Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas ended his 2012 Stanley Cup Playoff run on an extremely bittersweet note: Giving up a Game 7 overtime goal to Joel Ward of the Washington Capitals, telling one of his children to smile after the crushing defeat (in a misty-eyed moment) and then facing the reality that it could have been his last game as a Bruin.
Combine that with Thomas' self-inflicted drama after the White House snub, and it's been the exact opposite of the hockey fable he penned in 2010.
So it's understandable that Thomas might need some time for reflection and self-evaluation. It's just that no one figured it'd be for an entire season.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN drops this bombshell on Thursday night:
A source told ESPN.com Thursday that the 38-year-old Boston Bruins netminder was contemplating taking next season off. Which doesn't mean he will, but it's something he's apparently raised.
Thomas has one year left on his contract which pays him $3 million, although his cap hit is $5 million. His no-trade clause lifts July 1.
The Bruins have a No. 1 goalie in waiting in Tuukka Rask, so they'd be open to trade offers, especially after a controversy-filled season sparked by Thomas' decision not to attend the Cup champions' visit to the White House.
Fluto Shinzawa, Master of Understatement, writes on Boston.com that it would be a "bizarre decision."
Also coming to light on Thursday was something we had heard last month: Thomas moved his family to Colorado in the middle of the season, according to Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com, who writes:
His move to the more politically conservative state of Colorado might explain why Thomas has been so noncommittal when asked about retiring as a Bruin.
Conversely, that the relocation of his family has become a topic of public discourse might explain why the dude wants to take a year off. Unless, of course, this is the sort of thing one floats when one loses his ability to block a trade come July 1 …
(For the record, Thomas could have moved his family to roughly 48 states that are more politically conservative than Massachusetts.)
Like we said: Much of it is self-inflicted. But it is rather sickening to consider how a hockey folk hero's stock has fallen this badly in the span of a year, to the point at which a one-year break from hockey for a guy who raised the Conn Smythe last June seems almost understandable.