|Posted by Landon Ewaniuk on June 3, 2012 at 8:10 PM|
Controversial NHL goaltender Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins announced via his Facebook page on June 3 that he’s going to take a break from the game. Many hockey insiders predict he’s going to sit out the entire 2012/13 season.
Thomas said it was always his goal to become a professional hockey player and he’s been blessed since his dream came true, but achieving his goal means that other aspects of his life and relationships have suffered. The 38-year-old said he’d like to spend some time and energy on specific relationships that he’s neglected and is planning on focusing on family, faith and friends during the next year.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said that he was aware that the goalie might six next season out due to family reasons. He said Bill Zito, Thomas’ agent, told him in early May that his client was mulling over taking the season off. Chiarelli added that he respects his decision regarding spending more time with his family.
Thomas made the headlines in January when he refused to join his teammates in a trip to the White House to meet President Obama. The Bruins were invited because they won the Stanley Cup in seven games over the Vancouver Canucks in the 2011/12 NHL season. Thomas took a lot of criticism over the issue for mixing sports with politics.
Many insiders feel Thomas, who won the Conn Smythe trophy in the Stanley-Cup winning season as the playoff MVP, won’t play for the Bruins again even though he still has a year left on his current contract. His deal is worth $20 million over four years and it has a no-trade clause in it which runs out on July 1.
Chiarelli admitted that he was surprised that Thomas said he might take a year off and might suspend him if he doesn’t report to training camp in September. The GM said the Bruins will have to prepare themselves for a season without the veteran goalie and will likely go with rookie Anton Khudobin and Tuukka Rask in net next season.
Chiarelli claimed that Thomas hasn’t asked for an extension to his current contract and it’s possible that the goalie will be allowed to talk with other teams regarding his future in the NHL and a trade could be worked out if he wants to move elsewhere. At the moment, Thomas isn’t really worth anything to Boston, but the team will still be on the hook for his $5 million salary on next season’s salary cap.
It’s possible that Thomas’ right could be traded after July 1 to a team that needs to add salary to reach the cap minimum. Chiarelli said he’s disappointed, but when people want to spend more time with their families it has to be dealt with. He added that the team could just let the contract run its course or could retain Thomas’ rights because he owes the club one more year of service.
It’s believed that Thomas plans to stay in shape during his time off and also wants to play for the U.S. in the 2014 Winter Olympics when they take place in Sochi, Russia. Thomas compiled a record of 25-19 this season and had goals-against average of 2.40. Tuukka Rask, the Bruins’ backup, has played in 102 career NHL games and has a record of 47-35.
There are those who feel Thomas might not be the only one sitting out next season since the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement expires before the season faces off and there’s a good chance of a strike or lockout.