BOSTON -- At 38 years old, Tim Thomas easily could have been the player most affected by the Boston Bruins' arduous schedule filled with nearly 200 games over the course of the last 20 months.
Two days after losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to Washington, though, Thomas sounded as though he was ready to keep playing if only his team hadn't come up short.
"I feel good," Thomas said as he and his teammates participated in clear-out day at TD Garden. "I'm one of the lucky ones here that is leaving with no injuries and in good health. Mentally, the last 20 months has been a long run, but all things considered I think I held up pretty well."
Coming off a season where he won the Stanley Cup, the Vezina Trophy and the Conn Smythe Trophy, not to mention set a single-season record for save percentage, Thomas was solid in 2011-12 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .920 save percentage. Although the plan was for him to play a little less, he actually appeared in 59 regular-season games -- two more than in 2010-11 -- partly because of an injury to Boston's other goaltender, Tuukka Rask.
"On and off the ice, I tried to do what I felt was right. And I tried to prepare myself as much as possible to do the best job I could possibly do, on the ice, which is when it's obviously the most important as a professional athlete."
-- Tim Thomas
Thomas' season also featured some non-hockey issues, as he began taking to Facebook to express some of his political views and skipped the Cup champions' visit to the White House in January, a story that became national news and went beyond the sports pages.
Looking back, Thomas said he had no regrets about the season.
"Not really. I did the best I could," he said. "On and off the ice, I tried to do what I felt was right. And I tried to prepare myself as much as possible to do the best job I could possibly do, on the ice, which is when it's obviously the most important as a professional athlete."
Thomas and Rask have completed three seasons as the Bruins' goaltending tandem. In 2009-10, Rask was the No. 1 as Thomas, hobbled by a hip injury, struggled to be effective. Last season and this, Thomas took the reins. Their relationship thus far has been more supportive than combative.
With Thomas entering the last year of his contract and Rask in need of a new deal -- he'll be a restricted free agent if not signed by July 1 -- general manager Peter Chiarelli is going to have to make some decisions. He said the plan is to keep the duo together as is.
"I know I've seen speculation about moving a goalie and all that stuff, but certainly I'm not inclined to do that," Chiarelli said. "Tim didn't have statistically the year he had before, but I thought he had a very good year. We have, if not the best, one of the top three goalie tandems in the League."
Thomas has no-trade clause that reportedly expires July 1. But if Chiarelli stays true to his words, the clause won't become an issue. As for where he wants to play in 2012-13, Thomas didn't sound like someone ready to move.
"I'm happy. I'm on a great team with a great coaching staff. ... I know it's a year later, but we just won that Cup together, and that is very special," he said.