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No Pahking in our Yahd, Tim


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(Sorry, yave, I just couldn't resist using that line! :rolleyes: )


Tim Thomas will be facing his old Big Bad Broons for the first time on Thurs nite when they play in Florida. Thomas has missed the past 4 games with the Panthers due to a groin injury he received during the Philly game on Oct 8th.  It will be an interesting, if not strange, sight to see him in a Panther's uniform as he faces off against his old teammates, who will no doubt, be pelting at him with everything they've got.  It will be even funnier, when they get in his kitchen in front of the net, where he has been so apt to get fiery with his opponents. I can't say I'm a Broons' fan, but this should be fun to watch!




SUNRISE, Fla. — Tonight we’ll witness something we couldn’t have really imagined seeing less than two years ago. Tim Thomas will be in another National Hockey League uniform — the Florida Panthers’ — facing off against the Bruins.
Milan Lucic said this won’t be like any other game.
“It will be (strange),” Lucic said after the Bruins practice at the BB & T Center. “All those years shooting on him in practice and whatnot, I think it will be fun to finally get to shoot on him in a game. I’m sure he’s looking forward to it as well. I’m sure he’s happy to be back in the NHL playing and I’m sure he’s found a new home in here in Florida.”
Tuukka Rask was his understudy for much of the previous three years before Thomas forced the Bruins into trading him by not reporting to training camp and opting instead for a one-year sabbatical last season.
Thomas’ departure opened the door for Rask to finally blossom. Rask didn’t expect to be facing his old friend, but that’s the business.
Said Rask: “I never thought that we’d be playing against each other, but I’m glad he’s making his comeback and proving people wrong again. I hope he does well.”
Rask said all he cares about is winning games right now, and playing against Thomas is not weighing very heavily on his mind. But he did offer to spice things up.
“Maybe we’ll fight or something. We’ll see,” Rask quipped.
Coach Claude Julien sounded as though he’d like to get this reunion over with. At 3-2, both losses coming in the past three games, he has other things with which to concern himself.
Said Julien: “When you lose a guy who is well respected and liked in the dressing room, you’ve got to turn the page and we’ve got to do the same thing here with Timmy. . . . We’ve got to put the past aside for this game and look forward to the job that we came here for and that’s win a hockey game.”
After starting Florida’s first three games, Thomas missed the last four with a groin injury suffered Oct. 8 in Philadelphia. But he’s been practicing and, yesterday afternoon, the Panthers tweeted that he will start tonight. At the Panthers practice facility in Coral Springs, Thomas declined to speak to reporters through a team spokesman, saying he’d speak after the game.
It was a long, wonderful, strange trip that Thomas had with the Bruins, the only organization that gave him a chance back in the 2005-06 season. They even had to get him through waivers to get him up to parent club from Providence. Thomas went on to become the best goalie on the planet for a time. He led the B’s to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years in 2011 and won the Vezina Trophy twice with the B’s.
But after the Cup season, Thomas’ relationship with the Bruins became strained. He rankled the team’s brass by refusing to take part in the team’s visit to the White House over personal, political issues. Then after the 2011-12 season ended, at age 38, he told the Bruins that he would sit out the next season. Having already collected $17 million of a four-year $20 million contract, it wasn’t clear if he’d ever return to the NHL.
The B’s moved on. They got the Islanders to take his contract off their hands in February, after the Islanders chose not to renew his contract without Thomas ever playing a game for them, the free agent signed with the Panthers.
Lucic said he has no issues with Thomas.
“For me personally, I just think as a teammate, he’s everything you wanted as far as he came to play every night. He did bring that competitive edge all the time,” Lucic said. “I’m not going to say anything bad about him because I got to spend five years with him and I got to see him play at the best level that almost any goalie played in those five years. As a teammate, that’s all you can ask from your goaltender. He was a big part of us winning and a big part of us having success over those years.”
Lucic expects to see the full fire-breathing Thomas tonight.
“Regardless of how it ended or not, I think there’s still something special with this organization and him just because of the Stanley Cup, two Vezinas, the Conn Smythe,” Lucic said.
Lucic & Co. have played many former teammates over the years, but this is different.
“This is the first time that it’s a starting goalie,” he said “It’s the first time you’re going to get to go against someone you shot on in practice 100, 200, 300, I don’t know how many times. This one is definitely a different situation than all the other ones just because of that and also because he was such a big part of this team for so many years. Both sides, I think, are just looking forward to it.”
Reflecting back to their practices together, Lucic said there are certain spots where he could beat Thomas, but he doesn’t believe that experience will help.
“You look back and think of the saves he made in games where he was out of position and he’d make his way over and all that type of stuff,” said Lucic. “For a scouting report, I really don’t know what to expect. A game is much different than practice, but I guess I’m going to have to go on instinct.”
As a guy who spends quite a bit of time in front of the net, Lucic might expect to see some of the trademark Thomas snarl.
“We’ll see. He’s never a guy that shies away. I’m sure he’s going to have fun and bring his competitive edge,” said Lucic.
Told that he might be a little tougher to knock down than one of the Sedin twins, Lucic laughed and said, “And my response will be a little different, too.”




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