WILMINGTON, Mass. — Today after the Boston Bruins practiced at Ristuccia Arena, goaltender Tim Thomas was ready to turn the page and less than eager to talk about what he called “yesterday’s news.”
But the intrigue that unfolded in the third period last night, when Thomas was hit by Columbus’ Jiri Novotny and the goaltender’s cage fell to the ice, was too vital to ignore. Forced to wear Manny Fernandez’s mask while the equipment staff worked on repairing the busted strap that holds Thomas’ chin cup, the veteran puck-stopper surrendered what proved to be the game-winning goal to Blue Jackets forward Raffi Torres.
“I don’t wear masks because I can’t see, I can’t breathe and I can’t hear. Other than that, they’re OK,” Thomas explained about the difference between his headgear and Fernandez’s.
Unfortunately for Thomas, he doesn’t carry a back-up headgear on the road.
“At times, I’ve carried an extra one. But I bet you if you go through the league, probably 95 percent of the goalies don’t bring an extra one because a puck hitting your mask won’t do that to it,” he said. “And in the game of hockey, I didn’t think a goalie was supposed to get hit like that. So you don’t really have to worry about the mask breaking like that because it’s not made to withstand those things — it’s made to withstand a puck.”
Thomas was a bit confused as to the lack of a penalty on the play. And head coach Claude Julien just chalked it up to the different sensitivities of referees in the NHL today.
“Every referee seems to have kind of a different view of it. The minute you touch a goalie behind the net, (some of them) call it,” Juien said. “Others they … it really did look like it was accidental. He looked like he was trying to cut on the inside and Timmy turned and then they collided. Some referees would’ve still called it; some don’t.”