Last night versus the Florida Panthers, the Boston Bruins lacked the fire that they had featured in their four-game winning streak and the Black & Gold locker room was understandably quiet as the Bruins rode their stationary bikes, answered questions and prepared to head home for some rest.
In a few words, they were disappointed in themselves.
To a man, they knew that they had missed a chance to beat a wounded team and add to their impressive winning run toward a playoff berth.
And after the loss, there were plenty of slices to distribute from the blame pie, but the one guy who went without firsts or seconds was goalie Tim Thomas
Thomas, while not perfect, played spectacularly enough that the press asked Boston Head Coach Dave Lewis if the loss was his best game of the year and he provided several highlight reel, Hasekesque stops, even after performing a face-plant worth of Tony Hawk’s "Boom Boom Huck Jam" stunt show.
Checking in with Tim after the game he seemed fine -- although Timmy is a little crazy anyway, like most goalies, so who knows.
But, he was sane enough to want to figure out a way to keep his helmet, his saving grace last night, squarely on his pumpkin -- you see, whenever he lifts his shoulders at the same time, they act like a corkscrew and pop his special lid right off his bean.
Thomas, who is known around the locker room as "Tank," will look to "invent" a chinstrap for his unique helmet and cage so he can keep his teeth and (the rest of) his gray matter intact.
The line of the night, by the way, came from Timmy post game -- perhaps proving that his melon was still whole, when he explained the scene around the goal after he "dove" face first into the frozen water.
By the way, he got a perfect "10" from the Russian judge, but the Romanian judge was harsh, giving him a "7" because of the landing.
Cheerfully, Thomas said he felt like the commercial quarterback from the old candy bar TV ad.
"You ever see that commercial when the quarterback gets hit…and the trainer asks, "Who are you?" said Thomas. "And the quarterback says, ’I’m Batman.’"
The horde of media in front of his stall, was taken aback, and laughed heartily.
Needless to say, Thomas was able to joke about the play, but at the time it was no laughing matter and the building got very quiet as he put his world back together. The goaltender explained that the way he fell, his arms were pinned to his sides and he saw the ice coming at him without anyway to break his fall.
All humor aside, Thomas has been spectacular of late, has regained his form of last season and has dispelled any doubts that nay-sayers have tossed in his direction.
Glen Murray also had an impressive game, right on down to his dive pantomime aimed at referees Dennis LaRue and Tim Peel after a love tap from the veteran Bruin forward sent Florida’s Martin Gelinas down for the count.
Murray was straightforward, to say the least, about his interpretation of the play.
"I know that they are cracking down on the penalties," said Murray, who took responsibility for his touching Gelinas with his stick. "But I can go through that tape and call a lot more than that."
"I think it was definitely a dive. If anything call both. If you call the…hook, then call the diving too, without [question]…it’s partly my fault, I put the stick in there a little bit, but I mean, check the replay. I barely even touched him."
Coach Lewis was philosophical about the loss, despite giving the appearance of being annoyed with his team’s lack of spark.
"I think through the season you have games where things aren’t going right," said Coach. "And that was one of those games, tonight."
Coach explained, cogently, why he thought the Bruins lost.
"We weren’t emotionally attached to the game until later on [in the contest]," said Lewis. "Once again, there is such a fine line between winning and losing -- two power play goals were the difference in the hockey game."
So, admittedly, Boston has some things to work on when they hit the ice today for practice at noon.