Tim Thomas is back in the NHL and the Federal Government is shut down.
He's gotta be psyched.
Thomas and the Florida Panthers open their season Thursday in Dallas against Tyler Seguin , Rich Peverley and the Stars about 90 minutes after the Bruins begin defense of their Eastern Conference title against Tampa Bay at TD Garden.
The Bruins sent a thrill across New England with their run to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The stunned disappointment of two goals in about three seconds hasn't quite tarnished what they accomplished in the spring and how much fun it was to watch their playoff run.
We learned watching NESN's brilliant "Behind the B" that the Bruins were not satisfied with last year's lineup well before last year ended.
Now, if we could only figure out where Alex and Ani fit on this roster.
The decision to give up on Seguin was made before Patrick Kane ruined our summer. Seguin's departure from Boston marked the end of three years of unfulfilled expectations and wasted potential.
Like Thomas, Seguin performed brilliantly in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals before eventually leaving town amid consternation and frustration. One was by choice, the other by design.
Seguin's peak in Boston came on May 17, 2011, when he scored two goals and picked up two assists against these same Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final. Boston won that game 6-5.
Seguin broke hearts and Thomas busted
This past postseason, Seguin performed with all the effectiveness of Joel Hanrahan. In 352 minutes and six seconds of postseason ice time, Seguin tallied one goal and seven assists. He launched 70 shots in Boston's 22 playoff games and scored only once, in Boston's Game 4 loss to the Rangers.
A .014 average.
That's Mark Sanchez on 3rd-and-18.
During the 2013 postseason run, Tuukka Rask labored in the shadow of Thomas. Rask won over many skeptics, including me, with his performance against Pittsburgh in the Conference Finals. He also impressed his bosses and signed an eight-year, $56 million deal. Who said 14 postseason wins weren't enough?
Rask, like Thomas before him, demonstrated how far a team with some notable flaws can go in today's goalie-friendly NHL. While Thomas won a couple of games for Boston in the 2011 Cup Finals against Vancouver, Rask was only good enough not to cost the Bruins any games against the Blackhawks.
Eventually, Kane and Jonathan Toews were too much for even Tuukka to overcome. They were a blue-coller version of the Sedin Brothers.
The move to lock up Rask was wise, similar to what the Red Sox did with Dustin Pedroia. It was a below market package that offered a lower market value in exchange for longer terms.
The fatal flaw for the Bruins last June, besides the Blackhawks, was an inability to sustain offensive pressure and literally finding a way to put the puck in the net in money scoring opportunities.
Seguin fanned on multiple occasions, including a crucial up-close-and personal opportunity on Corey Crawford.
Expletives galore . . .
That whiff cost the Bruins a potential 2-0 lead in Game 6 and possibly a ticket to Chicago for Game 7.
The thanks-for-the-memories-so-long attitude exhibited by Peter Chiarelli has brought veterans Loui Eriksson and the dreaded Jarome Iginla [finally] to Boston. Neither has shown any indication of ever being hesitant in front of the net or in the corner. Iginla deserves the Mariano Rivera 2005 Opening Day treatment when he's introduced Thursday for choosing Pittsburgh over Boston last spring.
He will have to earn those legitimate cheers, just like everyone else
As we noted two weeks ago, the Bruins are overall favorites to win their conference and 10-1 favorites in Las Vegas to win it all.
Hardly a sure bet. But they were a much longer shot last season and even a bigger one in 2011.
Just ask Tim Thomas, once you wipe that smile off his face.
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