BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Bruins will be firing shots at an old friend on Thursday night, as Tim Thomas will get the start in net for the Florida Panthers.
Matt Kalman of TheBruinsBlog.net and CBSBostonSports.com joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Adam Jones Show on Wednesday night to discuss the upcoming game, and what we can expect to see from the Bruins against the former Stanley Cup hero.
“We know how feisty [Thomas] can be if you get up in his face. It will be interesting to see if they’re willing test Timmy, maybe push him around a bit,” said Kalman, noting the Bruins’ frustration on Monday over not being able to do much with second change opportunities in front of the net. “He’s not playing around the greatest defensive team going, that roster has kind of an expansion look. Maybe Tuukka Rask, he’s been playing so great, maybe he finds an even higher level to out-duel the guy that will be ridiculously motivated to try to beat him.”
Kalman also discussed the struggles of forward Brad Marchand, which he wrote about earlier Wednesday on CBSBostonsports.com.
“It’s just him not making the hard-nosed plays he has to make. He’s being too cute with the puck and playing as though he’s a fancy goal-scorer,” said Kalman. “He needs to get back to the basics and be the hard-nosed guy that goes into the dirty areas.”
Marchand found himself demoted to the third line on Monday, and played much better than he had in the Bruins’ previous four games.
“I would have thought Marchand would have a longer rope seeing how he is trying to mesh with a new line-mate in Loui Eriksson,” said Kalman. “Marchand played much better on that third line on Monday, so maybe there is something to be said for playing on that line.”
To make the lines a little more complicated, forward Carl Soderberg has been cleared for contact. But will Soderberg find his way onto a line when he’s good to go, or be a healthy scratch?
“It sounds like he’s maybe a few games away, so we’re close to him being healthy but I don’t know if we’re going to see him. If Marhcand is still struggling maybe you move the lines around again and find an opening for Soderberg. But at this point, if you take the 12 forwards the way they were opening night, it’s hard to find a place for him,” said Kalman. “I know they liked him on the power play and how he protected the puck on the wing in the preseason, so they’ll try to give him a look, but it’s going to be hard to find someone to take out. At some point he’ll go from being injured to a healthy scratch.”
Kalman says he wouldn’t take any of the top 12 forwards out of the lineup right now in favor of Soderberg.
“To me, Soderberg didn’t do anything to warrant a spot in the top 12,” he said. “It would be an issue to send him to Providence because he would have to go through waivers, and you don’t know if someone of his age and experience would want to go down there. They could always use a conditioning assignment just to get him down there and get some games. That could be the way to go. you postpone that decision and see if he’s sharp, and by then maybe someone will play themselves out of the lineup or there’s an injury. But right now I wouldn’t touch this top 12.”