On June 1, 2012, Tim Thomas lost my support.
I could withstand all the controversy and political statements, because that’s someone’s right. Sure, it was outlandish, inopportune behavior, but this was Timmy Friggin’ Thomas, the man who helped bring the Cup back to Boston. As long as he continued to be a brick wall between the pipes, I could turn a cheek to the off-the-ice issues.
But, after a turbulent end to the season, Tim Thomas decided to take a year off…at the not-so-ripe age of 38. That means, if he can even earn his spot back with the Bruins, (TWO U’S, TWO K’S, TWO…CUPS…?) he would be turning 40 in the middle of the team’s playoff push. You could say this is an actual break and that Thomas will return to hockey, but I see it as the end of his Bruins narrative.
That being said, I can choose to remember Thomas in two ways. Let’s explore them both, starting with the current state of affairs.
Tim “The Tinfoil Hat” Thomas
Jan. 23 – The picture says it all. Tim Thomas snubbed Obama, but even worse, his own teammates, by skipping out on the White House. Going to the White House isn’t about politics. It’s about taking in some final celebrations after your team’s win. It’s about honoring one of the most exciting playoff runs of all time.
Jan. 24 – Tuukka Rask starts. If you don’t put the team first, you don’t start. It’s that simple.
Feb. 09 – “I Stand with the Catholics in the fight for Religious Freedom,” begins Tim Thomas via a lengthy post on Facebook. He follows up on the comment by not following up: “I say that’s my personal life and that has absolutely nothing to do with the Bruins or hockey and I’m going to use my right to remain silent,” he tells The Boston Globe.
Mar. 3 – Down goes Tuukka. Boston’s brilliant back-up gets injured against the Sabres and is out for the rest of the season, putting the goaltending load on Thomas’ back.
Apr. 18 – A picture of Tim Thomas and a Ron Paul bumper sticker appear on the interwebs. Hey, you can support whoever you want.
Apr. 25 – Whether it was goaltender interference or not, the Bruins’ season comes to an end. Tim Thomas’ performance was not as good as the previous year’s, but then again, he did break the record for most saves during a playoff run in 2011.
Jun. 1 – Tim Thomas breaks my heart. Tim Thomas announces he’s taking a year off from hockey, citing spending more time with his family and friends.
Jul. 26 – Amid the Chick-fil-A anti-gay marriage stance firestorm, Tim Thomas posted a personal statement supporting the restaurant chain’s viewpoints. The comment garners over 2,800 “likes” and continues the Thomas trend of toeing a controversial line.
But that’s just one way to look at it.
Tim Thomas: The Fighter, The Underdog, The Vezina/Conn Smythe/Stanley Cup Winner
Here’s a quick fact:
After graduating the University of Vermont, it took Tim Thomas nine years to have a full season in the NHL. He turned 33 in that season.
Thomas bounced around the minors for a while, and played overseas in Finland and Sweden before having a full season in the NHL. While playing for HIFK in Finland, Thomas helped lead the team to a SM-I Championship.
By the time he was a permanent NHL starter, Tim Thomas was 33 and shouldn’t have been playing. He was old! A nobody! On an Original Six team, nonetheless!
2005-2006 Season – Tim Thomas wins 12 games, gets his first NHL shutout, and receives the Seventh Player of the Year Award as elected by Bruins fans. He signs a three-year deal following the season.
Bonus fact: Thomas recorded his first-ever point this season, providing the second assist on goal by Patrice Bergeron. Who had the first assist? Brian Leetch.
’06-’07 – *Rodney Dangerfield voice* I don’t get no respect! Tim Thomas starts the season as a back-up, but takes the job from Hannu Toivonen. He somehow wins the Seventh Player of the Year Award again.
’07-’08 – Manny being Manny. An early injury for Manny Fernandez puts Thomas in the spotlight again. He is elected to his first All-Star game and records his first of four straight All-Star game victories.
’08– ’10 – Thomas signs an extension, which is the one he is currently under. He wins a Vezina in the ’08-’09 season, posting a 2.10 GAA. He gets two more All-Star game wins and plays back-up to NO ONE.
THE GREATEST SEASON EVER
I think that this can be summed up in a number of pictures:
That’ll do pics, that’ll do.
Super Bonus Fact: Tim Thomas is one of three American Conn Smythe winners. The last? BRIAN. LEETCH. OH MY GOD.
And that’s the other way you can look at Tim Thomas.
So Which Tim Thomas Is He?
That is something that will not be certain until his career officially ends. Even then, who knows what this crazy bastard will do next?
I know I started this saying he lost my support, and he has, but that’s just for now. And I know I said his career as a Bruin is over, but if he pulls the same crazy shit with another team, it’ll be a blast to watch.
Tim Thomas: a strong candidate for hockey immortality….and for office….?