Anthony Federico (12:55 PM)
Hello and welcome to Boston's TD Garden. ESPN Mobile is here for the NHL's Discover Thanksgiving Showdown between the Red Wings and Bruins. Let's get to it!
Anthony Federico (12:57 PM)
Detroit and Boston have taken the ice for the pre-game skate. The Bruins are riding a 10-game winning streak.
Pete, Miami (FL) [via mobile]
Where do you rate Tim Thomas among NHL goaltenders?
Anthony Federico (12:58 PM)
Pete, he has to be in the top 5. Last season he set the single-season save percentage record and won the Conn Smythe while carrying the Bruins to the Stanley Cup title. He is also on another torrid stretch as Boston's win streak is in the double digits.
Frank, Salt Lake City [via mobile]
Where do rate Lidstrom among all-time great defensemen?
Anthony Federico (1:02 PM)
Detroit's living legend continues to defy Father Time. He continues to play at an absurdly high level given he is 41 and has over 1,500 games on his resume. Easy, first-ballot Hall of Famer. Should be mentioned in the same breath with Orr, Bourque, Harvey, Coffey.
Big Tony, Vancouver [via mobile]
Who is the NHL's best rookie?
Anthony Federico (1:05 PM)
It has to be Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He is tied for 12th in the league in scoring (8/14/22) and has displayed a feel for the game that is just not seen in 18-year-olds. He is the easy choice for Rookie of the Year right now and is at the center of the Rig's surprising start. Can't believe there was a time when Edmonton had to consider sending him to junior hockey.
Steve, Minnesota [via mobile]
What's the reason for the Bruins' turnaround following their rough start?
Anthony Federico (1:10 PM)
Tyler Seguin's emergence as a budding superstar is tied to Boston's recent success. The 19-year-old leads the team with 12 goals and 23 points. His plus-18 is through the roof. They are getting goals from multiple lines. Combine that with Tim Thomas' brilliance and Boston can exhale after languishing in the early weeks of the season.
John, Detroit (MI) [via mobile]
Do you think the Red Wings' time to compete for a title has passed? Seems like they'll be fine in the regular season before age catches up with them.
Anthony Federico (1:13 PM)
John, that door is closing rapidly. The Wings' streak of playoff appearances is impressive but their aging core may be running out of time to bring another Cup to Motown. Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Franzen et al are no spring chickens. Detroit has had such sustained success for so long that it's easy to forgot how long that group has been together.
Anthony Federico (1:15 PM)
Black Friday chaos and turkey overload have done little to dampen the enthusiasm here. The Garden roars to life as the lights go out and a montage is played on the jumbotron.
Anthony Federico (1:16 PM)
Backup netminder Tuukka Rask (3-3-0, 2.32 GAA) is starting for Boston this afternoon.
Anthony Federico (1:18 PM)
The Bruins take the ice to a standing ovation from the Garden faithful. It is the 20th straight Black Friday matinee for the Bs.
Anthony Federico (1:20 PM)
The incomparable Rene Rancourt begins the national anthem.
Anthony Federico (1:22 PM)
His signature delayed fist-pump ends the pregame festivities and the puck drops for the 2011 NHL Thanksgiving showdown.
Kyle Romero (Buffalo) [via mobile]
how did they choose the teams to spotlight today
Anthony Federico (1:24 PM)
Kyle, the Red Wings and Bruins are Original Six teams in large media markets with rabid fan bases. Boston is the defending Stanley Cup champion. Makes for a nice Eastern-Western Conference dynamic also.
Taylor, Wisconsin [via mobile]
Thoughts on the Red Wings' goalie situation
Anthony Federico (1:27 PM)
Perfect timing as Detroit's Jimmy Howard makes a nice save against an Andrew Ferrence slapper. Howard is red-hot lately. He is 7-2-0 in his last 9 games sporting a shiny 1.85 GAA. Ty Conklin is serviceable behind him but Howard is an upper-echelon talent.
Bruce (Bowie MD) [via mobile]
What do you think of the thanksgiving game idea for hockey?
Anthony Federico (1:31 PM)
Bruce - give the NHL credit for putting together today's Discover Thanksgiving Showdown. They are pouncing on the post-turkey availability in the sports world. Hockey's popularity will grow as a result of the NBA lockout and today's slate of games will help that.
Anthony Federico (1:33 PM)
Boston with some sustained pressure here midway through the first period. The Bruins are definitely the aggressor early.
Greg Hoffman Eugene Oregon [via mobile]
what one NHL player would you pay to see?
Anthony Federico (1:36 PM)
Great question. I played the game throughout my childhood and I am well aware how difficult it is. It's just not as likely that a natural athlete can pick up hockey like he or she would baseball, basketball, football, etc. The skill set is so unique. That being said, Philadelphia's Claude Giroux is among the most talented players on the planet. Young, flashy, physical. He's got it all.
Anthony Federico (1:39 PM)
Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson whistled for interference. Interesting to see how this penalty kill plays out. Detroit has struggled mightily this season on both special teams. Boston's power play is ranked 14th at 18.1 percent.
Anthony Federico (1:46 PM)
Red Wings on the board first. Valtteri Filppula executes a beautiful give-and-go with Henrik Zetterberg and lights the lamp at 12:43.
Anthony Federico (1:49 PM)
Filppula got behind two Bruins defensemen and tipped in the return pass over a sprawling Rask. Filppula is one of the most intriguing players on the Red Wings. He is so gifted offensively but simply prefers to pass than shoot. In training camp, the Red Wings veteran players encouraged him to shoot more. It has paid off so far: he has 5 goals and 16 points this season.
Jim (OH) [via mobile]
What does Detroit have to do to get Mule and Filp going on a more consistent basis?
Anthony Federico (1:54 PM)
If it ain't broke don't fix it. Johan 'The Mule' Franzen and the afforementioned Filppula have played together the whole season with excellent results. Franzen leads the team in goals (10), points (23) and plus/minus (10). Detroit's inconsistency is more related to it's struggles on the penalty kill.
Josh Jonesboro [via mobile]
What is your Stanley Cup pick?
Anthony Federico (2:03 PM)
I will stand by my preseason pick despite Vancouver's recent struggles. Their depth and scoring prowess will trump any questions about the defense as the NHL's grind wears on. They were oh-so-close last season and have the goaltending to go an extended run again. Of course, having both Sedins always helps.
Anthony Federico (2:04 PM)
Thanks so much for the questions. I'm thankful for you fellow hockey fans. Enjoy the rest of the game.