When the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs meet, glorious violence and bizarre physical plays just seem to organically occur. Like when Milan Lucic made it rain glass earlier this season, for example.
Last night in the Bruins' 4-3 comeback shootout victory in Toronto, it was goalie Tim Thomas who provided the memorable highlight in the second period: Literally launching himself at Jason Blake, who beat him on the game's first goal, to thwart a scoring attempt. Check it out:
Pierre McGuire certainly went into full-on Dick Vitale foaming there, didn't he? "This is a defensive back going after a wide receiver!" Yes, Pierre ... Ronnie Lott always used to lead with his blockers and stick when gently nudging offensive foes off-balance.
No penalty was called on the play, although the video does show what we imagine is a stern warning from the referee about jeopardizing future goalie interference calls.
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UPDATE: Thanks to Hub Hockey poster "Bruin89" for pointing this out. Around the 12 second mark of the video you can clearly hear Jason Blake complain to the ref by saying "What the [expletive] is that?", after Thomas dives at him. That is Eastern Conference All-Star and take no [expletive] from anyone president Tim Thomas.
All due respect to Steve Mason and Ryan Miller, but Thomas is now our Vezina Trophy front runner -- for being the closest thing to Ron Hextall and Billy Smith in a League where goalies are overstuffed and underwhelming when it comes to physical play. This missile launch follows his shot to the head of Andrei Kostitsyn last week, after the Montreal Canadiens winger took a run at Aaron Ward. Tapeleg said it best:
Thomas is the man. And I have no idea what is wrong with this play. Thomas checks a player. There is nothing in the rules that says he can't. If Jason Blake doesn't get his a$$ handed to him from Brian Burke, it will be because he is on waivers (yeah, won't happen, I know). Dude, you just got checked by a goalie.