x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Boston's Tim Thomas has gone from folk hero to social pariah

The Bruins goalie has told management that personal reasons will force him to miss all of next season, but the love affair he had with Boston fans was over long before that.

Tim Thomas has told the Boston Bruins that he wants to take a year away from the game.
Tim Thomas has told the Boston Bruins that he wants to take a year away from the game.

Just one year after carrying the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup championship, Tim Thomas is facing an uncertain future.

The goalie won the Conn Smythe Trophy as play-off MVP last season as he led the Bruins to their first title in nearly 40 years. He became something of a folk hero, in part because of his interesting history - his unorthodox flopping style scared off NHL teams, so he toiled in the minors and in Europe before arriving in Boston at age 31.

But things started falling apart this season, and last week he told the team he may be out next season for personal reasons.

"The reason why, I'm not exactly sure. But he did give some reasons regarding family," said Peter Chiarelli, the general manager. "As of right now, I'm operating under the premise that he will take a year off."

While Thomas's on-ice performance was solid, it did not approach his Vezina Trophy-winning form of the previous season. And his popularity took a hit when he sat out the Bruins' visit to the White House for political reasons.

Thomas identified himself with the Tea Party, a conservative group, and went public with criticisms of the US president Barack Obama. The recriminations were swift, and Thomas suddenly went from good guy to outcast.

It was a tough and trying season for Thomas, who has persevered throughout his career. At age 38, with one year left on his contract, you have to wonder if sitting out a season would be a wise choice.

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