Through his own actions, Tim Thomas has become one of the most divisive players in the NHL. His boycott of the Boston Bruins' White House celebration, and subsequent stonewalling of questions about it, created a groundswell of resentment against him. In the playoffs alone, he's been taunted with Giant Obama Heads and had his page Wiki-vandalized after Game 7.
But after giving up the game-winning goal to Joel Ward of the Washington Capitals in overtime and going through the handshake line, Thomas engaged in one of the most touching, spontaneous moments of the postseason:
A second view, from NESN:
There's a chance this was Thomas' final game with the Boston Bruins.
After winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2011. His no-move clause is up on July 1, and is signed for one more year at a $5 million cap hit.
"I thought we had a better chance than most," Thomas explained. "I thought that if we could get past this first-round hurdle that we would pick up some energy and momentum.
"I had the picture in my head of holding the Cup again this year," he added. "And I thought -- I believed in -- that this team still had what it took to get it done, even with that short summer and everything else."
For all the ancillary stuff on Thomas, it's hard not to still see the guy who toiled in every minor league imaginable from 1997-2003, living the dream before latching on with the Bruins. Or the guy whose aggressive nature and clutch play made him a fan favorite against the Canucks last season. Or the guy who, even at the lowest point of his season, asked a young fan to crack a smile.