When rumors began to swirl that Tim Thomas was seriously considering taking a year off from hockey, GM Peter Chiarelli indicated that the Boston Bruins' netminder might be releasing a statement on his Facebook page, just as he did when he skipped the team's trip to the White House.
Sure enough, Thomas released that statement Sunday. From Facebook:
From the earliest age I can remember, I've wanted to be a hockey player. I've been blessed in my life to not only be able to live that dream, but to achieve more than I ever thought possible.
The singleminded focus that is necessary to accomplish a dream of this magnitude entails (by necessity) sacrifice in other areas and relationships in life.
At the age of 38, I believe it is time to put my time and energies into those areas and relationships that I have neglected. That is why at this time I feel the most important thing I can do in my life is to reconnect with the three F's.
Friends, Family, and Faith.
This is what I plan on doing over the course of the next year.
One thing we know for sure: Over the course of the past year, Thomas has clearly reconnected with proper capitalization. It's not quite there yet, but he's definitely improved. I digress.
Thomas is going to get roasted for his decision. His contract will still count against the cap, and by doing this while Tuukka Rask remains unsigned for next season, he's given the Rask camp some serious leverage. But if there's any consolation for Bruins fans, it's this: If this statement truly reflects his mindset, you shouldn't want him to play next year any more than he does.
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It really doesn't even matter what's causing Thomas to lose his interest in returning to hockey next year. It might be the three F's, as indicated above. It might be a deep-seated fear for where the world is headed, as indicated by the link Thomas posted on the same page to an article predicting a global economic meltdown:
(While the irony of forfeiting $3 million dollars in annual salary because you're afraid of an economic meltdown is hilarious, let's not forget that Thom Yorke fell into a writer's block because of a fear of global warming. So there's precedent.)
Whatever the issue is, it's pulling Thomas away from hockey.
There are a great many stations in life that require a devotion at the expense of other passions, issues and commitments, and in most cases, we would advise any friend struggling to cope with this cost to take a step back. But Thomas doesn't have the option of stepping back just a little.
The goaltender position, more than anywhere else in the NHL, is about focus and mental fortitude. In order to play at a high level, you really do have to be single-minded, as Thomas said. If his head and heart are elsewhere, be it friends, family and faith or politics, if he truly can't give his entire self to playing goal, he's a liability in net and he shouldn't be there.
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