MONTREAL — Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas’ stop of an Alexander Ovechkin penalty shot wasn’t the only memorable moment from the Eastern Conference All-Stars’ practice at Bell Centre today.
Here are a few tidbits:
•During the practice, some of the players were interviewed near the benches and the live feed was shown on the Jumbotron. The biggest cheers were obviously for Montreal Canadiens Alexei Kovalev and Carey Price, as well as Montreal native Vinny Lecavalier of Tampa Bay.
When it was time to chat with Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who’s filling the same role for the Eastern Conference All-Stars, boos rained down. However, by the time the bilingual interview was complete, Julien had turned most of the boos to cheers with just a smattering of negative reaction from a near packed house at Bell Centre.
•A number of the YoungStars game participants joined the East for practice. Among them, Bruins rookie Blake Wheeler. During warm-ups, Wheeler was seen chatting with fellow University of Minnesota alum Thomas Vanek, an All-Star for the Buffalo Sabres. Wheeler and Vanek still work out together during the offseason.
“It’s great to see him,” Wheeler said. “He’s a good guy, a great player, so it’s good to catch up.”
•While the All-Stars get to wear specially-made East and West uniforms, the YoungStars wear their teams’ sweaters. That means Wheeler will be skating around in black and gold — making him a prime target for some catcalls by the Montreal crowd.
“That’s what it’s all about. It’s a fun rivalry. It’s one of the most fun games we play and this is a great building to play in,” said Wheeler, who’ll be playing for the rookie squad tonight. “I guess it comes with it. But it’ll be fun to be out there and hopefully they’ll be cheering for the rookies.”