During the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, Tim Thomas put on one of the best goaltending performances in recent memory. The Conn Smythe Trophy sitting on his mantel is proof of that.
But with Thomas returning to Boston for the first time in a different colored uniform on Thursday, Claude Julien wanted to make one thing clear: Tim Thomas was not the lone reason for the end of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup drought.
“Well they’re right,” the head coach told reporters (via CBS Boston) when asked about Thomas’ importance to the Cup win. “But Tim Thomas doesn’t win the Stanley Cup if our team doesn’t play as well as they did in front of him. So this is an honest statement: Tim played well but I think our team played just as well in front of him. You don’t win a Stanley Cup with just a goaltender.”
That statement is almost impossible to dispute. Since 1988, only two goalies (Thomas in 2011 and Martin Brodeur with the Devils in ’03) have won the Vezina Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same season.
“He won the Conn Smythe because he was very good but at the same time, I would like to hope the statistic of your goaltenders can also reflect the team in front of you,” Julien continued. “We did a pretty good job in front of him for years minimizing the goal scoring chances and the quality of it. So let’s make sure we don’t take away credit from the rest of the team, too. He was a big part of it and so were a lot of other guys, but at the same time, I think we won the Stanley Cup because we were a good team. That’s what I like to think anyways.”
Thomas may be back in the building on Thursday night, but he will not be between the pipes come game time. The 39-year-old remains on injured reserve as he recovers from a leg injury suffered back on Oct. 22.
Boston College alum Scott Clemmensen is expected to get the nod in net for the Panthers.
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