WASHINGTON - Bruins legend Tim Thomas, the 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy winner and Stanley Cup champion, was on hand to drop the ceremonial first puck before Wednesday night's game between the Bruins and Capitals at Capital One Arena.
Thomas was with his fellow 2019 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame honorees - former B's forward Brian Gionta, Olympian Krissy Wendell, and Fort Dupont Ice Arena Founder Neal Henderson - who will be inducted on Thursday night in Washington. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will also be inducted, though he was not in attendance on Wednesday.
Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand all greeted Thomas following the puck drop and the group caught up again postgame in the stands of Capital One Arena.
"It was great to see him," said Bergeron. "He looked great too…congratulated him on a well-deserved honor. The impact that he's had for us with the Bruins, but also in that Cup run is something that is going to be remembered for a long, long time."
For the remaining members of the 2011 Cup team - Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask, and several staff members - it was a treat to catch up with their former teammate, who they had not seen in quite some time.
"Great to see him. It's been a while, a lot of good memories with everyone from that group," said Marchand. "Especially for him to be honored being in the Hall of Fame. It was great to see. He definitely deserves it. A lot of fun. I didn't know we were gonna see him tonight, the same with Gio. Great to see both of them."
Thomas, who played in Boston from 2002-12, put forth an all-time performance during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, posting a 16-9 record with a .940 save percentage and 1.98 goals against average. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner remains in the top five in Bruins history in every major statistical goaltending category: wins (196, fifth); shutouts (31, fourth); save percentage (.921, second); and goals against average (2.48, fifth).
"He competed so hard all the time," said Marchand. "Even in practice if you scored on him, he'd be yelling at ya. I think the first time I scored on him in practice, he started screaming at me. I just shot it at his chest the rest of the year. He's just a competitive guy and such a good player."