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TIM THOMAS TALKS: Grateful for Boston Reception, Ready for Return to Florida Panthers


(Tim Thomas of the Florida Panthers works out at Thursday's morning skate at the Boston Garden. It was Thomas' first workout on Boston ice since the 2012 postseason. Photo/George Richards)

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

BOSTON -- The highlight of Thursday night's 4-1 loss to the host Bruins for Florida had nothing to do with the game on the ice.

It was seeing the Bruins celebrate Panthers' goalie Tim Thomas on the HD boards at center ice.

Thomas, 39, watched most of the game from downstairs and word was the Bruins were going to forget about the video tribute if they couldn't see Thomas' reaction.

In the third period, Thomas crept into the top-level press deck and kept a low profile.

The Bruins' television cameras caught him as he smiled while watching the highlight tape. As the crowd at the Garden took to their feet in applause, Thomas stood up and waved.

Thomas was extremely happy to be remembered this way after leading the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in almost 40 years in 2011. Some predicited there would be mixed reaction for the way Thomas left the Bruins in 2012.

There wasn't. Thomas received a rousing standing ovation.

"It was great to be back at the Garden, great to be back in Boston,'' Thomas told the Miami Herald as he headed to the elevator late in the game. Thomas seemingly declined all other official interview requests both before, during and after the game.

"I was hoping for that kind of reaction from the fans. I loved playing here. I loved Boston. It was nice to see that response.''

Thomas is expected to return Saturday at Ottawa with GM Dale Tallon saying he would likely make a decision on which goalie -- Scott Clemmensen or Jacob Markstrom -- returns to San Antonio on Saturday night after the Senators game.

On Thursday night, Thomas said his goal was to play in that night's game but his lower body injury kept him from doing so.

"I was aiming for this game, wanted to play,'' said Thomas, who has been skating since last week.

"The reason we're being so cautious is so when I come back, I'm back for good. I want to help this team out."

Thomas was one of three Florida goalies on the ice for Thursday's morning skate. There was only one a large throng of media gave a flip about.

Members of the local media took up residence on the empty Bruins bench snapping pictures of Thomas working on the Garden ice for the first time since April 25, 2012 -- a Game 7 loss to Washington in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Panthers, and perhaps Thomas, have two more trips scheduled to Boston on Jan. 28 and March 4.

"I don't want Tim for one game, I want him for a major bulkload,'' coach Kevin Dineen said postgame.

"That's what he was brought here for. When he gets in the mix I want him for the long run. I want him to be in that locker room, want him in that mix.''



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Yeah changing the coach really is the answer. I swear you people have no clue. This is the worst organization in ALL OF SPORTS. No stability, no talent, no goaltending, I hate this Fuccking team. Great teams have stability, so now lets bring in the 13th head coach in 20 years. Real smart. Dineen isn't the problem, he brought this team to their first playoff in more than a decade, now you want him gone????? It's on Tallon, he's drafted like shyt, brought in a bunch of bums with that 30 million to spend, now lets find someone else to blame. You people are so blind and it starts with George Richards. I've been saying this for years, this organization is headed towards another rebuild.

Gudbranson hasn't panned out, Huby and Barkov are inconsistent, and for the 1st time in 20 years they don't have a goalie. I'd rate Jacques Martin higher than Tallon. At least his teams were competitive and could score goals. There is no excuse this year, can't use the injury bug as one. Tallon is an idiot, he's made no effort to make this team any better. Building through the draft doesn't work unless you get a guy like Kane, Crosby, Ovechkin. You can't build teams with bums like Gudbranson, Bjugstad and Howden. Howden isn't even on the radar anymore, this "BLUEPRINT" is a complete failure.

George, I told you this would happen, but I'm labeled as Mr. Negative. Sorry but most people hate the guy who's right, especially when it's negative.

Fans, continue to buy season tickets, the organization will continue to lie to you. It's sad, they haven't had a superstar since Pavel Bure, that was 13 FUCCKING YEARS AGO. They are content with losing, feel free to keep giving them your money, they don't care about the product they put on the ice, all they care about is advertising and promotions.

When Whinchester is your best player, you know something isn't right. Barkov has gone to sleep btw, I bet he's already turned off playing in the states on one of the worst teams in NHL history.

Once again the Florida Panthers bring young guys into a bad situation. If you think this won't hurt their potential you are dead wrong. Playing in a losing environment is the worst thing until they walk during FA or get traded. Just look at Nathan Horton. Goes from a guy who coasts and is turned off in Florida to the Boston Bruins leading them in the playoffs to a cup and leading the team last year in points during the post season. Hate to say it but no one wants to play here, they will never build a consistent playoff team here. They can't hold onto their own, they can't bring in top FA, they don't have any will to win. It's a complete mess.

I agree that it is not coaching, I don't think it is Tallon either, his hands have been tied with a budget not only with payroll for players but with the scouting and development people.

From what I am hearing there is a different attitude in the organization and money is being spent on hockey.

When Tallon first came the concern was that when this team was ready to make the move up the money would be gone.

I disagree with the comments on Gudbranson as he has been the only d-man willing to hit

While Barkov will be a very good player, Seth Jones is going to be a superstar and a stud d-man who already is head and shoulders above any d-men the panthers have.

I can't help but think if he new owners were in place before the draft and free agency this team would have 10-14 different players on the team.

Tallon needs to send the young players to the AHL can their confidence and learn to win.

This season is a lost season, give the new ownership a chance to show that they are willing to build up the organization (there are a lot of upgrades being planned behind the scenes to make this a first class organization.)

Keep Dineen and Tallon and see what they can do without their hands tied and with NHL players

I agree with season ticket holder... I don't believe it's Dineen's fault (i actually love his aggressive coaching style) and it's not Tallon's fault (he has drafted better players than Martin, Dudley and Keenan...oh you forgot about those bums already!?) the problem is when Tallon had cash to spend the free agency market was so weak...he over spent on guys like Upshall and Jovo. It's also been the fact that their getting over-anxious with Markstrom (he needs to be sent down to figure out his game.) I believe with the new ownership and deep pockets, expect Tallon to cut loose the deadweight (Jovo? Upshall?) and really go after high caliber players while letting the younger guys figure out their game in San Antonio. I also expect him to trade Kulikov soon or around the deadline.

Tallon has done a good job. It takes time to do a rebuild. You draft and have to wait until they develop. Tallon brought in some good players as a stop gap measure which is why the year before last they made the playoffs and went to double OT of game seven. It was no accident, good GM and good coach. As hard as it is to have patience, one must while the prospects develop. Gudbranson has improved and will be a top D in this league. Barkov just turned 18 and is playing in the best league in the world. Huberdeau is 20 and won rookie of year. There are some great prospects in San Antonio, Vincent Trocheck, Drew Shore, Quinton Howden, Alex Petrovic and Michael Houser to name a few. The drafting has been very good. A rebuild takes time. Could they be in the Panthers line-up now, sure but Tallon wants them playing big minutes in AHL so when they do play for Panthers they are ready. In reality Markstrom should be in AHL too. A rebuild takes time. As hard as the Panthers are to watch now, it is part of the rebuild, it just doesn't happen overnight. Tallon has put in place a good group of talent, now we have to wait for them to develop.

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