It certainly wasn't the fight of the century or even the fight of the game, but Boston goalie Tim Thomas
' wrestling match with Montreal netminder Carey Price will certainly be remembered as a highlight of one of the most memorable match-ups between the Bruins and Canadiens in some time.
|Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) fights with Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (30) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) |
"I’ve been playing a long time and it’s just never a situation where it’s worked out like that, but tonight it did," said Thomas of his decision to cross the redline and confront Price during a would-be line brawl during the second period of Boston's wild 8-6 victory over Montreal Wednesday night in TD Garden.
"He was jumping in," explained Thomas. "I went off the blue line and he backed into his crease.
"Then he went in again and you just can’t let it be an outnumbered situation and so that’s what I was thinking when I went down there.
"He was more than willing to fight," he said.
Thomas gave the fisticuffs some forethought.
"I had this big old plan," he said. "I was going to grab his right and I was going to throw lefts, because I know he’s bigger and taller and has a reach on me.
"When I went to grab he got a good hold on my right arm and I got nothing. So then I was like, 'Oh, now what do I do?'
"So I tried to switch arms and get my right free and I grabbed him by the back of the shirt and when he threw the right...I was trying to pull him off-balance and his shirt came off his head and then I fell.
"Actually, as I was falling my left arm came free, but then it was over. He fought with the fighter’s manners as far as not hitting when you’re down," said Thomas.
In truth, it wasn't much of a fight, but Thomas' dalliance with Price was very entertaining to his teammates who were torn between wanting to see it continue or never wanting to see the backstop boxing ever happen at all.
"It’s funny, because Timmy is a real intense guy, he is a real competitor and I just love to see his character come out," said Milan Lucic
with a chuckle. "But unfortunately he fell early.
"You never know," continued the B's power forward. "You don’t want him to break a hand or like in [New York Islander goaltender Rick] DiPietro’s case break an orbital bone by catching a huge punch, but you know it’s good that no one got hurt.
"Timmy has been so good for us," said Lucic.
Boston Bruins Head Coach was diplomatic, but made his feelings clear.
"Well, it’s not something you like to see," said Julien. "You never like to see your goaltenders get into those kinds of things, but I'm certainly not sitting here and condemning him for doing that [in] the heat of the game.
"They were both willing combatants and you live with that."
Similar to his experience last month in Raleigh, where Thomas fell during the All-Star SuperSkills fastest skater competition, Thomas smiled widely after the somewhat awkward experience.
However, going forward, the NHL's top goalie didn't sound like he would make pugilism a habit.
"I found out early in my career that if I get into [teammate's] fights it throws me off my game," said Thomas. "I get that adrenaline rush and then I get the crash.
"So actually most of the time when my guys are fighting -- of course I’m rooting for them to win -- but I’m doing it from a distance, trying to keep my focus.
"That was the biggest adrenaline [rush]," explained Thomas of his own dalliance with the sweet science. "There’s a rebound from adrenaline.
"Now I really feel for the guys that fight., especially the ones that fight two times in one game. The rebound effect...drains you.
"But winning a game like that, that had to be entertaining for the fans," added Thomas. "It was a weird one to be in.
"I didn’t expect it. I don’t think anybody saw that coming."