Bruins discover Tim Thomas is the thing that wouldn't leave

Remember that report claiming the Boston Bruins had discussions with the Philadelphia Flyers regarding 36-year-old goalie Tim Thomas(notes)?

Or that TSN report that the Bruins had given Thomas's agent Bill Zito permission to speak directly with teams about moving Thomas? Or the rumors during the NHL Draft that he had waived his no-trade clause in order to escape a situation where he might open the season as a back-up keeper behind Tuukka Rask(notes)?

Inaccuracies! Misinformation! Poppycock, claimed Thomas in speaking with Boston media yesterday.

Not only that, but he's fully prepared to reclaim the starting gig for the B's.

Here's Thomas to the Boston Globe:

"There's so much misinformation out there that to go back and start correcting everything would be crazy," Thomas said. "Which is why I don't pay attention, not even in my own case, to much else that's said. It's interesting to read articles on TSN or whatever. You think you're keeping up on what's going on. But being at least somewhat in the inner loop, you realize that 75 percent of what's being written is wrong. Basically, it's more of an entertainment value to me than to think through the consequences of what's in the media."

And here's Thomas to The Bruins Blog, adding that he's barely spoken to the B's this offseason:

"Of course [I want to be here]," he said. "The fans have never turned their backs on me. And that's who you play for is the fans, and the fans of Boston have always been great for me."

And what about the organization? "They're my employers, they've paid my paycheck, so they've been doing what they're supposed to do," he said.

Thomas is a competitor, and a fierce one. He was relegated to a backup role last season, hobbled by a bum hip that was surgically repaired 11 weeks ago. He spent the last two months hearing about how his $5 million cap hit both made him a liability to the cap-strapped Bruins and nearly untradeable thanks to the market correction on goalies in the NHL.

But the ultimate kick in the pants is that the Bruins committed four years at $20 million guaranteed (being a 35-and-over contract), and gave Thomas a no-trade clause in the first three years. And Thomas signed that contract knowing that, playing on a trap team and with sterling numbers, he could have found it as free agent, too.

So believe the talk that Thomas wants to reclaim "his job" with the Bruins, because it's a point of professional pride. It's something Boston obviously won't mind, because it'll make Rask compete that much harder.

But neither Thomas nor the Bruins want him to be a $5 million-a-year backup goalie. If he doesn't win the gig or at least earn a split of the starts ... well, maybe then the work really begins to move him. Unless Thomas is like that old guy in your office who's content to look at his gold watch glisten under the fluorescent bulbs, knowing that his severance package would cost the company more than his continued employment.

Then comes the hard part: Finding a taker for an old, banged-up $5 million-a-year backup. From the Globe, here's Thomas:

"Chicago won a Cup with a goalie they hardly had to pay. Philly was in the final with a goalie who wasn't getting paid very much. So that's the pattern they'll take until someone else proves them wrong. The next time a goalie wins a Stanley Cup, they'll say, 'Oh, you've got to have that goalie. If you have to pay for him, so what? You've got to have that goalie to win the Cup.' At this particular juncture, especially with the salary cap, it seems like the goalies are next in line for the pay cuts."

Good thing some 36 year olds got in under the wire.

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