He's got the consistent message, and the record to back it up. Tim Thomas clearly needs some help to gain the public trust.
Why not stage a campaign?
"He should campaign," said Shawn Thornton. "I think a lot of it's name recognition anyway."
Admittedly, the Bruins are much more focused on the games at hand than landing their goalie a spot in this year's All-Star game. But man, what does Thomas have to do to earn some respect?
Of the ten keepers on the Eastern Conference ballot, released yesterday, Thomas was not included. Despite a league-best .944 save percentage, a 1.83 goals against average and two shutouts (both second in the NHL), Thomas was left off in favor of Martin Brodeur, who will miss the next four months thanks to elbow surgery, Rick DiPietro (knee surgery), Martin Biron (3-4-1, 3.79 GAA, .874 save percentage) and Kari Lehtonen, who allowed 7 goals in a game last week.
"I don't know whose stats are where, but as far as I'm concerned he should be on there," said Thornton. "He's been playing unbelievable."
"It's unfortunate for him, because every time he keeps battling," said coach Claude Julien. "But that's Timmy's story. He's a battler, he's in there every year, and does his job."
Of course, Thomas was a late addition to last year's roster, and eventually got the win in Atlanta. He'll use this snub as motivation -- a tactic he's utilized his whole career.
"I think I've been underestimated quite a few times, and it just feeds the fire to keep getting better," he said. "You don't want to totally look at it always as proving people wrong, but that's what it kind of boils down to."
* The Bruins' first month was a 24-day odyssey that saw them play 12 games, travel 9,731 miles (as the crow flies) and cross into a new time zone on ten occasions. With the annual early-season grind complete, and Saturday's win over Dallas, Julien said they earned a bit of a respite over the last four days. "First and foremost, we needed to give the guys a little bit of breathing room," he said. "We've been on the road since basically the third day of training camp . . . we needed to let the guys breathe a little bit and catch up."
* The team will travel outside the Eastern Time Zone just four times (road games against Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville and Columbus) the rest of the way. In November, the Bruins will play three sets of back-to-back games, an area which Julien said has handled well so far, with a shootout loss against Buffalo and 1-0 win in Vancouver the sample size. Last season, the B's were 5-8-5 in when playing the second of a pair.
"I think we've gotten through the toughest part of (the season), and now it's just a matter of working with the schedule, and being able to stretch our bench out and deal with those consecutive games."
* Toronto, last seen Oct. 23 in a game Julien said was his club's worst of the season. has been clicking offensively (18 goals in the last four games), but not so much on defense (18 goals against). Still, they're a point behind the Bruins in the Northeast, and right there with the hardworkin' B's in the effort department. "They don't quit," said Julien. "It hasn't taken long for teams to take notice and see that these guys are for real."
* Julien said he would re-assess Chuck Kobasew's status tomorrow. Kobasew, out the last 10 games after taking a Shane Hnidy slapper off the leg Oct. 9, appeared fine in practice, moving fluidly and displaying some slick moves in shootout drills. "Our team's going well," said Julien. "If he comes in, he's got to be 100 percent and really feel good about everything about his game. He's got to be a difference-maker."
* Julien said Mark Stuart (flu) and Shane Hnidy (undisclosed) are day-to-day.