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Timmy's Technique Keeps Bruins Calm

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
ROCKLAND, Ontario -- Asked how Tim Thomas had turned himself into one of the most consistent goalies in the NHL, B's Head Coach Claude Julien talked about Thomas' technique.

"Even though people think he battles a lot, he'll battle a lot on the second shot, third shot, fourth shot -- whatever," said Julien. "But certainly on that first shot, when you look at him, he comes out and he's not afraid to challenge.

"He's got the good angles on the shot and he does a great job," continued the B's bench boss. "Ottawa had some point-blank shots in the slot last game and he came out and challenged them and did a great job.

"So, that's where Timmy is very confident [with a] very good posture for that first shot and what makes him so great is how hard he battles for rebounds and those consecutive shots."

Thomas sees plenty of consecutive shots versus his own team throughout every Bruins practice, but Tim said that each session is different.

"Some practices you feel like you need something different, some practices you feel like you need to work hard physically just to get your body going back in that mode, other practices you just try to get a good read and get your timing down a little bit," explained Thomas. "There's other practices where you work on technique.

"Of course, in all those practices you want to save just about as many as you can, but there are days where you sacrifice stopping everything you can to work on a certain part of your technique."

All hockey players say the point of the game is to have fun, but after thousands of practices, some might admit, at least privately, that it's easier to enjoy playing games.

But Thomas said he still has fun stopping pucks whenever they're sent his way.

"I mean they are what you make them right? I think it depends on your attitude," explained the two-time Vezina Trophy winner. "Sometimes when you're young or old, sometimes your attitude isn't exactly perfect for practice, but if you have a good attitude then you can try and have fun with it, which you should do.

"You can still have fun even as old as a dinosaur as I am," said the 37-year-old netminder with a laugh.

However, nobody will be laughing as the B's get set to take on the Flyers in Philadelphia on Saturday and Thomas talked about game day and how he handles big matchps differently than when he first arrived in the NHL.

"Rarely in my career has it been an issue for myself to get up for a game," said Thomas. "I'm the opposite. I'm usually the guy who has to calm themselves down a little bit."

Julien concurred, but said that's no longer an issue for Thomas.

"No, not anymore," said Julien. "The one thing I've seen in my five years here is that he's gotten so much better playing those big games and those big moments.

"The [best] example was the Stanley Cup Finals. I don't think you could have ever found a calmer goaltender than Tim, who was enjoying the moment.

"I would say probably earlier when I came to the team, he would get worked up a little bit and it didn't always serve him well or as well as it could have and he's really mastered that part of his game and it's really helped him become a big time-goaltender."

And like his fellow goaltender Tuukka Rask, Thomas would relish the opportunity to face Philadelphia.

"I'd have no problem [getting excited]," said Thomas. "It's an important game playing Philly, another top team in the Eastern Conference right now."
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