There was a point during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final when an official talked with Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. The conversation happened not long after Thomas came a great distance out of his crease to cut down the angle of a shooter, so many people thought he was receiving a warning about coming out too far.
On Thursday, Thomas assured everyone he was told no such thing about curbing his aggressive style.
"That wasn't the discussion that I remember having with the ref at any point," Thomas said Thursday. "I don't really remember. I was focusing on the game. Even some of my little conversations, I don't even remember with the ref. But basically I have the right to go anywhere there's open ice. If I'm set, I have a right to that ice. If I'm out of the paint and I'm set, I also have the right to get right-of-way to get back to the crease. That's the way I understand it."
Many people believe when the goaltender leaves the crease, he's fair game and collisions with opposing players shouldn't result in an interference penalty. But Thomas is right -- as long as he is set, he can't be touched.
During Game 1, Thomas drew a tripping penalty on Alexandre Burrows when the two became tangled outside the crease, but nothing was called when Thomas and Daniel Sedin went tumbling to the ice.
On Thursday, Thomas was asked about his biggest challenges when it comes to players crowding his crease. He has spent his entire career in the Eastern Conference, so he hasn't dealt with Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom all that often. But one name came to Thomas' mind.
"Having played against Ryan Smyth quite a bit, he's good at getting his stick in front of your face by accident," Thomas said. "It's kind of like garage hockey. My uncles used to do it to me when I was a kid.
"But Tomas Holmstrom, he's very good at actually getting out of the way of the puck. He gets right in that lane. If you watch him, he's like the guy in The Matrix -- if it's a high shot, he rolls out of the way. That's what makes him so good. And he's willing to just stand there and take any punishment whatsoever that you're willing to dish out."
Coach Claude Julien expects nothing to change Saturday in Game 2 with his goaltender's aggressiveness.
"That's his style. If he gets a chance to challenge, he challenges," Julien said. "If he steps out and he's got that ice, he's entitled to it. That's what he's done through the whole process. If (Roberto) Luongo comes out of his net, he's got his ice, it's his, it belongs to him. The rule to me is pretty clear so I don't see any issues there."
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