For a guy who wasn't even a No. 1 goaltender in October, Tim Thomas
has already had a tremendous season.
It's not that the Boston Bruins
didn't know what he was capable of -- Thomas was, after all, the Vezina Trophy winner in 2008-09. But after battling inconsistency and a hip problem in 2009-10, he began this season on the bench as last season's rookie sensation, Tuukka Rask
, started the season-opener in Prague.
That didn't last long. Rask lost the opener, Thomas pitched a shutout in Game 2, regained the starting job and has been the NHL's best goaltender all season. He reached the All-Star break on top in goals-against average and save percentage, and tied for the top spot in shutouts. Not coincidentally, the Bruins are on top in the Northeast Division again after struggling to make the playoffs last season.
Thomas may not be the niftiest skater among goalies -- his tumble during his race against Cam Ward
during Saturday's Honda SuperSkills competition will live for years -- but when it comes to stopping the puck, he's been the best in the NHL this season.