Commentary

Taking a few extra shots on goal

Bruins shrug off (but file away) Luongo's subtle jabs at Thomas

Updated: June 12, 2011, 12:04 PM ET
By Brendan Hall | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- A day after Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo delivered a snipe toward his counterpart Tim Thomas' performance in Friday night's Game 5, the attention turned to the one-sided war of words.

Asked after Friday's game about the goal allowed by Thomas, Luongo responded, "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."

[+] EnlargeRoberto Luongo
Jason O. Watson/US Presswire"I have been pumping his tires ever since the series started. I haven't heard one nice thing he had to say about me," Roberto Luongo said Saturday about Tim Thomas.

Perhaps in hindsight, Luongo's explanation wasn't so wild. While his fellow Vezina finalist has been no less than brilliant these playoffs, he has been criticized at times for taking too many gambles with his style of play.

But also, perhaps foolishly, Luongo threw another log on the fire Saturday in attempting to clear the air on what he meant by those comments.

"I said he might make some saves that I don't. I was just saying, on that particular play, I would have played it different. That's the difference between me and him," Luongo told reporters. "I have been pumping his tires ever since the series started. I haven't heard one nice thing he had to say about me. That's the way it is."

As usual, if the Bruins had any emotions about the comment, they did a good job hiding them -- a job expedited by Thomas' absence from media availability Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.

Everything was vanilla, chalked up to context, sprinkled with terse one-liners. That went for Luongo himself, too.

"It's unfortunate that he is commenting on another good goalie's performance," forward Chris Kelly said. "I don't think Timmy has commented on his style. So obviously Timmy has been unbelievable for us. So you know, we wouldn't be where we are if it wasn't for him so that's really all you can say about that. Obviously at this point in the year I don't think you need extra motivation to get up for the next game."

Captain Zdeno Chara admitted he was surprised by Luongo's comments, but added, "Obviously it's something he said, you would have to talk to him about it. But we all know the qualities Timmy has. We all know he's one of the best goalies in the league."

Bruins head coach Claude Julien downplayed the issue while adding a subtle dig of his own.

"Let's put it this way, I don't think Timmy is going to make much of that comment," Julien said. "I think you guys are making more out of it than Timmy will. Either way, his stats, you know, are proof itself. He's given up six goals in five games. The guy that made the comment, I'm not quite sure how many he let in. I think you guys have a good idea, so I don't think he's going to lose sleep over that."

Bruins forward Brad Marchand, ever the diplomat, brushed off the remarks. "Obviously both teams go about things a different way," he said, "and that's one way they react to things."

True, but as we've learned in these playoffs, it's not always the smartest idea to wake up the Tank.

Brendan Hall covers high school sports and occasionally the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.

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