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Mike Milbury on D&H: B’s should consider trading Tim Thomas

12.08.10 at 12:56 pm ET

NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins and the NHL. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Asked about the aborted Marco Sturm trade, Milbury speculated that the Kings must not have been aware of Sturm’s injury situation when they apparently agreed to the deal. “Why would you trade for a guy that’s still six weeks from being ready and pay him for that long a time when he’s making, what, $3 1/2 [million], $4 million, whatever he’s making?” Milbury said. “It didn’t make any sense to me at the time that they were picking him up them, unless the compensation was impacted by Los Angeles’ pickup of the money.

“I just think the ball got dropped on Sturm’s ability to come back and play, and that’s going to hold it up. I still think it’s a possibility, but all bets are off for now, anyway.”

Milbury noted that he has a positive opinion of Sturm. “I think he’s a solid player,” he said. “He’s sort of a ‘tweener, second and third line, for me. On a great team, he’s a wonderful third-line player. But he can certainly play up to the second line. I don’t think he’s a top-three forward on any really good team, but a very useful guy who can play in all sorts of situations. Nice to have his versatility. A little bit prone to injury, but it’s a tough sport.”

Touching on the Bruins’ goalie situation, Milbury continued to push for Tuukka Rask to get more of a chance, while acknowledging how well Tim Thomas has played. “[Thomas has] been spectacular,” Milbury said. “The numbers are what they are. The save percentage, astounding. The goals-against, astounding. The win-loss record, everything’s wonderful. He’s still, what is he, 37 [actually 36]? The future is now for Thomas, and I mean right now.

“I think Tuukka Rask is going to be a wonderful goaltender. I’m worried for the first time that he may be impacted psychologically over this thing, as down to earth as he is. There are a lot of people out there that wonder what they could get if they traded Tim Thomas. Now, wouldn’t that be gutsy? But it’s a thought. But it would be really hard to do right now.

“Tim Thomas is not going to be this good three years from now. That’s just the biological clock speaking. Yeah, he’s the No.1 guy now, you can’t deny it. It’s a wonderful story for Tim Thomas. And I think the Bruins count their blessings that they have a guy of the caliber of Tuukka Rask sitting on the bench. I worry for him that he gets discouraged at some point. That would really be a crime. Because 10 years from now, when he’s in his early 30s and his prime ‘€” he’s not even close to his prime right now, and he had a spectacular season last year.

“It is what it is, and I can understand it. But there’s a part of me that says, particularly in the salary cap world, can you afford to do that? Can you afford to have two primo assets in that position, and should they think about trading one? And the only one that they could possibly trade, for me, is Thomas. I know right now that’s sacrilegious speaking.”

Asked what the Bruins should look for in return for Thomas, Milbury said: “I would expect to get an offensive defenseman with some youth. And the number of teams that would be involved would be somewhat limited, because it’s got to be a team that’s ready to go for the whole enchilada right now. They’re not going to trade for Tim Thomas for four years from now, they’re going to trade for him for right now. Why wouldn’t you?”

Added Milbury: “I certainly wouldn’t trade Tim Thomas if I wasn’t getting a primo asset right now. His season merits the return of somebody that fits exactly what you need. And that’s about the only scenario under which I would trade him. But I’d certainly have to either pick up the phone and make a couple of calls just to satisfy my curiosity, and I’d certainly take any calls that came my way.”

Local product Bill Guerin announced his retirement from the NHL this week after scoring 429 goals in 18 seasons. “One of the great American-born players for sure,” Milbury said. “He’s big and strong and unafraid and had a nice touch, could make a play. There wasn’t much not to like about this guy.”

Added Milbury: “It was a brilliant career. There comes a time for all of us where it’s the end of the line, but, boy, it was a long line for Bill Guerin, and a great line, and a great career, something that he can really look back I think with some pride and satisfaction that he reached his potential and played with passion.”

Read More: Bill Guerin, Mike Milbury, Tim Thomas, Tuuka Rask
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