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Boston could struggle keeping Thomas to 55-game plateau

Mar 6, 2012, 5:10 PM EDT

Tim Thomas, Phil Kessel AP

According to’s Joe Haggerty, the Boston Bruins have a specific number in mind when it comes to Tim Thomas:


That’s the maximum number of starts they want the 37-year-old goalie to have. GM Peter Chiarelli has often said 55 is the “money number” of yearly starts, with stats to prove it — Thomas won the Vezina in 2008-09 after starting 54 games and again in 2010-11 after starting 55.

Clearly, there’s an emphasis on not overworking Thomas, which explains the consternation over Tuukka Rask‘s injury. Rask will be out 4-6 weeks with groin/abdomen injuries, Thomas has made 42 starts already and there are 18 games left in the regular season.

Because of this, the Bruins were forced to sign Marty Turco from the Austrian League — and are now praying Turco’s capable of carrying the load, even though he’s coming up on the one-year anniversary of his last NHL contest (Mar. 17, 2011.)

“It’s an unfortunate injury at a really bad time of the year. We hope to have Turco with us by tomorrow,” said Claude Julien. “He’ll give us the experience and the type of backup goaltender that we need here going down the stretch.”

Because Rask struggled in February, Thomas started 10 of 13 games last month — meaning Boston was already off-course in the “Timmy 55” plan. The plan was for Rask to pick up the slack in March and April, but that’s not going to happen.

Compounding matters is that Boston doesn’t technically have Turco yet. He still needs to clear waivers and, as the Boston Globe suggests, a rival team (*cough* Ottawa *cough*) could put the screws to Boston by making a claim.

Add it all up, and Boston’s in a bad spot. Simple math says Thomas should start a maximum 13 of Boston’s final 18 games, meaning Turco would get five…that’s potentially 10 points at stake the Bruins, who are only three up on Ottawa in the Northeast Division.

If you’re wondering what Bruins coach Claude Julien thinks about a possible Thomas-Turco split, stop wondering. He’s not looking that far ahead.

“I just go day-by-day,” he said. “I’ve always said that and we’ll see how things turn out. We don’t know whether Marty is going to be with us or not.”

  1. whatasave - Mar 6, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Reblogged this on whatasave and commented:
    All depends on Turco’s play.

  2. danphipps01 - Mar 6, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Man, I REALLY want Ottawa to do it. Not so much because I don’t like the Bruins as because I’m interested in seeing how it would play out. It would certainly turn into one of the more interesting stories of the late-season push – especially if Ottawa manages to overtake them.

  3. 8man - Mar 6, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    This is a no brainer. If 55 is really the number, let Thomas play the 13 and get someone, anyone, in between the pipes for those 5 and stay with him. And honestly, if the cat they dig up does well, let him go for more than 5. This team is still good enough to win half of their games behind an average goalie.

    No worries.

    • danphipps01 - Mar 6, 2012 at 6:51 PM

      Except for the fact that they’ve won LESS than half behind a GOOD goalie lately. 10-12-2 with Thomas in for most of them is enough for me to doubt that claim, myself.

  4. hsnepts - Mar 6, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    heh it would be pretty funny if Ottawa did claim. I mean, they could try and sell it as a hockey move, but we’d all know there was more to it. Snagging Turco from the Bruins could mean maybe 2-4 points in the standings – that could be second seed.

    At the end of the day, I dont think the Bruins are in any kind of trouble, as long as Rask’s recovery goes according to schedule.

  5. elvispocomo - Mar 6, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    I’m not sure why Ottawa would claim, they’d have to keep him up and play him. That’s not so bad a thing with Anderson out but they have to get Bishop up so they can retain his RFA status. Doesn’t work so well when you already have Auld to carry Bishop and Turco.

    • elvispocomo - Mar 6, 2012 at 11:11 PM

      Nevermind about the RFA status of Bishop, forgot about his contract extension. I still don’t see them claiming Turco though.

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