Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas gave his first public indication that he will take a season off in a Facebook post on Sunday.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed an earlier report on Friday that two-time Vezina Trophy winning goalie Tim Thomas surprised the team last month to advise them of the possibility he'd sit out next season due to family reasons.
The 38-year-old Thomas indicated in the post he wanted to spend more time with his family.
In his own words:
From the earliest age I can remember, I've wanted to be a hockey player. I've been blessed in my life to not only be able to live that dream, but to achieve more than I ever thought possible.
The singleminded focus that is necessary to accomplish a dream of this magnitude entails (by necessity) sacrifice in other areas and relationships in life.
At the age of 38, I believe it is time to put my time and energies into those areas and relationships that I have neglected. That is why at this time I feel the most important thing I can do in my life is to reconnect with the three F's.
Friends, Family, and Faith.
This is what I plan on doing over the course of the next year.
What does this portend for the future?
We'll see….God's will be done.
Thomas, whose agent is Bill Zito, is scheduled to count $5 million US against the salary cap in the last season of his current deal.
The netminder has a no-movement clause that expires on July 1, but Chiarelli said he didn't think it was a ploy to force a trade.
"I don't think there's anything mischievous from his point behind this," said Chiarelli.
A late bloomer who played in Finland before finally breaking into an NHL lineup at the age of 32, Thomas emerged as one of the league's top goalies when he won the Vezina Trophy in 2009. He won it again along with the playoff MVP in 2011 while leading Boston to the Stanley Cup championship.
But he is also an iconoclast who was known to wander far from the crease in games and occasionally leave his comfort zone off the ice as well.
Thomas made waves midway through the season when he did not accompany his teammates to the White House for a ceremony honouring their 2011 Stanley Cup win. He said on Facebook at the time that it was not a partisan decision, and then refused to talk to reporters about the decision on numerous occasions.
While not the sole reason the Bruins lost in the first round in seven games to Washington in April, last year's Conn Smythe winner was outperformed by Capitals rookie Braden Holtby.
Chiarelli said Thomas has admitted to feeling a bit worn down, having played 148 regular season and playoff games the past two years. But the Flint, Mich., native also reportedly expressed the desire to vie for a spot on the 2014 U.S. Olympic team.
That would seem a very slim proposition if he doesn't play, given the surplus of younger candidates available if the league's players head to Sochi: Jonathan Quick, Ryan Miller, Cory Schneider and Craig Anderson among them.
In his Facebook post on Sunday Thomas indicated he would continue to work out and stay in shape while not playing, endorsing a pair of fitness-related companies.
It was apparently his second post of the weekend. A post on Saturday — quickly taken down — linked to an article on the global economic crisis.
Current backup Tuukka Rask, 25, actually supplanted Thomas as No. 1 netminder for the second half of 2009-10. The Finnish netminder is a restricted free agent. At this time, Anton Khudobin would serve as the backup.