’11-12 Bruins Season in Review: Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas/Photo by S. Bradley

All the talk about Tim Thomas the last several weeks has been about the goaltender’s future.

Will he play again? Will he play for the Bruins again? Will the Bruins find a way to get out from under his $5 million cap hit?

Well, those answers don’t figure to be readily available for some time.

But when looking back in terms of Thomas, there’s no denying he put together another great season. The numbers reveal that Thomas was on top of his game most of the season and was one of the Bruins least affected by the Stanley Cup hangover.

There were plenty of breathtaking saves and big wins. Maybe Thomas could share in some of the blame for the Bruins’ playoff flameout, but sometimes great goaltending can only go as far as the offense takes it.

Considering the way the season ended, Thomas would’ve had another shot to prove people wrong by coming back in the fall. Now we might’ve seen the last of the potential Hall-of-Fame netminder.

Stats

Regular season: 59 GP, 35-19-1, 2.36 GAA, .920

Playoffs: 7 GP, 2.14 GAA, .923

Contract status: Signed through 2012-13 at a cap hit of $5 million

Regular season recap

Highlight: The Bruins were trying to battle their way out of a months-long stretch of mediocrity when they hit the West Coast in March. In a 4-2 win over the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, Thomas stopped 40 of 42 shots. His pad stop on Jeff Carter’s tip in the closing seconds was one of Thomas’ many highlight-reel stops on the season.

Lowlight: Aside from skipping the White House and creating an unnecessary distraction around his team, Thomas struggled on New Year’s Eve in Dallas. He gave up three goals in the first period of a 4-2 loss and stopped just 23 of 27 shots on the night. Two of those goals came on the power play, where Thomas is usually the Bruins’ best penalty killer.

Playoff recap: Thomas surrendered the series-losing Game 7 goal after a juicy rebound of Mike Knuble’s shot on the rush. Whether he was interfered with by Knuble after the shot is debatable. There were a couple goals Thomas could be faulted for during the series, but considering the opponent he held the Capitals to a level of offense that should’ve been beatable.

Grade: A. Thomas was an All-Star-caliber goaltender again in 2011-12 and no political statements or shocking offseason decisions can wipe that out.

Carnac predicts … Thomas sits out all season and his name comes up every time the Bruins lose a game or allow more than two goals. He plays for Detroit in 2013-14.

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