So much for a dull off-season. Overshadowing the signing of Chris "Don't call me Ray" Bourque and re-signed of Pie Face was the news that Tim Thomas may take the 2012-2013 season off. And today, while talking about the Bourque/Paille contracts, Chiarelli confirmed those reports and is working under the assumption that the Bruins will be Timmy-less next season.
“Tim came to me…through his agent and said that he’s seriously considering taking the year off. So, as of now, I am operating under the premise that there’s a strong possibility that he’ll be taking a year off and we’d have to go about our business without Tim Thomas.
We did exit meetings after we won the Cup and he was really tired, and that was another thing he had said to me after this [past season’s] exit meetings, that he definitely was worn down a bit. I just think with all the stuff that’s gone on in the last couple years with playing and all the other appearances and kind of the fame that goes with winning -- I think he’s a little worn down.
I know there’s been some players who’ve had long stretches in their careers, and then including some long playoff years – and when they come to the end of their deals -- and I think of [Scott] Niedermayer, I think of [Nicklas] Lidstrom over the years, [Teemu] Selanne -- where they take some time to decide if they want to play again. These things come up and these things happen and this is what’s happening with Tim right now. And we have to deal with it and we will.
I almost have to operate under the premise as if he isn’t coming back. I’ve had some discussions with Tim and he’s told me that he wants to play in the Olympics the following year, so I’ll have some more discussions with him later on.
We’ve got two very capable goalies in Tuukka and Khudobin. So I’d be more than satisfied if that’s who we have to go with.
If he wasn’t playing I would have to suspend him. His cap number would still be on the cap. We would have relief through [Marc] Savard being on the cap, so it would be almost a wash that way, but he would still be on the cap. And that’s the way we’d proceed with the year.
Obviously, it diminishes any leverage that you have or some leverage that you have. But I’ll tell you what -- he’s a world-class goalie. So, he’d help somebody in a big way if he decided to play.
But these things happen and you have to roll with them and you have to deal with them. When someone talks about their family and stuff, you have to respect that. That’s really all I can say on it.
You have to deal with it."
Ouch. This sucks. We can't blame him for taking time off for family issues -- everyone has their priorities and Timmy's going family first -- but as a fan this still sucks to see. No way of getting him off the books except trade him and right now his value is just above Joe Corvo and a kick to the nuts. This may make re-signing Rask a bit more challenging (at a reasonable deal anyways) and makes the chances of seeing Kelly again after a career year pretty difficult, too. And if you had any far-fetch dreams of getting Nash or Parise, you can kiss those good-bye. Just by contemplating taking a year off Timmy is negatively affecting the team. He may be doing good by his family, but not by the Bruins. People can decide how they feel about it and if the "I only care about what happens on the ice" philosophy extends this far or if "family concerns" is the exception to the rule.
This is just going to get uglier and uglier, especially if Timmy doesn't come out and say why he's contemplating taking a season off. Chia's hinting family/fatigue and we've heard more detailed rumors we're not going to post here, but this isn't helping Timmy's image by any means. Love him or hate him this is another PR nightmare with Thomas.