BOSTON (CBS) — Saturday night ended “Reunion Week” for the Bruins as the team entertained three teams in which former marquee players now come to town with their new team.
Tuesday saw the first meeting with the Dallas Stars at the TD Garden since the July 4 trade of Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley for Loui Eriksson & Reilly Smith. Because of the hype of this year’s playoffs and Stanley Cup Final disaster for Seguin, and subsequent trade, there were mixed feeling in the garden. Some fans cheered, others booed, mostly when he touched the puck. There was the ever-present media and fan bashing of the Bruins former first round pick, especially after NESN aired an interview Seguin had with Jack Edwards.
Edwards asked all the right questions, and for his part Seguin was pretty upfront and honest about a lot of things. Tyler still has a lot of growing up to do as far as being a professional man. He didn’t fit into what being a Boston Bruin is all about and THAT is why he no longer wears the spoked-B.
Oh, the game? Neither Seguin nor Peverely scored, officially, but the game went to a shootout and both players would exact some measure of revenge; Seguin with a rocket over the blocker of Tuukka Rask and Peverley putting a shot through Rask’s 5-hole for the 3-2 Stars victory.
Next up, Thursdays return of 2-time Vezina Trophy winner and Conn Smythe & Stanley Cup winning goaltender Tim Thomas with the Florida Panthers. When last we saw Thomas, he was comforting his daughter through the glass at the TD Garden after losing Game 7 of the opening round of the 2012 Playoffs to the Washington Capitals in OT. That would be Thomas’ last game in a Bruin uniform.
It was a tumultuous season for both Thomas and the Bruins as it began to unravel with the Championship Trip to the White House that Thomas chose to not attend. It became a distraction with the team, the media and of course the fans. Everyone was wondering if Thomas would be in net to face his former team (he did play against the B’s in the preseason). But he was recovering from an injury and would not play, nor would he speak with the media during his visit.
The Bruins did have a Tim Thomas highlight film on the center ice HDX during a break in the action and the fans did give him a standing ovation and he acknowledged them. Personal note: I do not have children, and was very young in ’70 & ’72. June 15, 2011 IS the greatest day of my life and Tim Thomas was a very big reason for that.
Oh, and by the way, after going into the third period tied at one, the Bruins put the game away with three in the third, winning 4-1.
Saturday night, Hockey Night in Canada, and the Toronto Maple Leafs return to the scene of the big disaster of May 13, 2013 where they had a 3-goal lead over the Bruins, Game 7, in Boston. And with Toronto comes their high-flying, scoring machine, former Bruin Phil Kessel who usually has bad nights (maybe nightmares) when playing against his former team. During that playoff series, he had five goals, three of them game-winners.
The difference in Seguin and Kessel is that Kessel did not want to be in Boston, which resonated with Bruin fans loudly. And “Thank You Kessel” was usually the chorus said fans would serenade Phil with whenever the Leafs visited. Saturday the fans didn’t pay too much attention to him, as it was more about hoping the Bruins would be getting their game back to a 60-minute effort and getting the most of this current 5-game home stand. Kessel was held off the score sheet and had three shots on goal. Once again, Patrice Bergeron drove the dagger in as he scored twice in a 3-1 Bruin win.
Boston garnered five of a possible six points from “Reunion Week”, but aren’t yet where they wanna be. A matinée with the division leading Tampa Bay Lightning, Monday and the Blue Jackets on Thursday wraps up the homestand. Lets hope the get the consistency that all of us are looking for.
Ric Duarte has covered hockey and the Bruins for various media outlets since 1986. You can follow Ric at BruinsDieHard.com and at twitter @bruins_diehard.