Bruins Preparing For Next Season Without Tim Thomas
In one of the more shocking developments in Boston Bruins news, it appears that Stanley Cup MVP Tim Thomas is preparing to sit out next season. Bruins’ General Manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed the rumors regarding the goaltenders’ “Sabbatical” this afternoon in a conference call “I’m approaching this season as if Tim Thomas won’t be playing next year” said Chiarelli “There’s a strong chance he’ll be taking the year off”. I can’t begin to imagine the many reasons and scenarios which would cause this flurry of drama surrounding the organization given all that is has accomplished in a year. It appears as if Thomas is aware of Tuukka Rask’s readiness to take the reigns as the number one starter which means Timmy will be moved to clear cap room for a new team direction.
The thing here that hurts the most is the fact that Thomas signed a 35 plus contract.
In the NHL a 35 plus contract is one that is payable regardless of what happens in a player’s career whether it be injury, retirement, or sabbatical. Thomas’ cap hit will count regardless of what he decides to do which may throw a huge wrench in the Bruins’ off-season plans. Thomas has always been a peculiar figure; this can be seen in the various interviews and appearances he has done throughout his career in Boston. Another interesting bit of news is the recent emergence of information regarding the goaltenders’ abrupt move to Colorado mid-season. It was reported yesterday by CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty that Thomas had moved his family out of the Boston area. A player looking for a new home isn’t a strange thing, but when they do it in the middle of a stressful season surrounded in controversy it raises a few eyebrows.
After he carried the Bruins to their first Championship in 39 years, Thomas was considered a hero among the Boston faithful.
One article even claimed that he was rivaling the New England Patriots Tom Brady as the most popular athlete in New England. Everything started to unravel when the Cup Champions’ visited to the White House without Thomas in attendance. He later that posted this message on his Facebook page “I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government. Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.”
This quote divided the entire hockey world. While his teammates refused to comment negatively on the matter and consistently said it was not an issue within the clubhouse, the situation was exasperated by the media throughout the country. I myself at the time did not care about the situation as I believe a players’ personal life is just that. Many of my fellow fans and analysts did not share the same sentiment and blasted Thomas for putting himself above the team and using his fame to spread a message. It appears that Thomas became increasingly uncomfortable with all the attention he was getting regarding the situation and whether or not it was a distraction throughout the clubhouse is still debatable. Whether or not this distraction contributed to the Bruins early playoff exit is in question though I think there were more factors at stake contributing to the loss. Fate certainly didn’t help as the Bruins were humorously put up against the Washington Capitals. Simply put, Thomas was not going to be able to escape the shadow of his White House snub.
Another factor in all this drama may make this out to be as simple as Thomas knowing he is out in Boston and this move may be his last ditch effort to destroy his trade value to scare away and potential suitors. Regardless of the outcome in this debacle it is clear that Thomas has his reasons. It is possible that we are all jumping to conclusions here, he could be incredibly fatigued given the strenuous year he has had at his age. It could be a more personal thing like family, perhaps he wants to play a bigger part is his children’s lives and being a professional athlete sometimes hurts that. Either way it appears as if the two-time Vezina winning Tim Thomas is prepared to leave hockey for a year. For someone who has given so much to the Bruins organization and the city of Boston it is really hard to watch him do this. Either way the Bruins and Peter Chiarelli are confident with their goaltending situation going into next season Thomas or no Thomas ““I’d be more than satisfied with Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin as our goaltenders”.
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