A win in last year’s NHL All-Star game and a seven-game playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens silenced some of the critics.
But coming into this season, doubting Tim Thomas (especially in Canada) was a national pastime few wanted to give up. Well now the Boston Bruins goaltender might be heading in the other direction — toward icon status at the highest level of hockey.
Thomas won two shootouts (one for the Bruins, one for the Eastern Conference), lost one and stopped 77 of 87 shots in regulation and overtime over the course of three games. And for his efforts, he is my Bruin of the Week.
He stopped four of eight shootout shooters, including two of two at the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal. All-Stars Shane Doan and Rick Nash failed to cash in Sunday night, and Thomas earned a second straight All-Star Game win. But this All-Star win might have had extra meaning. Over the course of the weekend, Thomas was a popular topic. And his performance at the Honda/NHL Super Skills Saturday night made him even more the talk of Montreal — even though there wasn’t even a competition for the goalies there. But he held his own in the elimination shootout event and opened whatever eyes that were still stuck shut to his abilities.
Now the Bruins are in a quandary because Thomas will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. While it’s believed there have been some talks, no one knows for certain. And by flaunting his fantastic stuff in front of a national television audience in two countries and capturing the imagination of the biggest hockey-loving town in North America inthe league’s marquee showcase, Thomas’ stock has truly risen. While it’s not certain what the future beyond this season holds for Thomas in terms of location, one thing’s for sure: he’s going to be very, very rich.
Other Bruin of the Week candidates were defenseman Zdeno Chara (1-1-2, minus-2, won hardest shot competition with NHL record 105.4-mph shot) and center Marc Savard (0-4-4, minus-3, runner-up to Doan in the elmination shootout).