Mailbag answers: Part I

I find it strange that there has been so much talk about trading Savard these past few weeks. He is a gifted player who can help this team. I read somewhere that he is not well liked in the locker room. Is this true? Is that the reason there wasn’t the expected “fire” from the team when he was hit by Cooke? If Bergeron was hit that way by Cooke do you think there would have been a different response?

MK: While I would never profess to be able to get in the minds of Savard’s teammates, as far as I can tell he’s one of the guys. He might rub some the wrong way with his odd quirks about his sticks and his checking of the stats, but he’s also a light-hearted character that can joke around with everyone. In any dressing room, there are going to be guys that don’t get along. But there are plenty of guys that sing Savard’s praises.

Those drawing connections between the reaction to the Cooke-Savard incident and some dislike of Savard among the Bruins are really stretching. That response was due to other psychological problems the Bruins were suffering from, the least of which was animosity toward Savard. The only reason Savard is on the trading block is he has value and the Bruins need cap space.

Dan writes:

Obviously the Bruins would like to trade Ryder, and probably Tim Thomas as well, but since there seems to not be any takers, could they offer a pick along with one of those players to entice a rebuilding team to take these guys? I know picks are valuable, but I feel strongly that the Bruins are very close to being a true contender, and with 2 firsts and 2 second-rounders in the 2011 draft, perhaps the B’s could part with one or two to get the salary relief they so badly need.

MK: Dan, sweetening a deal with a draft pick is definitely a possibility. But I think Chiarelli values those picks too much to do that. If he can get ownership’s permission to bury Ryder in the minors this season – if Ryder doesn’t look like he’s going to turn things around – he can solve his cap problems without executing a salary-dump deal. Thomas coming back wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, especially if Julien gives him enough playing time to raise his stock for a potential midseason trade.

Thomas/By S. Bradley

Black Eye writes:

Let’s say that Tim Thomas is on the Boston roster at the start of the 2010-11 season. That seems highly likely. If that comes to pass, will either Thomas or Rask accept a backup role in the good sport fashion we’ve seen from them in the past? Or will the team try to balance the workload so as to keep both relatively happy and increase Thomas’ trade value? It seems like an unfortunate situation — albeit the kind of problem you like to have, I guess. I just wonder how long both guys can keep egos and professional ambitions in check if this isn’t resolved.

MK: We all know that there are few better people in the Bruins’ locker room that Thomas. His competitive nature will force him to battle for playing time, but I can’t imagine him ever doing anything to sabotage Rask or the team. That being said, there’s no doubt that if both players are in black and gold Julien will try to balance things out for the first two months the same way he did last year, the same way he did with Fernandez two years ago. If both players play their best, Boston could have the best one-two punch in the league and Thomas’ value could go through the roof. If the Bruins can’t make a move, then they’ll have two solid fresh goaltenders come the stretch run. Rask is definitely going to be a great goaltender for a long time, but there’s no guarantee he won’t have some hiccups in his second full NHL season.

Digger writes:

What’s it going to be? Tuukka has a Vezina-worthy year? Tuukka does okay but has to lean on Thomas as a back-up? Tuukka keeps letting in the frequent softy and he and Thomas split the season? Tuukka has a sophomore/Raycroft slump and Thomas takes the No. 1 job?

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