This morning, Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas
participated in a live call with 14 Navy Sailors aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, which is currently operating in the Southwest Asia theater.
Thomas, who backstopped the Bruins to a dramatic 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, began the Black & Gold's off day in Atlanta with a phone call to hockey fans serving in the United States Navy aboard the aircraft carrier and the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 9.
"Some of them were from New England and at least a couple of them were from Michigan," said Thomas of the B's fans from his adopted home and his childhood home. "Some of the questions were about my Career and why was I playing in Finland [during the NHL lockout], and stuff to that effect.
"Other questions were about the NHL right now: who do I consider to be the best team? Who do I consider to be the best player?
"Tough questions to answer, because everybody's [skill level] is so close."
But no matter what the questions were, Thomas was thrilled to be able to speak to the sailors and to converse with the men and women charged with the nation's protection.
"It was a great opportunity to talk with these guys today," he said. "I got cut off at the end there, because the phone went dead, but what I was going to tell them [when] they were thanking me for being on the phone call was, 'Thank you -- what you do is the real work. That's of real importance.
"What I do, is I play a game," continued Thomas. "What they do -- the future of a nation rests on their shoulders.
"What I do impacts a few people's mood.
"So what they do is the real important thing," he said.
And Thomas admitted to a personal connection with sailors aboard the Abraham Lincoln.
"My grandfather was in the US Navy in World War II and I've always looked up to him and respected him," said Thomas. "And I've heard a lot of the stories about being on the ship and what that's like.
"So I can kind of relate to those guys, a little."
But Thomas obviously admires these men and women a lot.
"I was actually a little bit nervous going to talk to them," he said. "I wanted to say something that they'd remember and I wanted to somehow lift their mood and keep their morale up if there was any way I could do that.
"I don't know if I accomplished that, but regardless...I enjoyed talking to them."You can read more about the call, here.