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Timothy Thomas, Jr. (born April 15, 1974), nicknamed The Tank, is a Americanmarker professional ice hockey goaltender for the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League (NHL). Raised in Flint, Michiganmarker, Thomas played college hockey for the University of Vermontmarker for four years from 1993–1997, during which, he was drafted 217th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He played for several years in the minor leagues and Europe before emerging as the Boston Bruins' starting goaltender. He, along with Manny Fernandez, is the current holder of the William M. Jennings Trophy. Thomas is a two-time NHL All-Star, and was the winner of the 2009 Vezina Trophy as the league's best goaltender.

Playing career

Thomas played four seasons (1993–97) of college hockey for the University of Vermontmarker, posting an 81-43-15 record to go with a 2.70 GAA and .924 save percentage and remains second in the NCAA Division I record book in career saves (3,950). He led the nation in save percentage in 1996 (.924) and helped the Catamounts to NCAA tournament appearances in his final two seasons, including a berth in the 1996 NCAA Frozen Four (a program first). He was a two-time All-ECAC Conference selection and a two-time NCAA East All-American. He ranks first all-time amongst Vermont goalies in games played (140), wins (81), and minutes played (3950). After his freshman year, Thomas was drafted 217th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.

Completing his four-year tenure with Vermont, Thomas played briefly for the Birmingham Bulls of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) and Houston Aeros of the International Hockey League (IHL) in 1997–98, before transferring overseas mid-season to HIFK of the SM-Liiga. Thomas played 18 games with a save percentage of .947 as the team advanced through the playoffs to defeat Ilves in the finals and win the Finnish championship. After signing with the Edmonton Oilers on June 4, 1998, Thomas initially returned to the AHL the following season with the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he played 15 games, before again transferring to HIFK. Thomas recorded a .917 save percentage in 14 games as HIFK made it to the league finals once more but finished as runners-up to TPS.

In 1999–00, Thomas returned once again to North America to play for the Detroit Vipers of the IHL, then spent the next season with AIK of the Elitserien. Thomas was very popular among the fans and was an important factor for bringing the team to the playoffs for the first time in four years. During regular season, Thomas played 43 games with a save percentage of .918.

In 2001, Thomas joined the Boston Bruins organization, but chose to continue playing in Europe, spending his first full SM-liiga season in 2001–02 with Kärpät. Although the team didn't get far in the playoffs, Thomas played a successful season of 32 games with a .925 save percentage. Beginning in 2002–03, Thomas played his initial two seasons with Boston's AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. He made his National Hockey League (NHL) debut with the Bruins during the 2002–03 season, appearing in four games total, with a .907 save percentage and a 3-1 record. Thomas recorded his first NHL win in his league debut with the Bruins on October 19, 2002, in a 31-save, 4–3 win against the Edmonton Oilers.

In 2004–05, Thomas joined Jokerit of the SM-Liiga, his fourth stint in Finland. He played in all games of the season except one, 54 games in total, and racked up a league-high .946 save percentage. He also surpassed the previous record of 13 shutouts in the league by achieving 15 shutouts during the regular season. Thomas continued to perform in the playoffs, where he played 12 games with a .938 save percentage. The team was unable to defeat Kärpät in the finals, however, and Thomas was awarded his second silver medal in the SM-liiga. He received the Lasse Oksanen trophy (as the league's best player) and the Kultainen kypärä award (as the league's best player award as voted by the players), becoming the first Jokerit player to win the award since Teemu Selänne.

In August 2005, Thomas signed on to play with Jokerit for the 2005–06 season, but his contract included an NHL option, and on September 14, one day before the regular season in the SM-liiga started, Thomas announced he had signed with the Boston Bruins, leaving Jokerit with rookie goaltender Joonas Hallikainen as their sole goaltender. Eventually Jokerit used three North American goaltenders (Karl Goehring, Steve Passmore and Tom Askey) that season but missed the playoffs. When he returned to North America, he was assigned to Providence of the AHL out of training camp. However, as Boston suffered injuries to their two goalies Andrew Raycroft and Hannu Toivonen, Thomas earned his first call-up to the NHL in 3 years and took over as the Bruins starting goalie, with a 12–13–7 record, 2.77 goals against average (GAA), .917 save percentage, and his first NHL shutout to complete the 2005–06 season. As a result, Thomas was awarded the Boston Bruins 7th Player Award, voted by the fans as having gone beyond expectations. In the off-season, Thomas was re-signed by the Bruins to a 3-year deal.

Although Boston's previous starter, Andrew Raycroft was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the off-season, Thomas began the 2006–07 season as the Bruins' backup, behind Hannu Toivonen instead. However, as Toivonen struggled, Thomas was again promoted as the Bruins' starting goaltender, posting a 30–29–4 record with a .904 save percentage. He won the 7th Player Award for the second consecutive season and became the first goalie in team history to win the award twice.

During the summer of 2007 Thomas began a yoga-based physical conditioning program to increase his flexibility and strength, a concept that would greatly increase his abilities during the 2007–08 NHL season and onwards.

Right
On July 1, 2007, the Bruins acquired goaltender Manny Fernandez from the Minnesota Wild, and later traded Thomas' previous backup, Toivonen, to the St. Louis Blues. Many hockey analysts presumed that Thomas would support Fernandez as a backup goaltender once again for the 2007–08 season. However, as Fernandez went down to injury early in the season, Thomas seized the opportunity and once again emerged as the Bruins' starting goalie. He was selected to his first NHL All-Star Game on January 22, 2008 as a replacement for Martin Brodeur and played in the third period of the game, stopping 14 of 18 shots. Thomas was attributed the win, as the Eastern Conference defeated the Western Conference 8-7.

Early in the 2008–09 season, Thomas became the first Bruins goalie to record back-to-back shutouts since Byron Dafoe in 1999, winning 1-0 games against the Edmonton Oilers on October 27, 2008 and the Vancouver Canucks on October 28. His overall shutout streak came to end the next game at 154:43 minutes in against the Calgary Flames on October 30. In late November, Thomas missed a few games due to an illness. He was chosen to play in his second All-Star Game in 2009, and was once again the winning goaltender for the Eastern Conference, beating the Western Conference 12–11 in a shootout (the first time the All-Star Game required the tie-breaker since 2005). A month later, on February 26, 2009, Thomas recorded his 100th NHL win, in a 6–0 shutout against Anaheim Ducks.

On April 2, 2009 Thomas agreed to a four-year extension with the Bruins, through to the 2012–13 season. The contract will see him make $6 million the first two seasons, then $5 million and $3 million the final two seasons for an average annual salary of $5 million. Two days later, on April 4, he posted his career-high fifth shutout of the season in a 1–0 win against the New York Rangers, clinching top spot in the Eastern Conference, Boston's first title since 2001–02. His strong play allowed the Bruins to sweep the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the Bruins bowed out to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games in Round 2.

On June 18, 2009, Thomas was awarded the Vezina Trophy at the NHL awards, beating out Minnesota Wild netminder Niklas Bäckström and the Blue Jackets' rookie goaltender Steve Mason. He led the NHL with his 2.10 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.

International play

During Thomas' college career, with the University of Vermontmarker, he was named to Team USA twice for the World Championships. Following his sophomore year, he was chosen for the 1995 World Championships, but did not appear in any games as the United States finished in sixth place. He was chosen for the tournament for the second consecutive year in 1996 and made his international debut, playing in 21 minutes for one game, allowing one goal. Thomas picked up his first medal as the United States won bronze.

Graduated from the college program, Thomas was named to Team USA for the 1998 World Championships after his rookie professional season and played his first full international game. However, the United States finished a disappointing twelfth. Thomas would not make another World Championships appearance until 2005, where was named to Team USA in another limited role, not appearing in any games behind starter Rick DiPietro as they failed to medal.

Established as an NHL starter following the 2007–08 NHL season, Thomas was named to his fifth World Championships in 2008. He appeared in three games before suffering a groin injury, splitting starts with Robert Esche and posted a 1.50 GAA with one shutout against Latvia in the preliminaries. Team USA finished in sixth.

Awards

College
  • Named to the ECAC First All-Star Team in 1995 and 1996.
  • Named to the NCAA East All-American Second Team in 1995.
  • Named to the NCAA East All-American First Team in 1996.


Source: Tim Thomas on HockeyGoalies.org

SM-Liiga

NHL

Hockey camps

  • Tim Thomas runs several ice hockey camps in the Northeast United States during the NHL off-season for both goaltenders and skaters.


Career statistics

Regular season

   
Season Team League GP W L T/OTL MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1992–93 Davison High School Big 9 27 18 5 4 1580 87 9 3.30 .926
1993–94 University of Vermontmarker NCAA 33 15 12 6
1994–95 University of Vermont NCAA 34 19 14 2
1995–96 University of Vermont NCAA 37 26 7 4 2254 88 3 2.34 .924
1996–97 University of Vermont NCAA 36 22 11 3 2158 101 2 2.81
1997–98 HIFK SM-l 18 13 4 1 1034 28 2 1.62
1997–98 Birmingham Bulls ECHL 6 4 1 1 360 13 1 2.17 .944
1997–98 Houston Aeros IHL 1 0 0 1 59 4 0 4.01 .852
1998–99 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 15 6 8 0 837 45 0 3.23
1998–99 HIFK SM-l 14 8 3 3 831 34 2 2.23
1999–00 Detroit Vipers IHL 36 10 21 3 2020 120 1 3.56 .892
2000–01 AIK SEL 43 17 16 10 2542 105 3 2,48 .918
2001–02 Kärpät SM-l 32 15 12 5 1937 79 4 2.45
2002–03 Providence Bruins AHL 35 18 12 5 2049 98 1 2.87 .906
2002–03 Boston Bruins NHL 4 3 1 0 220 11 0 3.00 .907
2003–04 Providence Bruins AHL 43 20 16 6 2544 78 9 1.84 .941
2004–05 Jokerit SM-l 54 34 7 13 3267 86 15 1.58 .946
2005–06 Providence Bruins AHL 26 15 11 0 1515 57 1 2.26 .923
2005–06 Boston Bruins NHL 38 12 13 10 2187 101 1 2.77 .917
2006–07 Boston Bruins NHL 66 30 29 4 3619 189 3 3.13 .905
2007–08 Boston Bruins NHL 57 28 19 6 3342 136 3 2.44 .921
2008–09 Boston Bruins NHL 54 36 11 7 3259 114 5 2.10 .933
NHL totals 219 109 73 27 12626 551 12 2.62 .918


Playoffs

   
Season Team League GP W L MIN GA SO GAA SV%
2001 AIK SEL 5 1 4 300 20 0 4.00 0.875
2008 Boston Bruins NHL 7 3 4 430 19 0 2.65 0.914
2009 Boston Bruins NHL 11 7 4 680 21 1 1.85 0.935
NHL totals 18 10 8 1110 40 1 2.25 0.925


References

  1. http://www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8460703&view=allstar
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. [3]
  5. Tim Thomas Hockey - Hockey Camps, Massachusetts Hockey Camp, Boston Bruins Ice Hockey Goalie, Vermont Summer Camp


External links



 | title = Winner of the Vezina Trophy | years = 2008–09 | after = Incumbent}}



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