Video: Tim Thomas Awesome Save on Steve Downie Shot

Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas guaranteed his team would beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals. I’m not sure if he part of his prediction included making the save of the playoffs, but that’s exactly what Thomas did to help the Bruins hold onto their lead. Check out this video of Tim Thomas’ amazing save on Steve Downie courtesy of Greg Wyshinski at Puck Daddy:

For the record, Downie does not have a point in the entire series. That could have made it 2-2, but instead Boston got an empty-net goal to win 3-1. Try harder next time, Tampa Bay. Maybe a few more human lightning bolts will do the trick.

Lightning Fans Sent Team Off to Boston with 800-Person Bolt at Airport

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been criticized for having a poor fan base. On Sunday, about 800 fans gathered for a “Be the Bolt” campaign in an effort to support their team and change perception. They showed up at Tampa International Airport to help send the team off to Boston for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals with a human bolt:

The event was organized on Facebook as CBS Sports pointed out, and they actually offered a lot of incentive for fans to show up. The first 400 fans received a Bolts Nation Bag, some of which contained extra goodies including tickets, autographed memorabilia, and a gift card to the team store. That’s a pretty generous giveaway by the team and I like the way they’re rewarding fans for showing their support. The only difference between the Lightning and Thunder is that Oklahoma City doesn’t need any incentives for their fans to show up at the airport, regardless of time of day.

Patrick Marleau in First Fight Since 2007 – The Jeremy Roenick Effect?

The Sharks got whooped 7-3 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals Wednesday night in Vancouver. When it wasn’t Canucks fans flashing the opposing players in the penalty box, it was Kevin Bieksa and Patrick Marleau throwing down to provide the entertainment. The decision for Marleau to fight was a strange one — it was his first since 2007, and it was against a more physical opponent in Bieksa. Marleau predictably got worked in the fight. Here’s the video:

Some Sharks players ripped on Bieksa for picking on a guy like Marleau, but if anyone is in the wrong it’s Marleau. Marleau’s the one who initiated the fight, asking Bieksa if he wanted to drop gloves in the second period. The fight kept Marleau out of the game for the next five minutes, and Vancouver outscored San Jose 4-1 after the fight.

What’s sad about this whole thing is that Marleau may be listening too much to media criticism. Analyst and former Shark Jeremy Roenick ripped him after Game 5 against the Red Wings, saying he was gutless and had no heart. Marleau responded with the winning goal in Game 7 against Detroit, and a goal each of the Canucks games. But he took himself out of Game 2 by getting into a fight when he shouldn’t have, and one has to wonder if this is all a response to Jeremy Roenick. If it is, that’s sad, and Marleau should just stick to what he does best — playing hockey. Leave the fighting to everyone else.

Canucks Fan Flashes Ben Eager in Penalty Box During Game 2

At the end of Game 2 between the Canucks and Sharks in Vancouver, one generous blond woman with extremely nice … seats decided to flash Ben Eager who was in the penalty box. Here’s the video from Puck Daddy where the boobs are censored but the video is nevertheless NSFW:

The last time we had someone flash in celebration, it was after the Saints won the Super Bowl. It’s not even the Stanley Cup Finals and the women in Vancouver are going crazy, what could they possibly do if the Canucks actually won it all?

And if you want to see the uncensored NSFW version, you can click on this link.

Tim Thomas on Bruins Series: ‘It is Just a Game’

It worked for Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox, right? We all remember Manny’s infamous “there’s always next year” rant in 2004 when Boston found itself trailing the Yankees 0-3 in the ALCS. Some would argue those comments helped take the pressure off the Sox and sparked the most historic comeback in baseball history. Others take it for what it was: useless banter from a bonehead player.

The Bruins find themselves trailing the Lightning 0-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals after an ugly Game 1 loss.  When asked about his anxiety level heading into Game 2, Boston goalie Tim Thomas made some comments that would likely enrage Jack Edwards (see his royalty rant).

“I think you should get mentally prepared,” Thomas said according to WEEI.com. “It can get all-consuming but I don’t think that’s really the right way to go. These hockey games are important, they’re important to us, they’re important to the city, but to be realistic, it is just a game. You look around at what’s going on in the world right now, Israel was attacked on numerous fronts yesterday. It can really make you put it in perspective.”

Thomas’ point makes sense, but I would guess — and this is nothing more than a hunch from a guy who has lived in the Boston area his entire life — that Boston fans would rather not hear their goalie talking about the problems in the Middle East before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.  Hockey is indeed just a game, but it is also a career and guys like Claude Julien are happy they won’t be looking for a new one after this season.  Unless Thomas can personally do something to help the situation in Israel before Tuesday night, it might be in his best interest to allow the “all-consuming” thing to happen.

Video: Jeremy Roenick Calls Patrick Marleau’s Performance ‘Gutless’

For the second year in a row, analyst Jeremy Roenick has criticized San Jose Sharks winger Patrick Marleau during the playoffs. Last year, Roenick criticized Marleau for not hitting anybody. This time he said something similar, criticizing Marleau for being gutless and having no heart:

Marleau has not scored a point in San Jose’s series against Detroit, one the Sharks lead 3-2. Worse yet, he was embarrassed by Pavel Datsyuk who stole the puck from him and assisted on a goal that gave the Red Wings a 4-3 lead Sunday. Still, Marleau is one of San Jose’s top players having scored 73 points during the regular season. He may not be doing anything against Detroit and he needs to help them close things out.

The question is whether Roenick’s criticism was unfair. Look, I can’t stand Roenick from his playing days, but I think he was giving his honest opinion as a good analyst should. Was it accurate? Was it harsh? Those are debatable points and matters of opinion. You can also question Roenick’s loyalty considering the two were once teammates. To the Sharks fans offended by the analysis, I’ll say this: just hope Marleau uses it as motivation to prove him wrong. If Marleau has a good Game 6, it may have been the best thing for San Jose.

Stick tap to Puck Daddy for the video and background

Bruins’ Sweep of Flyers Will Save Claude Julien’s Job

Entering the 2011 NHL Playoffs, it was no secret that Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien was on the hot seat.  That may sound strange for a head coach whose team entered the postseason as a No. 3 seed, but that was a position the Bruins had been in far too many times.  Julien’s clubs were starting to develop a reputation as playoff chokers.  A 3-0, 3-0 meltdown against the Flyers last season headlined his resume heading into the 2010-2011 season.  Simply put, if Boston could not advance at least as far — and probably further — than it did last season, Julien was gone.

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