It was appropriate that Tim Thomas received his second career Vezina Trophy tonight from actor Jon Hamm.
Hamm’s “Mad Men” character Don Draper would admire the way Thomas has turned himself into a superstar from almost nothing the same way the TV ad man did once rose from obscurity to run the advertising world after he returned from the war and took on another man’s identity to start his life over.
Much like Draper had to convince Roger Sterling he could make it in the advertising business, Thomas has had to convince everyone that a goaltender can thrive at the sport’s highest level without being a “butterfly.”
Thomas surely did that this season in earning the votes to win the Vezina for the second time in three years. After a rough 2009-10 season and offseason hip surgery, no one could’ve predicted Thomas’ resurgence this season. All he did, prior to leading the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup championship in 39 years, was set the single-season record for save percentage while carrying Boston to the Northeast Division title.
“I didn’t know if I’d be able to play at the level that I’d become accustomed to playing with ever again,” said Thomas about his post-surgery thoughts during his acceptance speech at The Palms in Las Vegas.
Thomas, who finished fifth in the voting for the Hart (MVP), thanked Dr. Bryan Kelly for performing the surgery and those that helped him with his rehab. He thanked his teammates, and his family and friends.
If Don Draper were real, he’d definitely raise a toast to Thomas. But Thomas had to settle for accepting the award from Draper’s alter ego and then going back to celebrating the Cup championship.