Before the Florida Panthers and the Boston Bruins could drop the puck on Thursday’s game, Claude Julien’s simple answer to a question about a former teammate set the tone for the entire night.
“They’d be right,” said Julien, when asked if the Bruins don’t win a Stanley Cup without Tim Thomas. He went on a bit further.
“Tim Thomas doesn’t win the Stanley Cup, if our team doesn’t play as well as they did in front of him,” finished the Bruins’ head coach. “So, this is an honest statement: Tim played well but I think our team played just as well in front of him.”
Forget what he said about Thomas. Julien set the tone by stressing the importance of playing as a team, in order to be successful. It was a common theme that came full circle. The Bruins needed to go back to the basics and play their game in order to win. After a bumpy first period, it’s exactly what they did.
This season alone, the Bruins will face an absurd amount of former teammates from their 2011 Stanley Cup Championship run. All former teammates who switched jerseys this past offseason after playing a crucial role in the Bruins’ success in winning their first Stanley Cup in 39 years. However no matter what anyone says, there’s no bigger contest than tonight when the Bruins play against the Florida Panthers, anchored by goaltender Tim Thomas, the most important piece of the 2011 Bruins’ Championship team.
Rask has never started more than 45 games in a season and is now responsible for the bulk of a full, normal campaign. If Rask gets injured or his play begins to slip, who’s there to back him up? An unproven goalie who only has AHL experience, albeit excellent, or a career minor-league journeyman who isn’t even seeing time in preseason games? It’s a little puzzling.