June 1, 2012

Chiarelli confirms Thomas considering hiatus from hockey

By Jesse Connolly

In a conference call originally intended to discuss new deals for forwards Dan Paille and Chris Bourque (Topsfield, Mass.), Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli spent majority of his time on the horn with the media discussing one of his goaltenders. 

The GM confirmed that there was truth to the rumors that Tim Thomas might take a year off, as Chiarelli said that the 38-year-old netminder said in the middle of May that he was considering doing so.

Chiarelli indicated on multiple occasions that the decision would be for family reasons, and that Thomas stated in his exit interviews that he was highly fatigued after an arduous calendar year.

Here are the other Cliff Notes from the call:

  • Paille appreciates the big role he has with the team, but hopes to make it an even bigger one going forward.

  • Chiarelli said Bourque has what it takes to play at the NHL level on a regular basis.

  • Thomas is entering the final season of his four-year deal, which carries a cap hit of $5 million. The Bruins would likely suspend the netminder for the season, but they’d still have to carry his cap hit. Chiarelli noted they could place Marc Savard on LTIR to lessen that burden.

  • Thomas expressed interest in playing in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

  • Chiarelli said he’s confident going forward with a tandem of Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin.

  • Dominik Hasek was also mentioned during the call, as the legendary goaltender also took a year off – ironically at the age of 38 – before playing four more NHL seasons (and another two in Europe).

  • Asked who definitely wouldn’t be back among this year’s crop of free agents, Chiarelli said Joe Corvo’s name faster than the speed of light.

  • Recently-signed goaltenders Niklas Svedberg and Adam Morrison are expected to compete for playing time in Providence.      

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.