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Tim Thomas will start tonight’s powder keg vs. Buffalo

Nov 23, 2011, 2:51 PM EDT

Image (1) timthomas-thumb-250x187-13001-thumb-250x187-13002-thumb-250x187-17073.jpg for post 15746

“The last two games he’s had shutouts, so it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to make the decision for tonight. You go with your best goaltender and right now he’s rolling pretty good.”
Boston head coach Claude Julien on starting Tim Thomas against Buffalo.

Prior to this announcement, there was debate whether the Bruins should ‘hide’ Thomas given what transpired 11 days ago. (You know, that whole “Milan Lucic concussed Ryan Miller” thing…followed by the “Buffalo didn’t stand up for Miller” thing…followed by the “Sabres are coming apart at the seams” thing.)

Retribution seemed a given for tonight.

But retribution is complex, in that there are many ways to go about it. The PHT comments section — a bastion for intellectual conversation and thought-provoking ideas — suggested several options for the Sabres, one of them being the tit-for-tat method:

Run Tim Thomas. You hit our goalie, we hit yours.

(We’re not endorsing this, merely passing it along.)

But is running Thomas really an option? Sure…if someone feels like taking a 25-game vacation and putting a down payment on the Players’ Emergency Assistance yacht.  Otherwise it’s not even in the cards. Aside from the heightened awareness Brendan Shanahan has put on this game, running Thomas would be a bad move as it would only further question Buffalo’s team toughness.

If the Sabres have beef with Lucic, he should be the focus of their attention. (Well, their focus should probably be on winning the game, but that almost seems secondary at this point.) Trying to smash Thomas is akin to getting revenge on your ex-girlfriend by smashing her new boyfriend’s car window. It’s dumb, misguided and could earn you a serious beatdown in the process.

This might be a huge cliche, but it’s true: The best way for Buffalo to beat Thomas is by putting pucks past him, not taking runs at him.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Thomas is 6-0 with a .950 save percentage and 1.50 goals against average during the month of November and as CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty put it, “looks like he’s in the middle of one of his patented hot streaks between the pipes.”

  1. cowboys282 - Nov 23, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    Bring it on Buffalo lol

  2. kkickflip - Nov 23, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    It would be stupid to go after Thomas. It’d draw a lot of problems with the league and their offices which would do more harm than good. The Sabres starting a line brawl or challenging Lucic and other members of the Bruins would probably be the better idea. That or they could win. I don’t see them doing too much tonight physically since they all know the league is watching.

  3. davebabychreturns - Nov 23, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    The time to run Thomas has probably passed. It would have been a message that would’ve been taken seriously if someone had done it during the last game, and one could make a legitimate argument that it occurred because the refs lost control of the game.

    Running Thomas tonight, while drastically more likely to be something the Sabres can do to intimidate physically than take on the Bruins skaters, will of course subject them to even more scrutiny and criticism.

    For a team like the Sabres what really matters is the final score, but I expect given their comments in the media that there will be a physical contest tonight and a pretty anticlimactic fight with Lucic.

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