Tim Thomas fell from grace so hard this season, he found himself on the bench watching Tuukka Rask lead the Bruins to the second round of the postseason and then under the knife undergoing hip surgery once the season was over.
Once a fairy tale to tell the kids, the “Tim Thomas Story” has now taken a more serious turn that might be more fitting for a weeknight drama on FX.
The numbers say Thomas still played like a No. 1 in 2009-10, just not like the old-word Vezina-winner than dominated everyone the previous season. However, getting pulled five times after New Year’s isn’t going to earn anyone extra playing time — especially with a hot shot like Rask waiting in the wings.
There definitely would’ve been a trade market for Thomas had he not pulled up lame. Now there’s no telling when/if he’ll get another shot to play and if he’ll ever be the same. If this is the end of the line for Thomas as a top-notch goaltender, it was a great ride while it lasted.
Stats: 43 GP, 17-18-8, .915 save percentage, 2.56 GAA
Season highlight: With 31 saves, Thomas keeps his cool in the face of two goaltender interference calls committed by Calgary players and shuts out the Flames, 5-0, for two points the Bruins desperately needed March 27.
Season low-light: With the momentum of the Calgary win behind him, Thomas gets the start two nights later against Buffalo and doesn’t make it past the 6:08 mark of the second period (the second time in three starts he gets pulled). He allows three goals and the Bruins drop a 3-2 decision. Thomas doesn’t start again until the regular season finale at Washington with nothing on the line for either club.
Final grade: B-minus
The stats were solid but Thomas was way too inconsistent and over-aggressive most of the season. In a matter of months he seemed to forget everything that earned him the hardware and the $5-million-per-year extension.
The crystal ball says … Thomas might have a chance to showcase his wares and earn himself a trade after he returns from his injury or he might find himself a cap casualty playing out his years in Providence.