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Bear Essentials: Game Day vs. Toronto

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Many of the Bruins have called Ontario home, and there's no doubt that more than a few of the B's called the Maple Leafs "their team" while they grew up.Today, however, the Leafs arrival in Boston should make for a bitterly fought divisional match up...I can't wait. JB

John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
12:20 p.m.
Watching the Bruins Tim Thomas in the pipes recently, you can see that he is currently playing on a different plane -- he is litterally stopping everything. And that goes for in practice, as well.

In fact, Thomas has been so bulletproof that his fellow players have been celebrating (somewhat mockingly) when he lets up anything. Aaron Ward, who is waiting to be cleared to play after being concussed last week, screamed like a mad man when one of his shot trickled through Thomas' Black & Gold pillows.

"It's in. It's in," he yelled loud enough for everyone in the arena to hear.

Thomas, who is nearly always in terrific spirts, changed his technique -- just slightly -- after Ward scored.

Thereafter, whenever anyone else scored, Timmy tackled him.

When questioned as to his "tweaking" his game, the goalie indicated that further tweaking was probably necessary.

"It would probably work better if I tackled them before they shot," said Thomas with a huge laugh.

As you remember, Thomas actually tried that last week against Buffalo, but don't expect too much more pugilism from the Tank -- the Bruins need him to concentrate on his puck-stopping. And finally, after years of having to prove himself again and again, Timmy is a known quantity.

"His work ethic, dedication and his desire," answered Coach Julien when he was asked why he thought Tim had answered the bell so successfully this season. "And what you see in games is what you see everyday in practice."

And that includes the smiles.

1:07 p.m.
Head Coach Claude Julien spoke to the media this morning
On success of Tim Thomas
Probably because of his work ethic, dedication, and desire to compete everyday.  You see how hard he competes in games, what you see in games is what you see in practice.  Guys like that get rewarded with some strong performances.  That has been the story with Tim Thomas.

On importance of winning divisional games…
The divisional games are all huge.  It seems that this month every team in the league is playing within it’s division.  We certainly put a lot importance into it.  Right now we are at the .500 mark, we know that’s not good enough to slide into a playoff spot.  We need to get a little better and tonight is an opportunity to get above .500.

On the Toronto Maple Leafs…
The part that we respect most about that hockey team is that they are capable of scoring goals.  We have to be strong defensively and minimize their opportunities.  We know that we have struggled in that area this year.  We are facing a big challenge tonight.  We respect their offense, but we feel pretty confident about our game.  We have been in every game this season; except for the Montreal game we lost 6-1.  It’s about competing every night, staying in every game.  That’s what we have to do tonight against The Leafs. Make sure we don’t let it slide away.  We are used to playing tight games.

On team getting healthy…
We have had a couple of our guys come back.  Obviously Ference and Allen seem to be ok.  We are waiting for a final assessment on Aaron Ward, we will hear about that later this afternoon.  It will be a game time decision to see which guys dress.

On lack of offensive production…
The one thing we have tried to stabilize is our goals against.  This team last year was giving up way too many goals.  That pushes a team out of the game.  We had to really concentrate on that this year.  Sometimes when you focus on that part of hockey, the other part of the game suffers.  The defense part of our game is coming second nature.  Now we are hoping we can work on the offensive part of the game and guys will get their confidence going.  If that happens we will be a real balanced hockey club. 


4:40 p.m.

No my lunch wasn't that long, but my expertise was needed elsewhere.

Still awaiting word on whether Aaron Ward or Bobby Allen will be playing defense, howevere Tim Thomas is the sure thing in goal...

4:47 p.m. has some news on the Buds.

"Chad Kilger will be back in the lineup for Toronto, while Andrew Raycroft will start in goal in Boston."

Ponikarovsky - Sundin - Blake
Steen - Stajan - Devereaux
Tlusty - Wellwood - Antropov
Kilger - Bell - Tucker
Kronwall - Kaberle (sg) Raycroft
Gill - White (bg) Toskala
McCabe - Wozniewski

More to come...

5:40 p.m.
Nothin' doin'. Puck drop is in a buck-twenty.

6:28 p.m.
Ward out. Allen in.

6:30 p.m.

Ference-Chara (sg) Thomas
Alberts-Wideman (bg) Rask
Stuart-Allen Go BRUINS!

Off to the Running Recap...

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