Tim Thomas the goalie for the Boston Bruins has decided that he will take at least a year off from hockey in 2012/2013 season.
In the 09/10 season Thomas didn’t play much due to injury. He came back in 10/11 season and won the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP and won the Vezina as best goalie. He became the first goalie since 1975 to win all three. So maybe a year off will be good for his game. Even though Thomas had a good year putting up top 5 goalie numbers (35-19-1,.920 save percentage and 2.36 goals against average)but Thomas had some health issues. He came into the year in great shape but seemed drained and was dealing with health issues late. So maybe Thomas can take a year off somewhat like his 09/10 season that was filled with injury and come back and be at the top of the goalie mountain once again.
This break makes sense if Thomas really wants to spend the time as he put it with Friends, Family and Faith. He’s got 3 daughters who are no older than 13. I don’t think anyone can be mad at someone wanting to spend more time at home. Thomas seems to be a very thoughtful and introspective guy and if he believes he is neglecting things at home he should take a break. Hockey demands the most out of players, More so than other sports. They play 82 games over a 5 month period. A month of pre-season games and training camp. So that’s September through April and playoffs run all the way into mid-June. That only gives you 2 ½ months off to spend time with family. So you can see how he lacks a lot of time at home with his friends and family. He’s been playing for a long time and even in the off season runs multiple camps for kids and works out a lot.
Maybe Thomas is even thinking about the Olympics in 2 years. By taking a year off he gives his body rest for a full season which I’m sure he’s hoping goes long into the playoffs and with the Olympics in there it would do his body good to get time off. He served as the backup to Ryan Miller in the last Winter Olympics. If they were to pick a roster now I’m sure Thomas would be the starter given Miller’s drop off in performance the past year. Thomas is not a clear starter with a year off. Jonathan Quick is one game away from a sweep to win the Stanley cup and if he puts up good numbers in a Thomas-less NHL year the USA Hockey team might see Quick between the pipes not Thomas. Not to mention Miller could have a rebound year and there are other guys like Detroit’s Jimmy Howard and Cory Schneider of the Canucks.
This break DOESN’T make sense for a few reasons. First being that Thomas is still on top. He put up really good numbers this past year. My fear if I was him would be losing my starting spot that I worked hard so long for to Tukka Rask who this past year when having to play put up numbers close to Thomas.
If Tukka puts up a good year with Thomas at home there may not be a spot left for him if and when he wants to come back. Now I don’t think he needs to worry because there will be a long list of teams wanting to get a rested, still fairly young former Vezina, Stanley cup winning goalie. But if Thomas is taking time off to spend time with family and then wants to come back he could get traded which means either moving his family to a new city or spending less time at home because he can’t fly home on his days off between games or after an early practice.
He’s also going into the last year of his contract. There is talk that the bruins were looking to trade him and that this decision was to diminish his trade value. He’s scheduled to make 3 million this up coming year with a cap hit to a team being 5 million. So he’s basically entering the 13/14 season as a free agent. That a huge risk since you just toke a year off. Yes I think teams will be willing to pay him but they may not be the teams Thomas wants. In hockey more so than other sports there is always a lot of trade activity and a lot can happen between now and when he comes back. If winning another cup is what he wants then the teams poised to do that may have figured out their goalie situation by then. I can’t see the Caps going another year without getting someone better in net. They just traded Vokoun so maybe they are clearing the way to trade for someone else. You’re also looking at Roberto Luongo probably getting traded in the near future, as well as possibly one of the Flyers Goalies. That’s a lot of top end talent available now where Thomas won’t be available till the 13/14 season.
If I’m the bruins I’m more then confident in Rask as my starter going into next year. You have a talented team and have a good mix of old and young players and a lot of fire power. I would look to sure up my back up goal tending just to make sure. You’ve seems what having a great goalie can do for your team. I would make a serious run at Dominick Hasek. It’s been reported he wants to come back. He may not be the dominator of old but he can still come in and play every 5 r 6th game and if Hasek has a glimmer of the old dominator he will be pushing Rask for the starting job. Now I know Hasek is old but just look at the current Stanley cup finals and how Brodeur has been able to channel his younger self. There is also Marty Turco who has been floating around for years from team to team.