Stan Mikita is battling tongue cancer (Photo courtesy of legendsofhockey.com)

Bruins-Lightning: Anxiously Awaiting Game 6

Tim Thomas is Boston's playoff MVP so far. (www.offwing.com)

Random thoughts while awaiting the puck drop of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals …

  • The next time you hear someone say “It’s Tuukka Time” after a Tampa goal, just punch them. Though he may have had a bad game or two in the playoffs, Tim Thomas is the reason Boston is up 3-2 in the series. Without him, the B’s were golfing at least three days ago. Apparently, everyone forgot how awful Rask was in the final four games against Philadelphia a year ago.
  • Patrice Bergeron is worth every penny the Bruins paid him. I thought maybe they overpaid Bergeron when the deal was signed in the fall, but his value goes far beyond goals and assists. The guy does everything well, and you can see why Steve Yzerman picked him for Team Canada in the Olympics in 2010.
  • Claude Julien has done a good job this year. I won’t be convinced he’s the guy to get them a Stanley Cup until Zdeno Chara lifts it over his head, but he has proven to be a better coach than I thought. He is five wins away from being a legend in Boston. I never thought I’d say that about him.
  • Ptere Chiarelli made two great moves at the deadline, and I’m not talking about Tomas Kaberle. Chris Kelly was a great pickup. Like Bergeron, he does the little things that often go unnoticed by fans. He’s a character guy who can fill-in at virtually any position. Rich Peverley has also been a great addition. He is fast, can play wing or center, and has a great job on the PK. He was a huge upgrade over Blake Wheeler.
  • How much did Boston miss Dennis Seidenberg last year? Seidenberg has averaged over 28 minutes of ice per game in the playoffs, and has been one of Boston’s best players. Give credit to Chiarelli for acquiring him last year at the deadline, even if he missed the playoffs with an injury. He has been a key guy.
  • My gut tells me Dwayne Rolosn has some type of injury or has been sick. There is no other explanation as to why he did not play Game 5 but will be back in Game 6. It’s not like Monday’s loss was Mike Smith’s fault. He played well and really didn’t have a chance on either goal he allowed.
  • Sad to hear Hall of Famer Stan Mikita has tongue cancer. The good news is doctors say the prognosis for the 71-

    year-old Chicago legend is “excellent.”

  • Vancouver seems to have dodged a bullet, as Ryan Kesler appears to be okay. Kesler left Tuesday’s Game 5 with what appeared to be a serious leg injury, only to return about 8 minutes later. He said the leg was fine, and it looked fine when he scored the tying goal with 13.2 seconds to play.
  • Two great American players will likely announce retirements over the next two days. Brian Rafalski is expected to retire at a press conference today, turning down a significant payday from Detroit. On Thursday on Long Island, Doug Weight will announce his retirement from the sport as well. Good luck to both, and thanks for the memories.
  • Proposed trade: Tomas Kaberle and a second-round pick to Toronto for a Tim Horton’s gift card or a week’s worth of Iced Cappuccino, effective immediately.
  • I still am expecting Martin St. Louis and/or Vincent Lecavalier to have a breakout game. Both have been pretty quiet in this series so far. A lot of the credit has to go to Seidenberg, Chara, and Bergeron who have been on the ice the majority of time St. Louis and Lecavalier have been.
  • Count me as someone who is both sad and glad Atlanta is losing its franchise. I am sad because I would love to see hockey grow to different parts of the United States. Increasing the fan base only helps the sport. However, I am glad Winnipeg (and Canada) is getting another franchise. That is also good for the sport as a whole.

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Tags: Atlanta Thrashers Boston Bruins Brian Rafalski Chris Kelly Dennis Seidenberg Doug Weight Dwayne Roloson Martin St. Louis. Tomas Kaberle Mike Smith Patrice Bergeron Peter Chiarelli Rich Peverley Ryan Kesler Steve Yzerman Tampa Bay Lightning Tim Horton Tim Thomas Tuukka Rask Vancouver Canucks Vincent Lecavalier Winnipeg Zdeno Chara

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