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Thursday, February 7, 2013

So Long Tim Thomas, It's Tuukka Time Now. PS Thanks For The Stanley Cup In 2011

We all knew that Tim Thomas' career with the Boston Bruins was probably done anyway but today, we can officially close the door on that crazy era. Thomas was dealt to the New York Islanders for a conditional second-round draft pick in 2014 or 2015. The condition is that he plays this season or next season with the Isles (which is unlikely), otherwise this is just a simple salary dump that helps them get to the salary cap floor.

A Michigan native who played collegiately at Vermont, Thomas was a two-time Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goalie played in 378 regular-season games-all with the B's. He was 196-121-45 with a 2.48 goals-against average and 31 shutouts and ranks fourth on Boston's career wins list and third in shutouts. He also has a 29-21 mark in the playoffs with a 2.07 GAA and six shutouts. Thomas won the Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011.

Talk about an anti-climatic ending to one of the best goaltenders in Bruins history. Of course it had to be this way though, Thomas left the B's with no choice after he decided last summer to take this season off. Yeah ok, see you later. Good luck with the bunker. There lies the rub with Thomas: it's hard to separate the bat-shit insane ending with the glorious middle. I'm not going to predict or tell people how to feel in a few years but I wouldn't be surprised if in say 10 or 20 years, he can come back to Boston and get his number rightfully retired in the Garden rafters. The works. However, that wound is still fresh and people are sick of his bullshit so don't count on the Bruins doing that anytime soon.

More importantly for Tuukka Rask, this has to give him some more confidence (on top of how well he's been playing in 2013) since now he really can forget about Thomas and doesn't have to worry about him coming back WWE or boxing style. This is Rask's team and his time, he's waited the last few seasons to be the man again and he seems to be taking full advantage. He'll never be Thomas but in many ways, that's a good thing. All goalies are strange in their own special ways but Rask appears to blend in with his teammates much better than Thomas ever did.

The good news for the B's long term is that their goaltending situation both in the NHL and the minors appears to be just fine. A restricted free agent after this season, Rask is playing for a new long-term deal which seems to be a given. Anton Khudobin could be a decent backup then they have Niklas Svedberg at Providence (where he was an AHL All-Star this season) plus Malcolm Subban (a draft pick last summer) further down the pipeline. We will always love Thomas for what he did with the Bruins but it's only natural that we move on and shower that love and attention on Rask.

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