On Friday, Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed during a conference call with the media that starting goalie Tim Thomas was considering taking a year-long sabbatical from the game. Sunday afternoon Thomas took to his Facebook page to confirm the news, stating that it was time to dedicate his attention to areas of his life that have taken a back seat as a result of his hockey career.
"From the earliest age I can remember, I've wanted to be a hockey player," Thomas wrote. "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."
In 2011, Thomas reached the sport's pinnacle by leading Boston to its first Stanley Cup championship since 1972 and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason MVP in the process. This past season, Thomas turned in another impressive campaign. The netminder was fifth in the League in wins with a 35-19-1 record in just 59 appearances, while recording a .920 save percentage, a 2.36 goals-against average and five shutouts.
Thomas also earned the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender in 2011, the second time he has taken home the award, and has been an All-Star Game participant in four of the last five seasons. In his historic 2010-11 campaign he became the first player since Bernie Parent in 1975 to win the Stanley Cup, Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy in the same season.
This is not the first time Thomas has announced a surprising decision on his Facebook page. Earlier this season, Thomas decided not to attend the Bruins' visit to the White House in honor of their Stanley Cup championship.
With Thomas out of the mix in the Bruins' net, the starting job will likely fall to backup Tukka Rask, who has been strong in recent seasons in relief of Thomas. In his NHL career, the 25-year-old Rask is 47-35-11 with a .926 save percentage and a 2.20 GAA. In 2009-10 Rask was very impressive in a career-high 45 appearances, going 22-12-5 with a .931 save perecentage and a 1.97 GAA.
While the question will almost certainly be asked given his age, Thomas did not indicate whether the break is simply a one-season hiatus or a prelude to retirement.