In the same week that Nicklas Lidstrom left the NHL stage with grace and class, Tim Thomas has left the NHL (at least temporarily )with many shaking or scratching their heads. Rumors floated out a few days ago that last year’s Conn Smythe and Vezina winner was considering taking the year off at the age of 38 and with only one year left on his contract. It was a decision that left many fans and media members perplexed, it’s simply something we’ve never really seen before. Today Thomas confirmed such rumors through his Facebook page:
At the age of 38, I believe it is time to put my time and energies into those areas and relationships that I have neglected. That is why at this time I feel the most important thing I can do in my life is to reconnect with the three F’s.
Friends, Family, and Faith.
Thomas also included in his address two links to companies he is seemingly sponsored by.
It’d be very hard to believe a year ago that Tim Thomas would so blatantly ditch the team he had won a Stanley Cup with but his actions since last June have made it evident that Thomas doesn’t (and perhaps never did) care about his teammates or the Bruins organization. It’s clear that he was pissed off that the Bruins so openingly tried to trade him after an injury-plagued season left the Bruins wanting more from their goaltending position. Thomas used that to light a fire that propelled him back to Vezina form, and even better a year ago. There’s no doubt that this extra bit of motivation pushed him to perform better than ever and led him to a season that Bruins fans will be eternally grateful for.
But after the pinnacle was reached and there was nothing left to accomplish Thomas began acting increasingly erratic. Never the ultimate teammate, Thomas began distancing himself further and further from his teammates and the organization. He famously skipped the team’s appearance at the White House because of political conflicts, an appearance that is anything but political. There were also the comments after the Bruins Game 7 loss to the Capitals where Thomas refused to use the terms ‘we’ or ‘us’ in favor of ‘me’ and ‘they’, something that wasn’t as iniquitous as initially thought.
Thomas clearly still has bitterness towards the Bruins front office for trying to trade him, and frankly, if you ask me, he’s being a baby about it. A very vengeful baby. Trade rumors are part of the business and something an 18-year old hockey player should know not to take personally, never mind a 38-year old. That fuel worked both ways. It sparked him to play the best hockey a goalie has ever played in one season but it also made him into ‘me first, screw the team’ guy at the end.
Thomas finally got his revenge by putting the Bruins over a barrel. They are without their starting goalie and yet to sign their future franchise goalie (that sound you hear is Tuukka Rask’s price going through the roof) and since Thomas signed his current deal after he turned 35, his sabbatical will cost the Bruins $5 million on the cap next year.Thomas’ decision has made him nearly untradeable as well, unless a team like the Islanders wants to take on his salary just to meet the Salary Cap floor. He’s screwed the Bruins two or three ways and has shot a cannon through his underdog-to-hockey god reputation.
So thanks for the memories, Timmy. You’re the best goalie a lot of Bruins fans have seen between the pipes and we’ll always be grateful for the things you did in Black and Gold but most of us really wish you went out with more class and grace. You certainly knew how to play the game between the lines better than most of them but you just couldn’t grasp the business side of things. I just hope Boston fans don’t look back at you in two years with the disdain that Curt Schilling has created for himself.