Tim Thomas (ice hockey)

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Tim Thomas
Tim thomas.JPG
Thomas in January 2008
Born (1974-04-15) April 15, 1974 (age 40)
Flint, MI, USA
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 201 lb (91 kg; 14 st 5 lb)
Position Goaltender
Catches Left
NHL team
Former teams
Free Agent
NHL
Boston Bruins
Florida Panthers
Dallas Stars
SM-l
Jokerit
Kärpät
HIFK
SHL
AIK
National team  United States
NHL Draft 217th overall, 1994
Quebec Nordiques
Playing career 1997–present

Timothy Thomas, Jr. (born April 15, 1974) is an American professional ice hockey goaltender who is currently an Unrestricted Free Agent of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Raised in Davison, Michigan, Thomas played college hockey for the University of Vermont for four years, from 1993–1997, during which he was drafted 217th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He played for several years in the minor leagues and Europe, before making it to the NHL at age 28, with the Boston Bruins. He finally emerged as the Bruins' starting goaltender at age 32. Thomas is a two-time winner of the Vezina Trophy (2009 and 2011) as the league's best goaltender, and was a member of Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.[1] Thomas won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs. He became the oldest player in league history to win the Conn Smythe at age 37. He is the second of four American-born players to win the Conn Smythe Trophy in NHL history, after Brian Leetch and before Jonathan Quick and Patrick Kane.[2]

Playing career[edit]

College hockey[edit]

Thomas played four seasons (1993–97) of college hockey for the University of Vermont, posting an 81–43–15 record to go with a 2.70 GAA and .934 save percentage. He ranks third in the NCAA Division I record book in career saves (3,950). He led the nation in save percentage in 1996 (.924) and helped UVM's Catamounts to NCAA tournament appearances in his final two seasons, including a berth in the 1996 NCAA Frozen Four (a program first).[3] He was a two-time All-ECAC Conference selection and a two-time NCAA East All-American.[4] He ranks first all-time amongst Vermont goalies in games played (140), wins (81) and saves (3,950). At Vermont, Thomas played on the same team as New York Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis.

Early pro years[edit]

Completing his four-year tenure at Vermont, Thomas played briefly for the Birmingham Bulls of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) and Houston Aeros of the International Hockey League (IHL) in 1997–98, before transferring overseas mid-season to HIFK of the Finnish SM-Liiga. Thomas played 18 games with a save percentage of .947 as the team advanced through the playoffs to defeat Ilves in the finals and win the Finnish championship. After signing with the Edmonton Oilers on June 4, 1998,[4] Thomas initially moved to the AHL the following season with the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he played 15 games, before again transferring to HIFK. Thomas recorded a .917 save percentage in 14 games as HIFK made it to the league finals once more but finished as runners-up to TPS.

In 1999–2000, Thomas returned once again to North America to play for the Detroit Vipers of the IHL, then spent the next season with AIK of Sweden's Elitserien. In 2001, Thomas joined the Boston Bruins organization, but chose to continue playing in Europe, spending his first full SM-liiga season in 2001–02 with Kärpät of Oulu. Although the team didn't get far in the playoffs, Thomas played a successful season of 32 games with a .925 save percentage.

AHL seasons, NHL debut[edit]

Beginning in 2002–03, Thomas played his initial two seasons with Boston's AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. He made his National Hockey League (NHL) debut with the Bruins during the 2002–03 season, appearing in four games total, with a .907 save percentage and a 3–1 record. Thomas recorded his first NHL win in his league debut with the Bruins on October 19, 2002, in a 31-save, 4–3 win against the Edmonton Oilers.[4]

Return to Finland[edit]

As a result of the one-season duration NHL lockout in North America, in 2004–05 Thomas joined Jokerit of the SM-Liiga, his fourth stint in Finland. He played in all games of the season except one, 54 games in total, and racked up a league-high .946 save percentage. He also surpassed the previous record of 13 shutouts in the league by achieving 15 shutouts during the regular season. Thomas continued to perform in the playoffs, where he played 12 games with a .938 save percentage. The team was unable to defeat Kärpät in the finals, however, and Thomas was awarded his second silver medal in the SM-liiga. He received the Lasse Oksanen trophy (as the league's best player) and the Kultainen kypärä award (as the league's best player award as voted by the players), becoming the first Jokerit player to win the award since Teemu Selänne.

Boston Bruins[edit]

2005–2006[edit]

Tim Thomas after a 2006 game

In August 2005, Thomas signed to play with Jokerit for the 2005–06 season, but his contract included an NHL option and on September 14, one day before the regular season in the SM-liiga started, Thomas announced he had signed with the Boston Bruins, leaving Jokerit with rookie goaltender Joonas Hallikainen as their sole goaltender. Eventually Jokerit used three North American goaltenders (Karl Goehring, Steve Passmore and Tom Askey) that season but missed the playoffs.

When he returned to North America, he was assigned to Providence of the AHL out of training camp. However, as Boston suffered injuries to their two goalies Andrew Raycroft and Hannu Toivonen, Thomas earned his first call-up to the NHL in three years and took over as the Bruins starting goalie, completing the 2005–06 season with a 12–13–7 record, 2.77 goals against average (GAA), .917 save percentage and his first NHL shutout. As a result, Thomas was awarded the Boston Bruins 7th Player Award, voted by the fans as having gone beyond expectations. In the off-season, Thomas was re-signed by the Bruins to a three-year deal.

2006–2009[edit]

Although Boston's previous starter, Andrew Raycroft, was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the off-season, Thomas began the 2006–07 season as the Bruins' backup, behind Hannu Toivonen instead. However, as Toivonen struggled, Thomas was again promoted as the Bruins' starting goaltender, eventually posting a 30–29–4 record with a .904 save percentage. He won the 7th Player Award for the second consecutive season and became the first goalie in team history to win the award twice.

During the summer of 2007, Thomas began a yoga-based physical conditioning program to increase his flexibility and strength, a concept that would greatly increase his abilities during the 2007–08 NHL season and onwards.[5]

Thomas stretching prior to a game in November 2008

On July 1, 2007, the Bruins acquired goaltender Manny Fernandez from the Minnesota Wild and later traded Thomas' previous backup, Toivonen, to the St. Louis Blues. Many hockey analysts presumed that Thomas would support Fernandez as a backup goaltender once again for the 2007–08 season.[citation needed] However, as Fernandez went down to injury early in the season, Thomas seized the opportunity and once again emerged as the Bruins' starting goalie. He was selected for his first NHL All-Star Game on January 22, 2008 as a replacement for Martin Brodeur and played in the third period of the game, stopping 14 of 18 shots. Thomas was credited with the win, as the Eastern Conference defeated the Western Conference 8–7.

Early in the 2008–09 season, Thomas became the first Bruins goalie to record back-to-back shutouts since Byron Dafoe in 1999, winning 1–0 games against the Edmonton Oilers on October 27, 2008 and the Vancouver Canucks on October 28.[6] His overall shutout streak came to end the next game at 154:43 minutes against the Calgary Flames on October 30.[7] In late November, Thomas missed a few games due to an illness. He was chosen to play in his second All-Star Game in 2009 and was once again the winning goaltender for the Eastern Conference, beating the Western Conference 12–11 in a shootout (the first time the All-Star Game required the tie-breaker since 2003).[8] A month later, on February 26, 2009, Thomas recorded his 100th NHL win, in a 6–0 shutout against the Anaheim Ducks.[8]

2009–2010[edit]

On April 2, 2009 Thomas agreed to a four-year extension with the Bruins, through the 2012–13 season. The contract saw him make $6 million the first two seasons, then $5 million and $3 million the final two seasons for an average annual salary of $5 million.[9] Two days later, on April 4, he posted his career-high fifth shutout of the season in a 1–0 win against the New York Rangers, clinching the top spot in the Eastern Conference, Boston's first title since 2001–02.[10] His strong play allowed the Bruins to sweep the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, however Bruins were defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games in Round 2.

On June 18, 2009, Thomas was awarded the Vezina Trophy at the NHL awards, beating out Minnesota Wild netminder Niklas Bäckström and the Blue Jackets' rookie goaltender Steve Mason. He led the NHL with his 2.10 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.

Thomas started for the Bruins in the 3rd NHL Winter Classic on January 1, 2010. The game, held at Fenway Park in Boston, resulted in a 2–1 overtime victory over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. But Thomas suffered a drop-off in form during the regular season, posting just a 17–18–8 record, albeit with a still-strong 2.56 GAA. He did not play at all in the playoffs, as Tuukka Rask played all the games for Boston. The Bruins won their Conference quarter-final series, and led the Philadelphia Flyers three games to none in the Conference semi-final. Boston then lost the next four games to drop the series; the Flyers became just the third out of four teams in NHL history (after the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders, and before the 2014 Los Angeles Kings) to win a series after losing the first three games.

Named to his third straight NHL All-Star Game in 2011 – the game was not played in 2010 due to the Winter Olympics – Thomas became the first goaltender in league history to earn the win in three consecutive All-Star Games.[11]

2010–2011 and Stanley Cup win[edit]

In the 2010–2011 season, following off-season hip surgery during the summer of 2010, Tim Thomas broke the NHL record for save percentage, beating Dominik Hasek's record of .937, with a .938 percentage. On Friday, April 22, 2011, Thomas was named a finalist for the 2010–2011 Vezina Trophy, which he won on Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

On Friday, May 27, 2011, Thomas posted a shutout victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, sending the Boston Bruins to their first Stanley Cup appearance since 1990. In the Finals, Thomas again posted a shutout victory in Game 7 against the Vancouver Canucks. During the Bruins' playoff run, he set the record for most saves in a single postseason with 798 and the most saves in a Stanley Cup series with 238, and broke Frank McCool's 66-year old record of fewest goals allowed in a 7-game Stanley Cup Finals, allowing only eight goals total (for an all-time record .967 save percentage in the Stanley Cup Finals). Thomas also became the first goaltender ever to post a shutout in a Game 7 on the road. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, and at 37 years, 62 days, Thomas is the oldest recipient of the award. He became just the second American-born NHL player to ever win the award, 17 years after Brian Leetch did so in 1994, plus Thomas was also the first American-born goaltender to receive this honor.[12]

2011–2012 and subsequent break from hockey[edit]

Thomas began the 2011-2012 season as a Stanley Cup Champion and the defending Vezina and Conn Smythe trophy holder. He played the majority of the 82 game schedule for the Bruins, beating Tuukka Rask for the number one spot for the second year. Although not completely matching the previous year's record-breaking run, Thomas received the most votes in the 2012 All Star Game Ballot, entering the 2012 NHL All-Star Game as the starting goaltender, and put up another solid year with the Bruins, helping them dominate the NHL with their goal differential for the majority of the year.

The Bruins ended up losing in seven games to the Washington Capitals. Every game of the series was won by only one goal. Shortly after the Bruins' season ended, Thomas posted on his Facebook page that he will sit out the 2012–13 season. General Manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed Thomas's decision.[13]

With the retirement of Adam Foote during the off season, Thomas became one of only two Quebec Nordiques draft picks still active in the NHL, the other being Milan Hejduk.

Thomas was traded to the New York Islanders on February 7, 2013 for a conditional 2nd round pick in either 2014 or 2015.[14] Before the trade, the Bruins had suspended Thomas for not reporting to training camp. Thomas did not end up playing any games with the Islanders organization before his contract expired.

Florida Panthers & Dallas Stars[edit]

2013–2014[edit]

After taking a year off from the NHL, Thomas joined the Florida Panthers on a tryout on September 16, 2013.[15] He officially signed a one-year contract with the Panthers on September 26, 2013.[16] Thomas has mentioned that he chose 34 as his jersey number with the Panthers in honor of John Vanbiesbrouck, a goaltender from Michigan that Thomas grew up watching.[17] Tim Thomas was acquired by the Dallas Stars on March 5, 2014, in exchange for goaltender Dan Ellis. He went back to #30 in Dallas, and is the backup to Kari Lehtonen.[18][19]

International play[edit]

Thomas2008IIHF.jpg
Thomas during the 2008 IIHF World Championship
Medal record
Men's Ice hockey
Competitor for  United States
Olympic Games
Silver 2010 Vancouver
World Championships
Bronze 1996 Austria

During Thomas' college career with the University of Vermont, he was named to Team USA twice for the World Championships. Following his sophomore year, he was chosen for the 1995 World Championships, but did not appear in any games as the United States finished in sixth place. He was chosen for the tournament for the second consecutive year in 1996 and made his international debut, playing in 21 minutes for one game, allowing one goal. Thomas picked up his first medal as the United States won bronze.

After graduating from the college program, Thomas was named to Team USA for the 1998 World Championships following his rookie professional season and played his first full international game. However, the United States finished a disappointing twelfth. Thomas would not make another World Championships appearance until 2005, where he was named to Team USA in another limited role, not appearing in any games behind starter Rick DiPietro as they failed to earn a medal.

Established as an NHL starter following the 2007–08 NHL season, Thomas was named to his fifth World Championships in 2008. He appeared in three games before suffering a groin injury, splitting starts with Robert Esche and posting a 1.50 GAA with one shutout against Latvia in the preliminaries. Team USA finished in sixth place.

On January 1, 2010, Thomas was selected to be a member of the U.S. men's hockey team for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, serving as backup goaltender to Buffalo Sabres's Ryan Miller.

On February 26, 2010, Thomas made his Olympic debut in the USA – Finland semifinal, entering the game with approximately 11:30 remaining in the 3rd period and a 6–0 lead. He replaced Ryan Miller to prevent any chance of injury to the American starter.

Personal[edit]

Thomas and wife Melissa[20] have three children: daughters Kiley, born August 2000 and Kelsey, born May 2005, and son Keegan, born September 2006.[21] Thomas is a Christian.[22] Thomas is a Republican and has stated that the person he would most like to have dinner with is conservative TV pundit Glenn Beck.[23] After winning the Stanley Cup in 2011, Thomas skipped the traditional victors' meet-and-greet with President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday, January 23, 2012; he was the only active Bruin not to attend.[24] He released a statement regarding his absence:

"I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.

This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.

Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.

This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT"[25]

Awards and honors[edit]

Award Year
College
All-ECAC Hockey Rookie Team 1993–94
All-ECAC Hockey First Team 1994–95
AHCA East Second-Team All-American 1994–95
All-ECAC Hockey First Team 1995–96
AHCA East First-Team All-American 1995–96

Source: Tim Thomas on HockeyGoalies.org

SM-Liiga

NHL

Other

Records[edit]

  • Most saves by a goaltender in a playoff run (798)
  • Most saves by a goaltender in a Stanley Cup finals series (238)

Hockey camps[edit]

  • Tim Thomas runs several ice hockey camps in the Northeast United States during the NHL off-season for both goaltenders and skaters.[26]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Regular season
Season Team League GP W L T/OTL MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1991–92 Davison High School MHSAA 27 18 5 4 1580 87 9 3.30 .926
1993–94 Vermont Catamounts NCAA 33 15 12 6 1864 94 0 3.03
1994–95 Vermont Catamounts NCAA 34 18 13 2 2010 90 4 2.69
1995–96 Vermont Catamounts NCAA 37 26 7 4 2254 88 3 2.34 .924
1996–97 Vermont Catamounts NCAA 36 22 11 3 2158 101 2 2.81
1997–98 HIFK SM-liiga 18 13 4 1 1034 28 2 1.62
1997–98 Birmingham Bulls ECHL 6 4 1 1 360 13 1 2.17 .944
1997–98 Houston Aeros IHL 1 0 0 1 59 4 0 4.01 .852
1998–99 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 15 6 8 0 837 45 0 3.23
1998–99 HIFK SM-liiga 14 8 3 3 831 34 2 2.23
1999–00 Detroit Vipers IHL 36 10 21 3 2020 120 1 3.56 .892
2000–01 AIK Elitserien 43 17 16 10 2542 105 3 2.48 .918
2001–02 Kärpät SM-liiga 32 15 12 5 1937 79 4 2.45
2002–03 Providence Bruins AHL 35 18 12 5 2049 98 1 2.87 .906
2002–03 Boston Bruins NHL 4 3 1 0 220 11 0 3.00 .907
2003–04 Providence Bruins AHL 43 20 16 6 2544 78 9 1.84 .941
2004–05 Jokerit SM-liiga 54 34 7 13 3267 86 15 1.58 .946
2005–06 Providence Bruins AHL 26 15 11 0 1515 57 1 2.26 .923
2005–06 Boston Bruins NHL 38 12 13 10 2187 101 1 2.77 .917
2006–07 Boston Bruins NHL 66 30 29 4 3619 189 3 3.13 .905
2007–08 Boston Bruins NHL 57 28 19 6 3342 136 3 2.44 .921
2008–09 Boston Bruins NHL 54 36 11 7 3259 114 5 2.10 .933
2009–10 Boston Bruins NHL 43 17 18 8 2442 104 5 2.56 .915
2010–11 Boston Bruins NHL 57 35 11 9 3364 112 9 2.00 .938
2011–12 Boston Bruins NHL 59 35 19 1 3352 132 5 2.36 .920
2013–14 Florida Panthers NHL 40 16 20 3 2299 110 0 2.87 .909
2013–14 Dallas Stars NHL 8 2 4 1 364 18 0 2.97 .902
NHL totals 426 214 145 54 24,446 1027 31 2.52 .920

Playoffs[edit]

   
Season Team League GP W L MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1997–98 HIFK SM-l 9 9 0 551 14 3 1.52
1998–99 HIFK SM-l 11 7 4 658 25 0 2.28
2000–01 AIK SEL 5 1 4 299 20 0 4.00 .875
2001–02 Kärpät SM-l 3 1 2 180 12 0 4.00
2003–04 Providence Bruins AHL 2 0 2 84 10 0 7.13
2004–05 Jokerit SM-l 12 8 4 720 22 0 1.83
2007–08 Boston Bruins NHL 7 3 4 430 19 0 2.65 .914
2008–09 Boston Bruins NHL 11 7 4 680 21 1 1.85 .935
2010–11 Boston Bruins NHL 25 16 9 1542 51 4 1.98 .940
2011–12 Boston Bruins NHL 7 3 4 448 16 1 2.14 .923
2013–14 Dallas Stars NHL 1 0 0 15 1 0 4.00 .500
NHL totals 51 29 21 3114 108 6 2.08 .933

International[edit]

Year Team Event   GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA
1996 United States WC 1 0 0 0 29 1 0 2.02
1998 United States WC 1 0 0 0 58 2 0 2.06
1999 United States WC 2 0 2 0 99 8 0 4.85
2008 United States WC 3 2 0 0 160 4 1 1.50
2010 United States Oly 1 0 0 0 12 1 0 5.21
Senior int'l totals 8 2 2 0 359 16 1 2.67

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tim Thomas". NHL.com. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Thomas caps amazing season with Conn Smythe". NHL.com. Retrieved June 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ Bo Rottenborn (2009-01-22). "On Ice: Fantastic Four". NCAA.com. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  4. ^ a b c "Tim Thomas". HockeyGoalies. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  5. ^ "Tim Thomas: Boston's yoga bear". The Hockey News. 2007-11-28. 
  6. ^ "Thomas records second straight shutout; Bruins top Vancouver 1–0". Canadian Press. 2008-10-28. Retrieved 2008-11-03. [dead link]
  7. ^ "October was a month of highlights". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  8. ^ a b "Tim Thomas: Making Memories at Fenway". NHLPA.com. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Thomas's deal: four years, $20 million". Boston.com by Kevin Paul Dupont, Boston Globe Staff April 3, 2009. April 3, 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Bruins clinch No. 1 spot in NHL East". CBC News. 2009-04-04. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  11. ^ "Briere's 2 goals lift Lidstrom NHL All-Stars". Boston.com by Ira Podell, AP Staff Writer. January 30, 2011. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Bruins' Thomas wins Conn Smythe award". cbc.ca. 2011-06-15. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  13. ^ Thomas to take 2012-13 season off
  14. ^ "ISLANDERS ACQUIRE GOALTENDER THOMAS FROM BRUINS". TSN.ca. 7 February 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  15. ^ http://sports.yahoo.com/news/panthers-bring-tim-thomas-tryout-194239447--nhl.html
  16. ^ "Tim Thomas signs 1-year deal with Panthers". USA Today. September 26, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Honoring Beezer". Florida Panthers. 4 October 2013. 
  18. ^ http://beta.thescore.com/news/446045
  19. ^ http://www.nhl.com/ice/blogpost.htm?id=26846
  20. ^ Klein, Jeff Z. (January 24, 2008). "Tim Thomas, All-Star: "It's Funny Even Hearing It to My Ears"". The New York Times. 
  21. ^ 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Fact Sheet. Docs.google.com. (2010-02-04) Retrieved on 2011-12-12.
  22. ^ "Christian Goalkeeper Shuts Down Canucks in Game 7 of Stanley Cup Finals". 
  23. ^ "Bruins' Thomas skips White House visit". Vancouversun.com. 2012-01-12. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  24. ^ "Thomas skips White House based on beliefs". WEEI. 2012-01-23. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  25. ^ "Thomas statement on White House absence - NHL.com - News". NHL.com. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  26. ^ Tim Thomas Hockey – Hockey Camps, Massachusetts Hockey Camp, Boston Bruins Ice Hockey Goalie, Vermont Summer Camp. Timthomashockey.com (2010-12-08). Retrieved on 2011-12-12.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Award Created
Ken Dryden Award
1995–96
Succeeded by
Trevor Koenig
Preceded by
Timo Pärssinen
Winner of the Kultainen kypärä trophy
2004–05
Succeeded by
Tony Salmelainen
Preceded by
Timo Pärssinen
Winner of the Lasse Oksanen trophy
2004–05
Succeeded by
Tony Salmelainen
Preceded by
Jani Hurme
Winner of the Urpo Ylönen trophy
1997–98
Succeeded by
Miikka Kiprusoff
Preceded by
Chris Osgood and Dominik Hasek
Winner of the William M. Jennings Trophy with Manny Fernandez
2008–09
Succeeded by
Martin Brodeur
Preceded by
Martin Brodeur
Ryan Miller
Winner of the Vezina Trophy
2008–09
2010–11
Succeeded by
Ryan Miller
Henrik Lundqvist
Preceded by
Jonathan Toews
Winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy
2011
Succeeded by
Jonathan Quick