BOSTON -- Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas allowed four goals on 24 shots in a 4-1 loss to the Capitals on Wednesday night at TD Garden. It was Thomas’ first game since having offseason hip surgery and while he took the loss, the former Vezina Trophy winner felt good physically and is optimistic that he and his hip are on the right track.
“Hip and legs felt really good and overall I felt good, but I didn’t get the results I wanted obviously,” Thomas said before departing for Belfast with his teammates. “But I passed the physical test. I think I’d be feeling something now, but I don’t feel anything.”
Coach Claude Julien also was encouraged by what he saw from Thomas, who had not played since the Bruins regular-season finale at Washington last spring.
"He looked at full strength as far as a guy playing in his first game," Julien said. "It was encouraging. For his first game, I thought he was pretty good. That's encouraging because he's only going to get better from here on in. We've got to keep working with him and bring him up to the level he's used to being at."
Belfast on their minds?
The Bruins seemed to go through the motions for much of the game and one had to wonder if mentally and emotionally they were already across the Atlantic Ocean. The team was scheduled to take off for Belfast at midnight. While forward Blake Wheeler admitted the trip to Europe was a distraction, he refused to use it as an excuse.
“I think everyone in the room wanted to put on a nice show before we go overseas and we didn’t do that,” Wheeler said
The Bruins need to start forming on-ice chemistry and get closer to regular-season form. They'll play two exhibition games overseas before opening the season against Phoenix Oct. 9 at Prague.
"We're at a stage right now where we've really cut down to our team," Julien said. "I would say, basically, that camp is over. Let's start working toward putting some lines together and working with them. We've got nine or 10 days here until the real games start. We've got to use that time to make our team better and put ourselves in sync."
Earlier in the day, the Bruins announced that they have assigned forwards Joe Colborne and Zach Hamill as well as defenseman Steve Kampfer to Providence (AHL), cutting their roster to 25 healthy players.