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On the Road: Bruins @ Flames

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
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.
0.0 - The Bruins really gutted out the last several minutes of this one, folks. Ference even had a bid with about three seconds to go. Nothing to be ashamed of, coming home with two wins on this trip. Minus the second period of this one, it was nearly a perfect trip.

I can't wait until to the locker room.

9.9 - Kirprusoff stops another nice try by Boston (Wideman).

38.6 - Chara nearly scores with the extra man. He was in front when the puck came to him and Kiprusoff was down. Chara hit him in the C. Boston, timeout.

1:06 - Thomas is out.

1:49 - Savard hits the goal post.

3:25 - B's keep coming close...

4:58 - Off a feed by Krejci, Kiprusoff stops Wheeler who had a real chance at the tying goal.

5:49 - Chara stops a Calgary clearing attempt and works down the left side of the Calgary zone, centers and Nokelainen can't get a shot away.

7:44 - Wheeler picked a good time to score his third goal, off a nifty feed from Lucic. Give an assist to Savard, too. It's 3-2, Calgary. Plenty of time here. Maybe the goal will give the Bruins a little more energy.

9:09 - The B's are having trouble getting out of their own zone.

11:42 - Wheeler gets a shot, but Kiprusoff is there (again).

13:39 - Thomas pounces on another shot and holds on. The Bruins look tired.

14:20 - Boyd scores. He flew down the right side, beat Bruins d-man and shot a puck that bounced off Thomas' pad and in. 3-1, Calgary.

16:36 - Lucic gathered the puck at the right point, took it to the center of the ice, a few strides and pow. He tried to put it through the Calgary goalie. No goal.

18:22 - Conroy in the box for a hockey Boston on the PP.

18:50 - Calgary killed the penalty. Boston starts a rush.

19:59 - Savard wins the faceoff. B's start on the PP.

20:00 - Start of the Third. The Bruins need to leave it all out there if they want this game. Shots were 30-17, Calgary, after 40-minutes.
0:00 - Calgary keeps the lead, 2-1. The Bruins might be showing a little fatique, both from the trip and from having to play such close games.

1.7 - Another shot by Chara almost trickles into the Calgary zone.

34.3 - Sturm with a shot, but a Ryder is there for the rebound, but can't work it by Kiprusoff who covers.

53.2 - Shot from the Point (Chara) and Kiprusoff stops the tip.

1:08 - Sarich takes out Noke. Boston gets a PP.

1:23 - It was a matter of time. Cammalleri scores. 2-1, Calgary.

1:57 - Slashing on Savard. Boston has really put themselves behind the eight ball with the penalties.

2:29 - Savard comes across the middle and puts a shot on, the rebound goes to the corner.

3:12 - After a couple of close calls, Boston clears the zone.

4:17 - Nokelainen is stopped by Kiprusoff.

5:01 - Sturm almost pushes one home. But it goes into Kiprusoff's pad.

5:37 - Thomas stops the puck to get a faceoff.

8:36 - Lucic to the box.

9:41 - Tim makes a save through a screen and Boston clears the zone.

10:39 - Roughing call on Ference.

12:37 - TIm has not let that goal get to him. He stops Moss at the top of the crease and covers up. Shots are 21-10, Calgary. Ugh.

14:03 - Thomas makes a tricky save then, when the puck popped up in the air, bats it out of harm's way.

14:37 - A hand pass stops a pretty chance by Boston. Sarich clobbered Nokelainen at the end of the play, anyway.

15:25 - Boston is allowing Calgary too much leeway. Shots are 18-10.

16:40 - Some pushing and shoving with Chara and Savard and Regehr.

17:31 - It finally happened. On the PP, Iginla drove down the right side, slid it to Phaneuf for the tying goal. 1-1. Unofficially, call TIm's shutout streak 152:14.

18:27 - After Thomas makes a first save, but a Calgary forward sends the rebound high and into the corner. Shots are now 16-8, CAL.

18:45 - Two successive saves on the PK by Thomas.

19:16 - Chara in the box for holding, but he may have saved a goal.

19:41 - Calgary drives into the Bruins zone, but are turned away without a shot.

20:00 - Start of the Second Period. Here's hoping for more of the same and anothe good break like the one that Bergy took advantage of in the first.
Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas reaches to make a save during first-period NHL hockey action against the Calgary Flames in Calgary, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Jeff McIntosh)
0:00 - Boston ended the period very well, with a terrific shift by the Bergeron line. All-in-all, it was a very nice period by Boston. Hopefully, they can add to the lead early in the second. Shots are 10-8, Flames.

47.3 - Thomas saves a shot from Boyd.

1:45 - Icing Boston.

2:23 - Thomas turns the trick, with Prust on the doorstep.

2:45 - Stuart shoots through traffic, it's turned away.

4:10 -- The two squads just traded offensive chances. Good D and goaltending at both ends.

6:36 - Lucic sends the puck down to the Calgary zone for an icing, which ends a Flames flurry.

7:53 - A sneaky shot from Giordano causes Tim to cover up.

9:09 - Lucic intercepts a pass at the Boston blueline and ends a Calgary chance.

11:02 - Thomas save at the top of his crease on the right side. Shots are 5-3, Boston.

11:18 - B's have been a little sloppy the last couple of shifts. They get an icing and a face-off in their zone.

12:19 - Thomas with his first official save.

Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron, right, celebrates his goal with teammate Michael Ryder, left, as Calgary Flames' goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, top, from Finland, skates away during first-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Jeff McIntosh)
13:07 - Bergeron gathered a loose puck behind the Calgary goal, went THROUGH Kirprusoff and stuffed it home. 1-0, Boston. A very nice start for the B's.

13:55 - Boston dodged a bullet as Ward was playing without his stick for nearly a minute. Shots are 4-0 Boston.

14:37 - Icing Calgary.

15:55 - Thomas has his first save of the night. Or did he -- no shot on the scoreboard.

7:09 - Axelsson has the first shot of the night for Boston.

17:48 - A decent shift by Lucic and co. Big Milan had a good physical presence and Phil had a partial breakaway into the Calgary zone.

19:11 - Nice hit by Yelle on Sarich as the latter tried to get to the Calgary net.

19:59 - Calgary wins the face-off. But the Flames shoot the puck in offsides.

20:00 - Start of the First Period. The Flames Hockey Talk segment was focusing on the Bruins system and ways to get Tim Thomas off of his game. So, that probably means that the Flames will try and get into Tim's way down low and attempt to get Thomas to move out of position. One way to combat all of that would be to get some quick goals and work with a lead.

Wow. They actually shoot flames out of the scoreboard.

Calgary starters: Kiprusoff, Sarich, Regehr, Bertuzzi, Conroy, Iginla.
Boston starter: Thoronton, Yelle, Nokelainen, Chara, Ward.

Let's switch to time on the clock...

6:32 p.m.
So this is what it looks like:
Lucic - Savard - Kessel
Sturm - Bergeron - Ryder
Axelsson - Krejci -wheeler
Thornton - Yelle - Nokelainen
Chara - Ward
Ference - Wideman
Stuart - Hnidy

Scratches: Hunwick, Kobasew, Sobotka

6:17 p.m.
One month after the 1988 Winter Olympics, Ken Dryden, the former Montreal Canadiens goalie and a regular contributor to Olympic Hockey coverage during the 1980's, wrote about the Olympic Hockey Tournament in the New York Times:

Last month, the United States hockey team gave the Olympic tournament some of its most compelling moments in 7-5 losses to Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union...More exciting than effective, the team finished seventh.

I found it odd (and somewhat comforting), that Mr. Dryden had been, at least in a minor way, impressed by the United States’ entry that year, particularly because the somewhat minor significance of that year's Team USA remains very, very significant in my mind.

For one thing, I remember the New England collegiate players who represented the United States -- players like Brian Leetch from Boston College and Scott Young from Boston University.

I remember that they were a fun team at a fun Games, and that those guys from Connecticut (Leetch) and Massachusetts (Young) inspired me.

No, I never attained athletic prowess to challenge for any berth on an Olympic roster, but, hey, I just sent my credential request for the 2010 Vancouver Games to the USOC. So, that’s okay, too.

At that time, I really never imagined that I would be in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, never mind traveling with the Boston Bruins and visiting the Saddledome in person. And, much like the emergence of Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers in my consciousness opened my eyes to the greater world of NHL, the 1988 Winter Olympic Games opened my mind to the large world of Hockey across the world (and the magic of TV "introduced" 13 year-old me to a beautiful pairs skater, four years my senior, named Ekaterina Gordeeva, but that's a story for another time).

Coming back here 20-years later (holy cow, 20-years!) is astonishing.

The bottom line is that I am “honoured” to be here, not only to watch the Bruins take on the Flames, but to walk the concourse of the Flames home rink, see the Olympic Torch and the Medals and the photographs of an event that lives on vividly in my mind’s eye.

Thankfully, I am not alone. I mentioned my nostalgia for the Olympic Saddledome to Jack Edwards and he concurred.

“I was covering alpine skiing,” said Edwards. “That was my first really big break, covering skiing for ABC Sports.

“I traded an ABC Olympic Pin for two red line seats for the US vs. USSR game, in which the USSR team had the puck for about 42-minutes – classic puck control.

“I was two rows in front of Dan Kelly, who was calling the game for CBC, and of course he had a voice that could fill a barn, so it was awesome,” he said.

Although they made it interesting, the US team was not awesome, but that really didn’t matter.

“What I remember about those Winter Games was how unbelievable fun it was,” said Edwards. “The people in Calgary wanted it to be fun and this building has maintained that spirit with the “C of Red” and the noise.”

Well said, Jack. And thanks to the people we’ve met here in Calgary for keeping it fun.

3:29 p.m.
This just came across the wire and it made me smile. JB


Don Sweeney
BOSTON, MA –Tomorrow, October 31 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. the Boston Bruins are hosting a Halloween reading for the children of Bright Horizons of Beacon Hill at the Liberty Hotel (215 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114).

Bruins Director of Hockey Operations and Player Development Don Sweeney will be reading It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown in front of an 800 lb pumpkin from Wilmington, MA.  George Caron, 76 year-old Wilmington native grew the pumpkin in a small patch in his backyard.  This year he also grew pumpkins that weigh 688 lbs and 535 lbs.

Kids will listen to the story while eating doughnuts and drinking hot cider.  In celebration of the holiday, each child will receive Bruins goodie bags filled with treats. In addition the children and their families will be invited to Bruins Kids Day game against Dallas at 7:00 p.m. on November 1. Blades the Bruins mascot will also be at the reading to pose for pictures with the kids and giant pumpkin.

The Kids Day game on November 1 will feature special guest, 13 year-old Laurel McGoff from Kids Nation singing the national anthem.  Other Kids Day activities include face painting, balloon animals and paper goalie masks that will be handed out at the turnstiles. 

2:34 p.m.

Calgary Flames center Stephane Yelle (7) moves the puck up the ice against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Denver, Monday, March 24, 2008. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Ex-Flames Hope to Douse Calgary’s Fire
The three men on tonight’s playing roster who had previously donned the flaming-C of the Calgary Flames, Andrew Ference, Marc Savard and Stephane Yelle (former Flame turned Bruin, Chuck Kobasew, is still hurt), are happy to have had some good memories here in Alberta, but are thrilled to be putting on the spoked-B in the Pengrowth Saddledome when the teams clash later today.

Ference admitted that “it’s been so long and it feels like forever since I was traded.

“It’s more just ‘nice’ to see old faces…and it’s more pleasant than odd or weird.

“I have a couple places that feel like home and this is one of them,” he said.

"Besides Boston, which was my number one choice as a free agent, this was right up there (and) I was really close to signing," explained Savard. "But obviously, I am happy with my decision.”

Yelle, who played here as recently as last season, said, “I spent some good years here.

“I have a lot of friends (here and) everything feels familiar…and it’s good to be back.”

But like Marc, Stephane is very glad to be in Black & Gold.

“It’s been good and I’m really happy to be in Boston,” said Yelle.

The ex-Flames and the entire Bruins travel party know that tonight is a big game. Boston, depending on the machinations of the schedule and scoreboard, could garner a share of first place in the Northeast Division with a win.

Boston Bruins center Stephane Yelle (18) dumps Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Mikhail Grabovski, of Germany, to the ice during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
“You’ve got to focus and keep it simple,” said Yelle. “We’ve worked hard all October and gone through a tough schedule.

“The last couple of games we’ve worked really well as a team, defensively, and it’s paid off.”

Savard is looking to have a big game, too.

“Tonight, hopefully, I can play well in this building,” said the all-star center, who played stellar defensive hockey on Tuesday. “We need to do (the little) things to win right now because we haven’t been scoring.

“So, I’ve been just working (hard) and things have gone well.

“But obviously, I’d like to more on offense,” he said, suddenly serious.

Moreover, Savard sounded as if he hoped that the added excitement of playing in front of his former home fans might ignite his offense.

“You’re always excited,” said Savard of returning. “I loved it here and I love playing here, so it’s going to be an exciting game.”

1:59 p.m.
Put Timmy into your fantasy team, tonight. He was the first guy off...

10:53 a.m.
Kiprusoff was off the ice first for Calgary. Looks like he will be in net tonight for Calgary.

Adam Pardy, Andre Roy and Matthew Lombardi stayed after practice to do some extra skating, so I believe they are Cagary's scratches.

8:47 a.m.
The players and coaching staff are eating breakfast as we speak.

The training staff are already on their way to the Saddledome to prepare for the 11:30 a.m. practice. That session is expected to include everyone.

Yesterday, the B's had the entire day off -- nobody was on the ice at all --  so, it will be interesting to see if Coach Julien juggles his lines or if any of the scratches might make the playing roster tonight.

Word from Boston is that the Hub of Hockey is getting pretty excited about their Bruins. But the truth of the matter is that Jarome Iginla, Dion Phaneuf and Mikka Kiprusoff will very determined to send the B's back to New England with loss.

It will pretty interesting to see Milan Lucic on the same ice as Iginla.

And there are four former Flames on the Boston roster who might have a little extra hop, tonight.

12:30 a.m. (Calgary time)
Timmy’s been Bulletproof

Boston Bruins' Tim Thomas, left, stops Vancouver Canucks' Daniel Sedin, of Sweden, on a breakaway during the first period of an NHL game in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)
It’s not all that shocking to learn that Tim Thomas used to play at being a superhero when he was little, particularly because one of his diving saves on Monday night in Edmonton caused NESN’s Jack Edwards to shout, “Ahhhh, Superman!” as a description of the play.

And with a second bulletproof performance on Tuesday, and two shutouts in two nights, the resemblance between “The Man of Steel” and the man called “The Tank” had become even more apparent.

On Tuesday morning, wearing a suit, shirt and dress shoes instead of his skates, goalie equipment, mask and, of course, a uniform emblazoned with a spoked-B, Thomas looked like a rink-bound Clark Kent.

And when he was asked about Edwards' exclamation the previous game, Tim just laughed.

“He was one of my favorites,” said Thomas. “I certainly did enough of the running leaps onto the couch with my arms outstretched like Superman.”

Those leaps through the living room proved to be terrific preparation for his eventual career, particularly for the diving save that impressed NESN’s veteran play-by-play man.

“I actually got a couple of texts last night from friends,” said Thomas. “They said, ‘Superman, c’mon now?’

“It’s a little much.”

Maybe, but don’t tell that to his teammates.

“He’s seeing the puck very well right now,” said Bruins winger P.J. Axelsson. “He’s been unbelievable.

“There’s been pretty much no rebounds coming out and if there is, the D’s right there.

“That’s been the main thing, and he’d probably say the same thing – if you see the puck, you’ll stop it,” he said.

Thomas must have x-ray vision right now, because he’s seeing and stopping everything.

“Tim’s been awesome the last two games,” said David Krejci. “He kept us in the game so many times – he’s stepped up, big time.

“They had so many chances and Timmy just stopped them. That’s why we had the momentum.

“It builds our confidence,” said the forward.

Two Down, Once to Go
VANCOUVER, CANADA - OCTOBER 28: Tim Thomas #30 and Marc Savard #91 of the Boston Bruins keep the puck out of the net with Jannik Hansen #36 and Alex Burrows #14 of the Vancouver CanucksÊnear the crease during their game at General Motors Place on October 28, 2008 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
“This is a huge road trip,” said Thomas after Tuesday night’s game. “So, getting the win on (Monday) night was huge and to be able to carry it over, the guys in this room, with two games in two nights and the travel, is hard but we really battled through it.”

Thomas pointed to his teammates and said that they deserved a lion’s share of credit for his two game blanking of the Western Conference.

“They were giving me the shooting lane so I could see at the right time,” he said. “They were blocking (the shots) when I couldn’t see them -- especially (Stephane) Yelle, on the penalty kills.

“It was a shutout, so we obviously cleared the rebounds at the right time.”

 Bruins head coach Claude Julien was clearly pleased and passed out some more superlatives.

“It was a great effort by our goaltender again, tonight,” he said. “At the same time, I can’t give enough credit to our fourth line, who allowed us to keep our team as fresh as we could for as long as we could.

“Over the last two nights, I don’t think we could have survived…with a short bench.

“I like the way they competed and they’ve been like that for awhile,” said Julien.

Right wing Michael Ryder, who scored the lone goal for Boston on Tuesday, was the next man to receive praise.

“He’s had some close calls and he’s had some great chances in the last few game,” explained Julien. “For him to finally get that one there, especially the winner, (was) great for him.

“We hope to see him build on that.”

Going into November, the Bruins hope to build on a perfect road trip.

On the Road
Where are we going?
Flames fans
“Calgary, Heart of the New West, is a vibrant city that offers the best of all worlds – a cosmopolitan city of nearly one million with outstanding outdoor adventure and pristine wilderness only an hour away in the Canadian Rockies,” says  “Our western heritage and legendary hospitality will make you feel welcome.”

With 1,042,892 people, the city is the third largest civic municipality in Canada, and the Greater Calgary area, with 1,162,310 people, is the fifth largest census metropolitan area in the country.  It was ranked the world’s cleanest city in a 2007 survey.

Many ski resorts are in the area, so Calgary is a popular winter destination.  It was the first Canadian city to host the Winter Olympics in 1988.  The city also holds numerous festivals including the Lilac Festival, the Folk Music Festival, a writers festival, the Calgary International Spoken Word Festival, and Carifest, the fourth-largest Caribbean festival in Canada.

Calgary is nicknamed Cowtown, The Stampede City, The Sandstone City and The Heart of Alberta.  It’s motto is “Onward.”

Where are we playing?
Pengrowth Saddledome
The Pengrowth Saddledome, often called “the Saddledome” or “the Dome,” was built in 1983 as the home of the Calgary Flames and the primary ice facility for the 1988 Winter Olympics.  The building officially opened October 15 of that year, with a game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Flames, says Wikipedia.

The building is also home to the WHL Calgary Hitmen and the National Lacrosse League’s Clagary Roughnecks.  In the early 1990s, Roller Hockey International’s Clagary Rad’z and the Calgary Outlaws of the NBL called it home as well.  The Dome seats up to 20,100, including 76 luxury suites, 2 “super suites,” and 6 restaurants/bars.

The arena gets its name from the saddle-shaped roof, and the original design holds the world record for the “longest spanning hyperbolic paraboloid concrete shell in the world.”  Because of the design, there are more rows of seats at center ice than there are behind the nets.

Who are we playing?
Calgary Flames' Jarome Iginla (12), Todd Bertuzzi and Daymond Langkow (22) celebrate a goal by Bertuzzi during first period of an NHL hockey game in Edmonton on Saturday October 18, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Jimmy Jeong)
On May 21, 1890, a group of Calgary businessmen acquired the Atlanta Flames and relocated the team to Alberta.

The team was originally founded in 1971 when the NHL gave Long Island a team – the New York Islanders – and needed another team to balance the schedule, says Wikipedia.

The Flames played their first game on October 9, 1980, tying the Quebec Nordiques 5-5.  They made the playoffs their first season in Calgary, losing to the Minnesota North Stars in the semifinals.  They did not win a Stanley Cup until the 1988-1989 season.

That victory is the only time Calgary has won the Stanley Cup, but the team has been conference champions three times and division champs five times.

Harvey the Hound, the Flames mascot, was the first mascot in the NHL.  He also served as the mascot for the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders.  In January 2003, Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish ripped the mascot’s hanging tongue out, making headlines across the country.

When are we playing?
9 p.m. Boston time.

Who’s playing for us?
Check back later for lineups.

Is the game on?
As always, WBZ and NESN will be broadcasting live from the game.
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