As if prompted by the insatiable appetite of the Boston media, there was news today about Tim Thomas's infamous decision to skip the Bruins White House visit from earlier in the month. We've written about it before and we'll write about it again.
Thus far, CBC's Elliotte Friedman owns the story, but eventually the Globe's and Herald's scribblers will get a whiff of the chum in the water and a new feeding frenzy will have begun. Mentioned briefly during this Hotstove segment on HNIC, Friedman reiterated the point here:
[Bruins GM Peter] Chiarelli met with Tim Thomas after the Conn Smythe winner's most recent political Facebook posting. He didn't say to stop, but did explain that you can't expect the media not to ask about it. Thomas is adamant he shouldn't have to discuss his personal beliefs, but it's not that simple.
What makes the story ample fodder for Boston's media circus is the looming deadline. There it is, a week away and the temptation of being the guy or gal who speculated that the Bruins would move their hardware laden goalie will generate a round of, would they or won't they stories.
The truth is they won't. Boston is actively shopping for a trade deadline pickup. But the silver they dangle in exchange will not be Thomas. For starters, he's owed $5 million next year, which is enough of a price tag to diminish another team from taking on the Bruins headache and making it their own. Secondly, he remains as solid a netminder as anyone has in the NHL. The Bruins are a win now team and Tuukka Rask, despite his talent, is not yet the guy you want to bet your win now team on.
Thomas continues to utilize his place on the NHL stage to advocate for his beliefs. He has that right. Undisputiably. But the consequence of speech is not being forcibly silenced. It can be as simple as losing a quality opportunity, such as a relationship, whether personal or professional. That Chiarelli is meeting with Thomas is an idicator that the club would like this distraction to go away. If it doesn't his commentary will lead the club to let him walk when he's a UFA after the 2012-13 season. Until then, though, for this season and for next, he's the Bruins primary netminder.