Thomas taking on the next challenge

Thomas/By S. Bradley

BOLTON, Mass. — Unlike his partner in being shopped around the league, Marc Savard, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas hasn’t expressed any thoughts about his feelings or reaction to the summer’s trade rumors.

With training camp just days from opening, Thomas is still a Bruin and general manager Peter Chiarelli has said he doesn’t anticipate that changing. So there’s only one thing Thomas can do, and that’s go out and prove he can be an elite NHL goaltender again.

“I was thinking about it over the summer, and I’m approaching it the same way I have every challenge at every level going through,” said Thomas today at the team’s annual charity golf tournament. “It’s a battle against yourself. … I’ve proven in the past what I can do when I bring the best game that I have to the table, so it’s up to me just to do that.”

In his head, Thomas might be battling himself, but on the ice incumbent No. 1 goaltender Tuukka Rask will be the competition. Thomas expects to get a fair shake in that regard.

“I was promised the same chance, and that’s the way I’m approaching it,” said Thomas. “And I think I will [get that chance]. My play will do the talking.”

Last season, Thomas’ play talked him out of the No. 1 job. Although the numbers were nothing to cringe about, he was outplayed by Rask. Part of Thomas’ struggles might have been related to the balky hip he had surgically repaired after the season. But he still won’t make excuses, as he only wants to talk about the present and the future.

That future should include him being 100 percent healthy by the time the Bruins open the regular season against Phoenix in Prague Oct. 9. Although there’s no timetable for activity, Thomas has been skating regularly for a couple weeks and says that “it’s passed every test so far.”

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