Postgame comments from Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas, who allowed eight goals in seven games in the Stanley Cup Final:
Tim, throughout your whole career you’ve had to prove yourself time and time again. Do you think you’ve done that now?
Thomas: “For now. I know the game, and I know the way that it is, you know. Winning the Stanley Cup is huge. It’s the biggest accomplishment of my career thus far.
“But everybody knows in this game that you have to continuously prove yourself. I’m sure if I were to, for example, start out the season bad next year that I probably, with the Cup, would have bought myself a little bit of leeway, but it won’t last forever unless I turn my game around.”
know you talked earlier in the series about visualization, when you were in some soggy locker room in the some of the Nordic countries, did you visualize yourself here?
Thomas: “No. At that time I was probably just visualizing each game one at a time when I was in Finland.
“I didn’t want to think about the NHL because it seemed like it was so far away. But having said that, I was happy playing where I was playing. I was playing in a very good league and I had a lot of good friends over there.
“I’m very happy that I made the decision to come back. It was a tough decision at the time, but it paid off in the long run in this case.
“Having said that I would have been happy playing my whole career over there if the need would have been.”
Tim, what’s going through your head after Patrice Bergeron’s first goal and how did that go with each passing goal?
Thomas: “I was hoping someone else would score so I wouldn’t have to shut ’em out. I was happy going into the game, talked about not getting too high. If we do score, you can’t act like you’ve won the Stanley Cup because you will get an emotional high and it will end up showing on the ice.
“I was just trying to stay level. It was just one goal. It was a huge goal, the game-winning goal, but at that time, there was still a lot of game and a lot of work left to do.”
Tim, do you have a message for the fans who have been waiting for a long time for this?
Thomas: “You’ve been waiting a long time, but you got it. You wanted it, you got it. We’re bringing it home.
Tim, goaltending is about streaks and confidence. Was there ever a point in this Final that you were worried about losing a little bit of momentum?
Thomas: “Yeah, to be completely honest with you, Game 6 at home. Right off the opening face-off there was a guy that whacked it backhand from the outside blue line right off the opening face-off and I just lost it. It was up in the air and I went into full panic mode in my mind.
“Then Vancouver put the pressure on and whizzed the puck around the crease four or five different times, shot just wide. And I was on my heels there for a second, and that was the first time that I’d gotten nervous during the finals.
“So, yeah, I was scared. I won’t lie. I had nerves yesterday and today. I faked it as well as I could, and I faked my way all the way to the Stanley Cup.”
Tim, such a great old classic trophy is yours. What does it feel like to win that?
Thomas: The Conn Smythe? It’s quite an honor. The Stanley Cup is the biggest one. That’s the one that you’re shooting for. Conn Smythe is completely an honor. I just sat down here and started to read some of the names on it and it’s an honor to be mentioned. Patrick Roy, Ron Hextall, Ken Dryden, those are the three goalies that I can see on this side facing me, it’s amazing.”