Fifteen days ago, the Boston Bruins hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup for the first time in 39 years.
They wouldn’t have
done so even gotten out of the first-round without this guy: Conn Smythe and two-time Vezina Trophy winner, goaltender Tim Thomas.
Name: Tim Thomas
Weight: 201 lbs.
Contract: $5 million through 2012-13 NHL season
2010-11 NHL season stats:
Regular season: 57 Games Played
Shutouts: 9 (2nd)
Save-percentage: .938 (1st)
Goals-against average: 2.00 (1st)
Saves: 1,699 (9th)
Playoffs: 25 Games played
Shutouts: 4 (1st)
Save-percentage: .940 (1st)
Goals-against average: 1.98 (1st)
Saves: 798 (1st)
Tim’s take: What else needs to be said about Tim Thomas’ 2010-11 season that hasn’t been said already? All Thomas did was post the single season save percentage record (.938) — previously held by Dominik Hasek — and capture his second Vezina Trophy in three years. And to top it all off he was the runaway recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy for Playoff MVP.
To say that Thomas had a stellar season would be an understatement. If it wasn’t for him then — as many fans at The Hub know — the Bruins certainly wouldn’t have won the Cup, let alone make a deep run in the playoffs.
While Tuukka Rask — who did a tremendous job last season replacing Thomas during an injury plagued 2009-10 season — is still the goaltender of the future in Boston, he’ll have to wait for at least one more year, maybe two, to become the man between the pipes. This isn’t a knock on Rask by any means, but Thomas, even at age 37, still has a bunch of years left in him.
It’s safe to put Thomas right up there with Gerry Cheevers as one of the greatest goalies to don the Black and Gold.
Final grade: A+
Marino’s grade: Would the Bruins have made the playoffs without Tim Thomas? Perhaps.
Would they have won the Stanley Cup without him? Absolutely not.
Not only would have the Bruins not been able to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup, but they probably would have been started their golfing season in the third or fourth week of April. He broke records (all-time playoff shots-against and saves leader), was the last line of defense, and was like Fort Knox all year long.
I was asked a few weeks back if I would put Thomas’ name up there with the Orr’s and Neely’s. I paused, and proceeded to say, hell yes. Sure he doesn’t have the all-time stats and the longevity of those two greats, and when it’s all said and done with, he may not even make the HOF. But just how completely dominant he was, what he did for this team, organization and city almost single-handedly, Tim Thomas will definitely go down as an all-time Bruins great.
Final grade: A+