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Neely: Bruins likely to honor Thomas

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  October 17, 2013 04:42 PM

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The government shutdown ended Thursday just in time for Tim Thomas to return as goalie for the Florida Panthers against the Bruins at Florida.

As if he needed anything else to get riled up about.

The Panthers and Thomas play at TD Garden in three weeks and don't be surprised if the team he abandoned honors Thomas upon his return to Boston.

The issue of Thomas' eventual return to Boston came up Thursday during Cam Neely's weekly sponsored appearance on the "Felger and Mazz" show on 98.5 The Sports Hub. When asked by host Michael Felger if the Bruins had something in the works for Thomas when the Panthers come to town on Nov. 7, Neely said nothing is set, but indicated that Thomas would be honored in some way.

"We haven't really sat down and talked about that just yet [but] like we do with most players, we certainly recognize their time spent in Boston," Neely said.

Whether or not Thomas would accept the honor is a different story. How about Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren participating in a best-of-five shoot out with the winner getting control of Congress? The good news for Thomas, he won't have to sweat out a White House visit next year.

Thomas, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy during Boston's Stanley Cup run in 2011, left the Bruins following the team's first-round exit in the 2012 playoffs. He was traded to the Islanders but took off last season before signing with the Panthers.

"I haven't given it too much thought," Neely said of Thomas' return to the NHL. "I give him all the credit in the world ... He felt he needed time away to take care of the three "Fs" and he did that. He got the itch to get back playing again, I guess."

While Neely said he hadn't spoken to Thomas recently, he said the team has gotten past the fallout that resulted with Thomas left Boston abruptly after a first-round playoff loss to the Capitals and in the wake of his decision to boycott the team's visit to the White House.

"Everybody has moved on," Neely said. "Everything I've read from Tim he's moved on, and we've certainly moved on."

The Bruins' team president said outsiders would know how bad it had gotten with Thomas "if we were doing 'Behind The B' back then," before adding that "Tim didn't really change" during his time in Boston and "mentally, he was probably burnt out" during his last season in Boston."

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