BOSTON -- Tim Thomas, who has emerged as one of the NHL's top goaltenders despite an unorthodox style in hockey and in life, has told the Boston Bruins that he is thinking about sitting out next season -- apparently for family reasons, General Manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday.
"The reason why, I'm not exactly sure. But he did give some reasons regarding family," Chiarelli told reporters in a conference call originally scheduled to discuss the contract extension of forward Daniel Paille. "As of right now, I'm operating under the premise that he will take a year off."
A late bloomer who played in Finland before finally breaking into an NHL lineup at the age of 32, Thomas emerged as one of the league's top goalies when he won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top netminder in 2009. He won it again along with the playoff MVP in 2011 while leading Boston to the Stanley Cup championship.
But he is also an iconoclast who was known to wander far from the crease in games and occasionally leave his comfort zone off the ice as well. When the Bruins met President Barack Obama to celebrate their NHL title, Thomas skipped the White House visit and issued a political diatribe on his Facebook page as explanation.
Chiarelli said Thomas appeared tired after the championship season, when he played in 82 games, including every minute of the longest postseason in Bruins history. He got very little time off down the stretch this year after backup Tuukka Rask was injured at the beginning of March.
"After we won the Cup, he was tired," Chiarelli said. "With all the stuff that's been going on the last two years, with the winning and the appearances, I think he's worn down."
Thomas, 38, could not immediately be reached for comment. Chiarelli said it was likely Thomas would post something on his Facebook page.
Thomas has a 196-121-45 record in a little more than seven NHL seasons, with a 2.48 goals-against average and 31 shutouts. He is 29-21 in the playoffs, with a 2.07 goals-against average and six shutouts -- four of them in the Stanley Cup season.
"I'm disappointed, but these things happen. You've got to deal with them," Chiarelli said. "That was a strength of our team."
Without Thomas, the Bruins would be left with Rask and Anton Khudobin as their top two goaltenders for next season.