And he knows how to deflect more than just pucks.
You might recall on Monday Mr. Thomas opted to not attend a White House ceremony during which the Bruins team was honored for winning the Stanley Cup. He justified his decision as a personal protest against what he called the intrusive nature of government in people's lives.
The Boston Herald reports that Mr. Thomas stands by not visiting the White House and accusing the media of stoking the controversy.
Day 5 of the Tim Thomas [stats] controversy rolled on here at All-Star weekend as the players met the press at the Ottawa Westin, and it’s clear the Bruins [team stats] goalie is ready for the whole brouhaha to go away.
I did predict the fallout from his decision wouldn't easily go away, didn't I?
“I think it should. Why? Because it’s all media-driven right now, and it has been from the start,” Thomas said yesterday. “Everything I said and did was as an individual and not as a representative of the Boston Bruins. All it has to do with is me. It’s separate from hockey. That’s my personal life. Those are my personal views. Those are my personal beliefs, It has nothing to do with hockey. It has nothing to do with the All-Star Game. It has nothing to do with the Boston Bruins.”
The New York Times adds that Thomas' snub could lead to management trading him.
Thomas’s teammates were well aware of his political beliefs, and their public statements in the last week did not point to a rift in the Bruins dressing room.
“In the end, if it’s a good or a bad choice, he’s still my teammate, so I’m still going to have his back no matter what he goes through,” Tyler Seguin said at the All-Star draft, echoing what other Bruins have said about Thomas.
But team management might feel differently. The Bruins’ president, Cam Neely, said it “would have been nice” for Thomas to attend and that he had “concerns” about how the controversy would affect him.
Thomas’s no-trade clause expires at the end of this season, and General Manager Peter Chiarelli may be tempted to trade Thomas and his $5-million-a-year cap hit. Thomas’s 24-year-old backup, Tuukka Rask, has been a top-notch goalie in all three of his N.H.L. seasons.
There may be some resentment on Thomas’s side as well. A season and a half ago, when he was nursing a hip injury and was playing merely well rather than at his usual stratospheric level, the Bruins shopped Thomas around. That slight bothered him. He removed the Bruins’ black and gold colors from his pads and took the team crest off his mask.
Thomas was miffed again last season when, after a couple of off games amid a record-breaking season, Neely suggested he might not start in the playoffs.
Now, speculation is rampant that Thomas will leave Boston. Other teams are already licking their chops about what it could mean to have the greatest goalie of the era — and the most politically controversial one — in their nets.If he were traded, would that also be the media's fault?