The Boston Bruins were eliminated on Wednesday night when Joel Ward scored a game-winning goal in overtime to propel the Washington Capitals past the defending champs. Tim Thomas chose his words very precisely during his postgame comments.
Comcast Sportsnet had the following about Thomas' postgame remarks:
Tim Thomas noticeably used the pronoun "they" -- not "we" -- when discussing his Bruins teammates at multiple points after Boston’s Game 7 loss to the Washington Capitals.
The 38-year-old goaltender, who is clearly intent on being viewed as an individual first and foremost, was good but not spectacular in his team’s 2-1 loss to the Capitals.
Thomas now enters an offseason filled with the unknown.
He's entering the final year of his contract, and his no-trade clause expires this offseason. Plus, the Bruins will likely have 25-year-old Tuukka Rask (a restricted free agent) waiting in the wings.
Thomas showed some signs last night that he may be anticipating a trade.
The possibility of Thomas being traded dates back to earlier this season when he made headlines for snubbing President Barack Obama during the customary presidential meeting with the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Thomas acted as an individual instead of a team player, so it was thought that dealing him was an inevitable circumstance.
Thomas was lights out for the Bruins during last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs and he deservedly won the Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy for both his regular and postseason accolades between the pipes.
This year, he was OK during the regular season, but average in the postseason by his own standards. He is now 38 years old and the Bruins have Tuukka Rask waiting in the wings. This situation is similar to the situation the Vancouver Canucks are currently in.
It is a strangely odd coincidence that both participants from last year's cup final have been eliminated in the first round of this year's playoffs and now they are evaluating their goaltending situation.
Rask is clearly ready to inherit the starting job and Thomas is not getting younger. It would be smart and conventional to trade Thomas and let Rask become the starter full-time.
Thomas has a few good years left in him and there are a number of teams that could inquire about him. He is a veteran goaltender who could be a mentor to a team with a young goaltender in a similar role he played with Rask.
With so many teams in the market for a goalie and the fact that multiple teams are now open to trading their goaltenders, it will be interesting to watch how things shape up before the end of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and before the NHL entry draft approaches.