In the spring of 2011, the goalkeeper Tim Thomas was the toast of the NHL, the most valuable post-season player on Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup championship team.
One year later, he walked away from the team, citing “burnout” and a need to take time off, perhaps tired of the controversy surrounding his conservative political views; he declined to join a 2012 visit to the White House because he disagrees with the policies of Barack Obama.
Now he is back, attempting a comeback with the lowly Florida Panthers after a year and a half away from the sport.
At 39, Thomas didn’t take the hiatus in the prime of his career, as did the basketball legend Michael Jordan. Thomas was able to find work with Florida only because they were in need of help in the net, and willing to take a gamble, at US$3 million (Dh11m) for one year on a once-great goalie.
Thomas stopped 25 shots in beating Dallas 4-2 in his debut game. But he let in five goals before being pulled against St Louis, and surrendered two quick goals against Philadelphia before injuring a groin muscle and leaving in his third game back. It is not known when he will return. Most older players approach the end of their careers appreciating every moment, dreading the end, knowing how much they will miss it when their skills finally desert them. Thomas had to leave the sport to miss it.
If he is lucky, and his skills hold up long enough, he’ll get another chance at it – that “appreciating-every-moment” thing.