Honors are bestowed
Thomas, Chara are picked again
Tim Thomas, who may be halfway to his second Vezina Trophy in three years, got the news yesterday that surprised nobody.
On Jan. 30 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C., Thomas will participate in the All-Star Game for the third time in his career. He was the winning goalie in the last two All-Star Games, in 2008 and 2009. There was no game last season because of the NHL’s participation in the Winter Olympics.
After last night’s 6-0 shutout over Ottawa, Thomas has a 1.77 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage, setting the pace among all league goalies. Following his 31-stop performance, Thomas now has a league-best six shutouts, one better than the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist. Thomas and Lundqvist will join Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller, Montreal’s Carey Price, and Carolina’s Cam Ward in the six-goalie All-Star corps.
Zdeno Chara will accompany Thomas to Raleigh. The two Bruins, along with 34 other players, were selected for the game by the NHL’s hockey operations department. Chara has a 6-13—19 line in 42 games. This will be Chara’s fifth All-Star Game appearance.
“Those guys have done well in this league,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “They deserve it. Certainly Tim’s year is worthy of it. Zdeno, same thing. He’s a well-respected defenseman in this league and considered one of the best.’’
At the last three All-Star Games, Chara has won the hardest shot competition. In 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, he recorded a 105.4-m.p.h. cannon to win for the third straight time. By winning the competition, Chara also raised money for Right to Play, the Toronto-based charity he supports.
Tyler Seguin was one of 12 rookies selected to participate in the SuperSkills competition Jan. 29. Seguin will join Taylor Hall, selected by Edmonton one slot before him in the 2010 draft last June. Seguin showed off his hands last night with his under-the-bar snap shot at 15:26 of the second period to give the Bruins a 5-0 lead.
“Tyler, everybody knows his potential,’’ Julien said. “He’s a first-year player that has a nice future ahead of him. He’s going to have an opportunity to showcase his skills.’’
Lucic sidelined Milan Lucic missed his first game of the season last night because of an undisclosed injury. Lucic was hurt in the third period of Monday’s 4-2 win in Pittsburgh. After he got hurt, Lucic slammed his stick into the boards and went to the dressing room for maintenance for several minutes. Julien said Lucic is day to day.
The left wing is stuck in the worst scoring slump of his season. He has a team-high 16 goals, but hasn’t found the back of the net since Dec. 16.
Unsung hero Gregory Campbell may not have the speed or skill of his more well-paid teammates. But Campbell’s hard-hat game may gain more respect from coaches — former boss Peter DeBoer said this year that the center is missed in Florida — than the point-producing approaches of players higher up in the lineup.
“He’s a guy you can rely on,’’ said Julien. “Defensively, as far as battling is concerned, we have a lot of faith in him as a player.’’
Campbell may be more known for his grit and defense, but the fourth-line center was a significant cog (one goal, two assists) in the Bruins’ come-from-behind win over Pittsburgh Monday.
Last night, Campbell spent most of his even-strength shifts between Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton on the fourth line. In the third, Julien gave Campbell 2:57 of power-play time.
Ottawa shorthanded The Senators were without No. 1 center Jason Spezza (shoulder), former Montreal sharpshooter Alex Kovalev (knee), and goalie Pascal Leclaire (lower body) . . . The Senators entered last night without a win since Dec. 26, when they scored a 3-1 victory over Pittsburgh. Chatter around the league is that general manager Bryan Murray will fire coach Cory Clouston and step behind the bench himself if the season continues to sour . . . Adam McQuaid landed three hits and blocked three shots in 15:05 of ice time. McQuaid didn’t play against Pittsburgh because of an undisclosed injury. With McQuaid back in, the Bruins assigned Matt Bartkowski to Providence . . . Nathan Horton returned to the lineup after being unavailable for two games because of an undisclosed injury. Horton landed three shots in 15:51 of ice time and dropped the gloves with Brad Winchester. For Horton, floating too often before his injury, last night was one of his most spirited efforts. “We need him to play the type of game that he did tonight,’’ Julien said . . . Ottawa defenseman Matt Carkner didn’t win many friends in the Boston room following his third-period scrap with Paille, a non-fighter, following a series of cross-checks along the boards. Paille landed some shots late in the fight . . . Mark Recchi, fast becoming known as Milestone Mark, appeared in his 1,613th career game last night. Recchi passed Ray Bourque and is now in eighth place on the all-time NHL list. Assuming good health, Recchi will pass former Pittsburgh teammate Larry Murphy (1,615) Monday. By the end of the season, he should catch Dave Andreychuk (1,639 games, No. 5).
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at email@example.com.