On January 1st the Boston Bruins will lace ’em up against their rival Montreal Canadiens in the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium. One special event tied to the big outdoor game is the night before on New Years Eve where both organizations will field teams to play an alumni game. It could arguably be the most heated alumni game in the history of retiree competition. It would be great to see the Boston Bruins extend an invite to Tim Thomas to come put on Black n’ Gold one more time, even if it is just an alumni exhibition.
There’s no doubt that Tim Thomas and the Bruins have held some animosity towards each other over the years. He snubbed the White House visit after winning the Stanley Cup, he took a rare year off sabbatical while under contract, and often had his political views intertwined with his professional work. It’s safe to say, like most goalies, he was a different type of guy. A guy who for most of his career was doubted and overlooked at every level he played. A guy who in part because of that carried a big chip on his shoulder.
He’s also a guy who carried an entire franchise and fan base on his back on the way to winning a Stanley Cup. There is no chance the Bruins win the 2011 Stanley Cup, or maybe even the first round of the playoffs, without Tim Thomas. He had arguably the best post season a goalie has ever had. Thomas set the NHL record for most playoff saves (798) and most saves in a Cup Final (238). He only allowed 8 goals total in the 7 Finals games, setting a record .967 save percentage with his Game 7 shutout. Even in the regular season he set an NHL record save percentage of .938. He was absolutely unbeatable.
For all of the personal things that crept into his professional life and accelerated his end in Boston time should heal all of it. The Bruins should invite Thomas to play in the alumni game and he should accept. The fans would love to see it and the buzz it would create would be great. Both the Bruins organization and Thomas himself achieved remarkable things together. And as we close in on 5 years since that historic Stanley Cup run its only fitting that both sides but the old issues in the past, come together at least for that one day in Foxboro, and celebrate all that they accomplished.