by Brian Beitz
Last year, Tim Thomas was the picture of consistency and confidence in net. Last year’s Vezina winner finished the season with a remarkable 2.00 GAA and a .938 SV%, and then went on to win three game 7’s in the postseason en route to winning a… Stanley Cup. Oh, did I mention he completed the playoffs with a 1.98 GAA and a .940 SV%? Lord knows we at Smug nation aren’t in the business of praising Bruins but… wow.
What we are in the business of, here at the Smuggest Canucks blog, is highlighting when Bruins falter, and this year, Thomas has faltered. While it’s hard to call a 2.48 GAA and .921 SV% faltering, we have little trouble with it when you look at his inconsistency this season. While Thomas has looked nearly untouchable on occasion, Thomas posted a mediocre 2.74/.913 in February and a stunningly bad 2.93/.884 in March. Thomas has spent some months basked in glory, and some months outside the proverbial White House looking in.
But as much as he has stumbled this season, I’ve been enjoying his… stumbling even more. Because Tim Thomas has been falling over a lot.
Last week, in a game against the Washington Capitals, the teams entered the shootout tied at two. The Caps then proceeded to beat Thomas on 3 of their 4 shooters, with the best collection of shootout moves I’ve ever seen by a team in one game. Watch the video here (I hope you like Russian!):
Now many will focus on or around the 0:33 mark, where Hendricks fakes a shot and Tim Thomas falls over like he was just psyched out in a game of Baseketball, leaving him completely out of position and Hendricks with a wide-open net. And I wouldn’t blame them. Thomas was clearly expecting deke here, and is thrown way off balance by the fake. When he gets up, he whacks the puck away in disgust. Why? Because he very understandably believes this will be the most he could embarrass himself in a game. He is wrong.
He is wrong because at 3:28, after a disgusting, Burrows-like backhand shelf shootout goal by Brooks Laich, Thomas skates angrily off the ice. When he gets there, he faceplants when he hits the hallway. Is it petty to laugh at his misfortune? I sure hope so! Did someone forget to pump your tires before the game, Thomas? What makes the moment even more enjoyable is that it almost looks as though prankster and Smug Nation nemesis Marty Turco appears to knock him over with his “that could happen to anyone” back pat and follows it with a look that says, “Huh?” This is even more apparent in the gif below:
In a year in which Tim Thomas has declined an invitation to the White House, yelled at the media for being silly enough to ask him about it, posted a Facebook message decrying the use of birth control in Christian hospitals, and yelled at the media for being silly enough to ask him about it—I understand it’s your personal life, Timmy, but see that list on the side of your Facebook page? Those are people—it’s remarkable that Thomas has managed to provide us with highlights that we find eclipse all others this year. Kudos, sir!
Speaking of the White House incident, it was right around this time that Thomas’s game began to slide, and I wonder if this is somewhat responsible. Perhaps the media attention and criticism got to him a little, or perhaps there really is something to the rumours that he caused a small rift in the dressing room. Perhaps he’s gone so far to the right he can’t even use his left foot any more. Who knows? Quite frankly, I don’t care. But as long as he wants to keep providing Smug Nation with beautiful bloopers like these, I’ll keep watching the stuff all day: