The latest Tim Thomas saga started with CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty reporting that he moved his family to Colorado during the middle of the season. It continued hours later with a report by TSN’s Pierre LeBrun that Thomas was thinking about taking a sabbatical during the 2012-13 season to prepare for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
During a conference call on Friday for the signings of Daniel Paille and Chris Bourque, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli also confirmed those reports of Thomas’ sabbatical, and that the team would have to carry over his cap hit for next season, even if they suspended him for the entire year.
Thought that was the end of it, didn’t you? Well, in typical Tim Thomas fashion, the now former Boston netminder used Facebook, again, making his stance known on Sunday via his official Facebook page. And in doing so, he is also putting the Bruins in a tough situation.
“From the earliest age I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a hockey player. I’ve been blessed in my life to not only be able to live that dream, but to achieve more than I ever thought possible,” the statement read. “The singleminded focus that is necessary to accomplish a dream of this magnitude entails (by necessity) sacrifice in other areas and relationships in life.
“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. This is what I plan on doing over the course of the next year.”
There’s no doubt that the 2011-12 campaign took its toll on Thomas. From snubbing President Barack Obama during the team’s visit to the White House to celebrate their accomplishment of their first Stanley Cup victory in 39 years, to some of his postgame antics and his reaction to some off-season trade rumors on break-up day all played into a less productive year .
There’s also no doubt that Thomas seems devoted to his family and will fulfill his time by “reconnecting with three f’s”. After all, he moved his parents to Massachusetts to receive cancer treatment during his tenure, which alone shows his devotion to his family.
But the timing of this announcement, and his status update from the day before (screen grab below), comes at a rather bizarre time.
Through his passive-aggressive approach, Thomas has left the Black and Gold in the dust as they are forced to carry over his $5 million cap hit for next year even if he officially retires — this was after signing his contract extension in 2008-09 when he was over 35 years of age per the rules of the current CBA. Chiarelli can save some space by putting Marc Savard on LTIR, which will save $4 million, but even with his no-trade clause expiring on July 1, a trade for Thomas seems highly unlikely at this rate.
Not to forget, Tuukka Rask (RFA) has not yet signed a new contract. With Thomas’ departure, its safe to assume that Tuukka’s stock has gone up financially as he likely will become the team’s No. 1 netminder (assuming he re-signs) with Anton Khudobin likely backing him up to start the year.
Even if Thomas were to compete for a spot on the 2014 US Olympic team, he will have an uphill battle with Jonathan Quick, who has been lights out for the Los Angeles Kings this postseason, Cory Schneider (Vancouver Canucks), Jimmy Howard (Detroit Red Wings) and perhaps Ryan Miller, who was the backbone for the Americans during the 2010 games in Vancouver.
There’s no doubt that Thomas had a historic season during the team’s Cup run last June and was the main reason why the Bruins kissed Lord’s Stanley for the first time since 1972.
After that, there was only one direction to go: down. And it looks like Thomas is trying to take his now former team, the only one who gave the journeyman goalie a chance, down with him.