BOSTON — Whether you think the recent commenting jabs between some Vancouver-to-Boston players are blow out of proportion or not, they’re not getting anywhere near Tim Thomas’ nerves.
From Canucks’ netminder Roberto Luongo’s ‘Pumping his tires’ comments to other saying ‘Thomas plays too far from his crease’, at the end of the day it is hockey. Verbal jousting has been part of the greatest sport in the world for years, and it all resides in the person whether to take it with a grain of salt, or fire back.
Thomas, who has heard and seen it all this post season, has dusted it off and is keeping his eye on the prize. And from a journeyman whose path to the NHL is as decorated and influential as his, his remarks after practice today are not surprising.
“My focus is on what I can do to help my team win going into Game 6 here,” Thomas said after the team’s practice today at the TD Garden. “It’s obviously a must-win game and I think it’s important for ourwh ole team to focus on that game and what we can do on the ice.
“When I sit here and say that I truly am focused on what I have to do on the ice, I’m not just making that up. That’s where I try to put 100 percent of my focus. You do have distractions, so sometimes you have to overcome them from the outside. But I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that so far and that’s what I continue to try to do going forward.”
No one has been under the microscope more throughout than head coach Claude Julien. If you’re a fan of his system, his tactics or decision-making, or not, the man behind the bench has remained cool, calm, and has his team prepared for game 6 tomorrow night.
“I think we have to focus on the reality of the thing,” said head coach Claude Julien. “And that’s us coming in and playing a strong game.
“I don’t think there is anybody in that dressing room panicking. We’re focused. We understand the situation. When you’ve been through it quite a few times, you certainly know how to deal with it a lot better and we’ve certainly been through it enough.”
When a soon-to-be two-time Vezina Trophy winner remains as level-headed as focused as Thomas is, that energy radiates throughout the locker room and to each player. Despite not having the “C” etched on his chest, as an on- and off-ice leader, Patrice Bergeron knows there’s too much riding on tomorrow night’s game to worry about shenanigans.
As a player drafted by the organization eight years ago, and battling through near career-ending concussions, a Stanley Cup would be the icing on the cake for the 25-year-old.
“Like I said before, before even the playoffs started and even that series, you have to be in your own bubble and be sure you’re staying focused all the time,” he said. “So I can’t take the time to put myself and see what’s going on, on the outside. My goal is to focus and make sure I’m sharp and it’s all about tomorrow’s game.
“There is a big rivalry on the ice, a lot of battles out there a lot of little stuff going on,” said defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. “But at the end we have to play in between the whistles and afterwards just skate away and focus on the next puck drop.”