At this point, it's not exactly a secret — Tim Thomas has decided to take the 2012-13 season off.
His reasoning? He's focusing on what he calls the "three Fs" — friends, family and faith.
Thomas was a stalwart for the Bruins in their Stanley Cup run two seasons ago but had to shoulder much of the load on his own last year as his eventual replacement, backup Tuukka Rask, was out with injury. As soon as the Washington Capitals eliminated the Bruins in this year's playoffs, speculation began over what would happen with Thomas' and Rask's contracts, and whether Thomas would be turned loose this season or next.
If followed through on, Thomas' decision to take the year off would obviously affect not only Thomas' long-term hockey outlook but also the Bruins' short-term plans.
But will Thomas really take a whole year off? Who's to say he doesn't get the itch to come back after a few weeks watching other netminders from his couch? He may just be really, really tired from winning the Stanley Cup and then jumping right back into the next season.
General manager Peter Chiarelli, head coach Claude Julien and the rest of the Bruins have to plan on Thomas being absent next season, but nobody can know for sure what will happen and how long Thomas may sit.
So, what do you think? Do you believe what Thomas is saying, or do you think he'll be back?