Standings More Important Than Resting Thomas Right Now

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Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — Felger and Mazz were joined by Boston Bruins president Cam Neely on Thursday. The guys discussed the Bruins’ recent success and whether this stretch could be considered something of a turnaround. Neely agreed that the Bruins were playing much better, “more like the way [fans] have become accustomed to watching them play.”

“[The players] just got committed to the type of game that we have to play to be successful, to be honest with you,” Neely said when asked what happened to cause the turnaround.

Felger asked Neely whether Tim Thomas may be fatigued. How should the Bruins balance his playing time? Was Thomas used too much in the month of March?

Neely admitted that the Bruins had to play Thomas “more than we’d like” but argued that there were no other options.

“Yeah,” Neely said, “we’ve talked about this all year right from the break of training camp how we wanted to try to lighten the workload with Tim, and we haven’t been able to do that for various reasons. … At this point, we want to lock up our spot in the division and we’ll see where it goes from there as far as getting Tim rest.”

Mazz asked Neely whether playing for seeding in the playoffs motivated the use of Thomas.

“The goal for us every year is to win the division and finish as high in the conference as we can,” Neely explained. “We try to put the best team on the ice to achieve all that.”

Neely said he is very much aware of how important Thomas is to the Bruins’ success.

“He’s the guy who’s going to carry us through any successful playoff run, obviously,” Neely said.

He also discussed the difficulty of dealing with the Tuukka Rask injury and having to allow for Marty Turco to adjust as a Bruin.

In wrapping up the interview with Neely, the guys covered several more topics, such as the possibility of Rask’s return this season.

“It still remains to be seen,” Neely said of Rask’s potential return. “I know how athletes think and they’re obviously very optimistic and they want to paly. Tuukka’s no different – he wants to paly. We gotta make sure we do the right thing with Tuukka when and if he’s ready to play or get back on the ice and he shows that he’s not in any danger of hurting himself. That’s when we’ll know what his status really truly is.

Neely also discussed the recent scratch of Danny Paille and the improvement of Benoit Pouliot.

To end the segment, Neely answered Felger’s question as to whether this Bruins team was expected to make a playoff run: “We want to be an organization that is consistent year after year after year in going after the Stanley Cup. … I think that we have a team that knows how to win obviously, and we didn’t change too many parts. … I don’t see why we cant have a deep run, and we expect to have deep runs every year.”

98.5 The Sports Hub is the only place to hear every game of the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins 2011-12 NHL season with Dave Goucher and Bob Beers. Pregame coverage begins 30 minutes before the puck drops, with Postgame coverage following each game.

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