Boston Bruins defeat New York Rangers, 1-0

The Bruins clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference by beating the Rangers, who are a possible first-round opponent.

Which means another possible showdown with Sean Avery, who sparked his latest round of controversy by tapping Tim Thomas on the head during a TV timeout. Thomas responded by chasing down Avery and delivering a shot to his back, then getting his blocker in the face of Fredrik Sjostrom, who had come to the defense of his teammate.

"It's an unwritt...

In 1997, Tim Thomas was cut free by Colorado, the franchise that had drafted him three years earlier. In 1998, he returned half of his $75,000 signing bonus to Edmonton for the right to walk away from the organization. In 2006, 29 teams passed on making a waiver claim when Thomas was recalled to Boston from Providence.

This past week, the bends in Thomas's hockey road were justified when he signed a four-year, $20 million contract extension, a payday that seemed so long...

Saturday's matinee against the Rangers started without Aaron Ward, out for the afternoon because of an undisclosed injury suffered against Ottawa two days earlier. In the second period, the Bruins lost Andrew Ference (undisclosed injury, naturally). Then in the final frame, Dennis Wideman had to miss several shifts after blocking a shot (he was dropped earlier in the third after taking defenseman Derek Morris's slap shot square in the chest).

So for a brief time in Satu...

It wasn't Tim Thomas's birthday, but hey, who needs a cake when the boss smiles and hands you a $20 million guarantee? Thomas, who won't turn 35 for a few more days, can live every day the rest of his life as if it's his birthday now that he has his new contract to keep him in Boston.

Nonetheless, Sean Avery felt yesterday was the perfect time to give Thomas one to grow on - specifically, a smack to the back of the helmet as the Bruins' No. 1 goalie was stretching his l...