Stanley Cup finals practice: Words fly on day that pucks don't
Greetings from Boston, where it’s chilly and raining and everyone is antsy for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, to be played Monday at TD Garden with the Cup in the house. A win by the Vancouver Canucks would make them the first Canada-based team to win the trophy since the Montreal Canadiens triumphed over the Kings in 1993; a home win by the Bruins would send the series back to Vancouver for Game 7 on Wednesday.
The verbal jabs between the Canucks and Bruins continued to dominate the conversation Sunday, maybe because two days between games is one too many. But the ripple effects of Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo’s post-Game 5 comments continued, with his Boston counterpart, Tim Thomas, joining in.
To recap: After the Canucks’ 1-0 victory in Game 5, with Maxim Lapierre scoring the only goal after a shot by Kevin Bieksa caromed off the end boards, Luongo was asked to evaluate the play from a goalie’s perspective. His response: “It's not hard if you're playing in the paint. It's an easy save for me, but if you're wandering out and aggressive like he does, that's going to happen. He might make some saves that I won't, but in a case like that, we want to take advantage of a bounce like that and make sure we're in a good position to bury those.”
The Bruins didn’t take kindly to what might have been intended as a contrast of their goaltending styles but came off as an insult to Thomas, but Luongo didn’t seem to care.
“I’ve been pumping his tires since the series started and I haven’t heard one nice thing he’s had to say about me,” Luongo told reporters before the team’s flight to Boston.
Thomas said Sunday he’s more focused on the task ahead than on what Luongo is saying but couldn’t resist taking a shot. “I didn't realize it was my job to pump his tires,” Thomas said after the Bruins’ practice. “I guess I have to apologize for that.”
We’ll have more coverage later, after the Canucks’ practice.
--Helene Elliott, in Boston
Photo: Bruins goalkeeper Tim Thomas tries in vain to get back into the paint to stop a shot by Vancouver's Maxim Lapierre in the third period of Game 5 on Friday night. Credit: Julie Jacobson / Associated Press