Thomas confirms year off on Facebook
Bruins' Tim Thomas talks to the media after practice at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Mass. on June 12th 2011. (ERIC BOLTE/QMI AGENCY)
Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas announced on his Facebook page Sunday that he is taking time away from the game. Yet he didn't say how long.
"From the earliest age I can remember, I've wanted to be a hockey player. I've been blessed in my life to not only be able to live that dream, but to achieve more than I ever thought possible," he posted on his Facebook page. "The singleminded focus that is necessary to accomplish a dream of this magnitude entails (by necessity) sacrifice in other areas and relationships in life.
"At the age of 38, I believe it is time to put my time and energies into those areas and relationships that I have neglected. That is why at this time I feel the most important thing I can do in my life is to reconnect with the three F's. Friends, Family, and Faith. This is what I plan on doing over the course of the next year. "
Thomas said he will continue to train and stay in shape.
"What does this portend for the future?" Thomas wrote. "We'll see. ... God's will be done."
Bruins officials have yet to comment on Thomas' statement. General manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday during a conference call that he was aware Thomas may sit out next season for family reasons.
"Tim came to me via his agent toward the beginning of May and said he was thinking of taking the year off," Chiarelli said. "The reasons are ... I'm not exactly sure, but he did give reasons why regarding the family, which obviously I respect."
The hero of the Bruins' Stanley Cup title run last season, Thomas is entering the final year of his contract that pays him $3 million and his no-trade clause expires July 1. This season Thomas, 38, had a 35-19 record and a 2.40 goals-against average.
Thomas caused a backlash among fans when he boycotted the team's celebratory trip to the White House in January.
Chiarelli said he has to work under the assumption that the two-time Vezina Trophy winner won't be with the team next season.
"I've had some discussions with Tim and he's told me that he wants to play in the Olympics the following year, so I'll have more discussions with him later on," the GM said. "But we've got two very capable goalies in (Tuukka) Rask and (Anton) Khudobin, so I'd be more than satisfied if that's who we have to go with."
Rask is a restricted free agent and Khudobin has a year left on his contract. The Bruins also signed goalie Niklas Svedberg to an entry-level contract earlier in the week.
Thomas is due to make $3 million and will cost the Bruins $5 million against the salary cap.
Chiarelli also said that Thomas' potential decision to sit out the season and his age has diminished his trade value.
"I'm disappointed, but these things happen, and you gotta roll with them," Chiarelli said. "You got to deal with them, and when someone talks about their family and stuff, you have to respect that. We're not too disabled on the cap side and that was a strength of our team, but this happens as years progress and players take over certain roles, and that's what happened here."
Thomas won 35 games last season, allowed 2.35 goals per game and had a .920 save percentage.