Don’t expect any holes in net
Thomas and Rask are likely to return
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas expected to still be playing. Instead, he and his teammates spent Friday saying goodbye at TD Garden after being eliminated by Washington Wednesday night.
“It’s sunk in now,’’ said Thomas. “All things considered, we had a pretty good year that the guys should be proud of. It was an amazing run that we had that won [the Stanley Cup] and it entails afterwards a lot of things and a short summer. We went right into a very long season and we had adversity throughout that season.
“Having said that, we stuck together and got it done to come up second in the Eastern Conference, and we were one bounce away from going to the second round and seeing what we could make happen after that. I think the guys should be proud of the effort they brought all year, they gave all they had.’’
Thomas will enter the final season of his contract in 2012-13 with his no-trade clause expiring July 1. General manager Peter Chiarelli said he expects to have both Thomas and Tuukka Rask, a restricted free agent, on the roster come training camp, quelling any speculation that Thomas could be traded in the offseason.
“I view it pretty much the same way as I saw it going into last summer,’’ said Chiarelli. “The difference being that Tuukka obviously didn’t play toward the end because of his injury. For me, there’s no uncertainty there with regard to him being back and healthy.
“I’ve seen speculation of moving a goalie and all that stuff, but I’m certainly not inclined to do that. Tim didn’t have, statistically, the year he had the year before, but I thought he had a very good year. We have if not the best, one of the top two or three goalie tandems in the league.’’
At 38, Thomas said he feels healthy and intends to spend the offseason working out. Two summers ago, Thomas spent his time rehabbing from hip surgery. Last offseason was very short because of the Cup run.
“With this extra time here, I’m going to spend it improving myself physically and in any area that I can figure out,’’ said Thomas. “I’m one of the lucky here who is leaving the season with no injuries and in good health. Mentally, the last 20 months have been a long run, but all things considered I think I held up pretty well.’’
Thomas believed the Bruins had what it took to become the first repeat champion since the Red Wings in 1998.
“I think this team showed their character during the Stanley Cup run and win, and I think they showed it this year,’’ said Thomas. “They gave all they had and it just didn’t end up being enough this time.’’
Thomas said he isn’t one who spends a lot of time ruminating about his future.
“I’m happy,’’ he said. “I’m on a great team with a great coaching staff. I know it’s a year later, but we just won that Cup together and that is very special. I did the best I could. On and off the ice, I tried to do what I felt was right and I tried to prepare myself as much as possible to do the best job I could possibly do on the ice, which is when it’s obviously the most important as a professional athlete.’’
Some in the media have made note of Thomas referring to his teammates as “they’’ rather than “we,’’ and concluded that Thomas perhaps was expecting to play for a different team next season. He said that isn’t the case.
“I’m trying to give them credit without giving credit to myself because they deserve a huge amount of credit, so don’t read too much into the ‘they’, ‘us’ please,’’ he said. “This is a special group of guys that bodes well for the future of the Boston Bruins.’’
It appears Thomas will be very much a part of that.
“We’re two days off of losing out of the playoffs in a time period where I thought we’d still be playing until the middle of June, so I haven’t put too much thought [into the future],’’ said Thomas. “The future will work itself out. I don’t even know what I’m going to do over the next few days.’’
Rask has recovered from a lower abdomen/groin strain suffered March 3 against the Islanders, and is hopeful he and the Bruins can come to terms on a new deal.
“It’s a big summer for me, I don’t have a contract yet,’’ said Rask. “We’ve got to figure that out and then be ready to have a good season next year.’’
He said he definitely wants to remain a Bruin.
“I’ve always said that I like it here and I want to come back,’’ said Rask, who said it would be fine with him if he and Thomas were a tandem again. “I think there is a clear plan. Everybody has been talking about it for a long time now. It’s not about the money, it’s more about what’s good for everybody. I think we have a great group of guys and the organization is great. I don’t see why anybody wouldn’t want to be here. In my case, the same thing. I love it here, we just have to make things work, that’s all.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.