SUNRISE, Fla. — According to the Florida Panthers Twitter account, former Bruins goalie Tim Thomas will be starting against Boston in Thursday night’s game, making for must-see TV.
“It will be [weird],” said Bruins winger Milan Lucic. “All those years of shooting on him in practice and whatnot. I think it’ll be fun to finally get to shoot on him in a game. I’m sure he’s looking forward to it as well.
“I’m sure he’s happy to be back in the NHL playing. He’s found a new home here in Florida.”
Most of the current Bruins never really considered that they’d play against the goalie who led them to the Stanley Cup in 2011. He was aging and, of course, under contract to the Bruins. So a change of address didn’t seem in the cards — until Thomas decided he didn’t want to play the 2012-13 season.
His rights were traded to the Islanders last season, though he never suited up for them. He signed with the Panthers on a tryout agreement at the start of camp, and later signed a one-year contract with the team.
“Never thought that we would play against each other,” said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who was once Thomas’s backup. “But I’m glad that he made his comeback. That’s what people want. I hope he does well.”
The 39-year-old Thomas has been practicing for a few days as he tries to come back from a groin injury suffered in the Panthers’ third game of the season. He declined to speak with media, saying that he would talk after Thursday’s game.
Which, apparently, he is going to start.
“We practiced together many years, so I don’t think it’s any different, because we both practice like we play,” Rask said. “There will just be lots more people out there watching.”