Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Canucks turn attention to Thomas's wandering

Categories: Boston Bruins, VAN vs. BOS, Vancouver Canucks

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Bruins goalie Tim Thomas checks Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Canucks have asked the league to clarify goaltender interference calls in light of Thomas's infamous wandering. (Harry How/Getty Images) Bruins goalie Tim Thomas checks Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Canucks have asked the league to clarify goaltender interference calls in light of Thomas's infamous wandering. (Harry How/Getty Images)

By Tim Wharnsby

BOSTON -- The Vancouver Canucks have turned their attention from the four-game suspension to Aaron Rome to dealing with the aggressive nature of Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas.

The Canucks have asked league officials to clarify possible goaltender interference calls, even when Thomas is out of his crease and retreating backwards.

"We asked the league," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "Part of Thomas' way of playing is playing out of the blue paint, initiating contact, roaming out there. He seems to think that once he's out, set, makes the save,  that he can go directly back in his net without having anybody behind him.

"Well, that's wrong. He's got the wrong rule on that. If we're behind him, that's our ice and we're allowed to stay there. We've talked to the NHL about that. We've talked to the NHL about him initiating contact like did on Hank [Henrik Sedin]. They're aware of it. Hopefully they're going to handle it."

The Canucks were upset that Thomas was not penalized when he nailed the Canucks captain in the third period of Game 3. Sedin went to glove the puck just outside the Bruins crease, and Thomas met him with a hit.

Sedin went to the referees after the play and the explanation he received was that Thomas was trying to make a save.

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Phoenix Suns superstar Steve Nash are expected to attend the game at TD Garden on Wednesday. Nash is the brother-in-law of Canucks centre Manny Malhotra.

The replacements

Keith Ballard will replace the suspended defenceman Rome in the Canucks lineup for Game 4 on Wednesday. He practiced alongside Kevin Bieksa in the Canucks morning skate and will see his first action since the West finale against the San Jose Sharks two weeks ago.

Rome was suspended for the remainder of the playoffs for his late head check on Boston sniper Nathan Horton in Game 3 on Monday.

Bruins coach Claude Julien refused to reveal who will replace Horton on the top line with centre David Krejci and Milan Lucic. There was speculation that Krejci could be joined by Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley, and that Lucic would be dropped to the third line with centre Chris Kelly and rookie Tyler Seguin.

There were concerns about the ice conditions at TD Garden this morning. There was a Glee concert on Tuesday evening, and the ice seemed to snow easily during the skates earlier on Wednesday.

Will Horton be in the building?

Horton was released from the hospital on Tuesday morning, but Bruins head coach Claude Julien wasn't sure if the injured forward would attend the game.

"He's obviously had a severe concussion," Julien said. "Most of the time we let those guys stay back, get their rest, get better before we even allow them to come to the rink. I can't answer that because I don't have the answer. As you know, being around a bunch of people is not the best thing for someone suffering with a concussion."

Special team concerns

It was the Bruins who entered the final with power-play concerns, but through three games they not only have been better than their opponents in man-advantage situations (3-fo-13 to Vancouver's 1-for-16), but have two short-handed goals to boot. Those short-handed goals have the Canucks power-play a minus-one in the goal differential department.

"We don't have to talk about the power play," Vancouver's Daniel Sedin said. "It's been working all year. We've bounced back in the regular season and in the playoffs, too. We've always been able to bounce back. We need to be better, we know that."