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Tim-mania Sweeps Hub, Buds

Wednesday, 11.29.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
Boston Bruins
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Tim-mania Sweeps Hub, Buds

By John Bishop,

It's funny how quickly things turn around -- just a few days ago…

a. the Bruins were said to be looking for a goalie and that their last line of defense was failing them.
b. people said that if there was not a change in net the Bruins were doomed.
c. people also said that management should move quickly to rectify the situation.

Instead, Boston General Manager Peter Chiarelli stayed pat, rolled the dice and bet on #30 -- Tim Thomas.

Thomas, who just might be turning into a Boston Bruins version of Johnny Bower, the Maple Leafs goalie who himself was well into his 30's when he finally stuck in the NHL (after at least a three stints in Providence, by the way, the same as Thomas).

Just like Bower did in his 33rd year when he began his run with Toronto, Thomas continues to make believers out of many people in the NHL.

Thomas, 32, and nicknamed "Tank" because of a youthful penchant for wearing tank tops off the ice, seemed as big as a tank, recently, when he earned the NHL's 3rd star for the week ending November 19th

That week Thomas backstopped Boston to three victories, posting a 1.60 goals-against average and .944 save percentage. He made 33 saves and stopped all three shootout attempts in a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals Nov. 15 and stopped 24 of 25 shots in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs Nov. 16.

Thomas finished the week by making 27 saves in a 3-2 overtime victory against the Capitals Nov. 18.

A genial fellow, Tim is quick to make a joke, and is always talking with teammates or chit chatting with writers about hockey or goaltending or his family. Thomas is generally the last to get undressed, preferring instead to relax in his equipment before moving on with his day after a practice or game.

And, as a throwback type of player, when he is not using his equipment, he is tinkering with it, trying out sticks and pads or trying to break in his own goalie gear -- like making sure his helmet is in order or perhaps trying to figure out how best to keep his lid on his head (a new chin strap was the answer).

Continuing the old school theme, Thomas is perhaps the most unassuming pro athlete in Boston and wears his love for the game, the team and the town on his Black & Gold sleeves.

Now, with a 9-5-2 record, a .910 save percentage and a 2.89 goals against average and two straight wins versus division rival Toronto, Thomas has begun to elicit praise from just about everyone.

But coming into the season and continuing through the B's lukewarm start, the scouting report on Thomas was so-so.

His TSN report card is typical:
Assets: Can come up with spectacular saves from out of nowhere. Has plenty of success from the European elite leagues to fall back on. Is the consummate team player.
Flaws: Will always need to prove he can handle a heavy workload to avoid the "flash-in-the-pan" label.
Career Potential: No. 2 goaltender.

But now, what is more typical, are positive headlines.

"Thomas hitting a groove: Bruins goalie owns Leafs" and "Thomas, Bruins sweep away Leafs" and "Thomas makes 45 saves, Bruins crush Maple Leafs" and finally, "Thomas stymies Leafs" are just a sample of the praiseful rhetoric that surfaced after the recent two game series win over Toronto.

Humble as always, after the game last night, Thomas told the Toronto Sun's Terry Koshan that "Unfortunately, I have never had the puck look like a beach ball…I wish it would. It has never looked bigger than a puck, but it has looked smaller, that's for sure."

However, the puck has been finding Thomas' pads more often than not.

After 60 NHL games, the Flint, Michigan native has a 2.82 GAA and .914 sv%.

More importantly for Bruins fans looking for a playoff run this season, Tim is 8-2-0 in his last ten and has given the Bruins a fighting chance to win most of the games in which he has appeared.

The Bruins season is finally heating up and as of this morning, going into Thursday night's game with Tampa Bay, the Bruins are only three points out of a tie for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

And now, with the "Tank" protecting the net, Boston has springtime hockey within its reach.
Coors Light - To the Black, The Gold, and The Cold




1 MTL 64 41 18 5 172 142 87
2 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
3 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
4 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
5 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
6 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
7 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
8 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43


P. Bergeron 62 18 27 5 45
L. Eriksson 62 15 21 3 36
B. Marchand 58 19 16 9 35
M. Lucic 62 14 21 12 35
R. Smith 63 12 23 12 35
D. Hamilton 63 10 25 1 35
C. Soderberg 63 10 25 7 35
T. Krug 59 11 20 8 31
C. Kelly 61 7 20 9 27
D. Krejci 38 7 19 7 26
T. Rask 25 16 10 .920 2.35
N. Svedberg 6 5 0 .917 2.39
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