SUNRISE, Fla. — Tim Thomas  finally spoke to the Boston media Thursday night, as he fielded questions about his time with and exit from the B’s after allowing three goals in a 3-2 Boston win at BB&T Center.
The biggest takeaway from Thomas was that he felt the Bruins forced his hand regarding his year-long disappearance from hockey last season. Thomas’ side of the story Thursday was that he told the Bruins he was just considering sitting out the season — saying that he felt he wouldn’t have to decide about his future until after the lockout — but that the Bruins leaked it, forcing him to commit to not playing last season.
“I told the Bruins, gave them a heads-up that I’m considering it, and it was supposed to be kept on the down-low, and it became public,” he said. “I didn’t want anything to become public. I was pretty sure there was a lockout coming up and I didn’t have to make a decision for quite a long period of time. I was kind of forced into a corner.”
Here is everything that Thomas had to say about his time in Boston:
On his lasting perception of his experience with the Bruins:
“There’s no one thing. It’s the whole thing together. It was an awesome time there. I don’t know what else to say. It’s a new chapter in my life, it’s a new chapter for them. I’m not giving a good answer because I can’t.”
On if he regrets how things ended:
“No. I made a decision based on what was best for me and my family. I felt that the team was in capable hands. I knew where Tuukka was at in his development, and I was obviously proven right. So I went and did something that was incredible for my life and for my family’s life, and I don’t regret it. That’s the most important thing.”
On when he decided to take a year off:
“I had obviously thought about it during the season, but I didn’t know for sure any time. I even trained all the way through the beginning of the season last year just in case it gets to the week before the season and all of a sudden the itch comes back.
“Actually, I told the Bruins, gave them a heads up that I’m considering it, and it was supposed to be kept on the down-low, and it became public. I didn’t want anything to become public. I was pretty sure there was a lockout coming up and I didn’t have to make a decision for quite a long period of time. I was kind of forced into a corner.”
On his exhaustion after his final season with the Bruins:
“Yes, I was. It was like a two-year long season there with winning the Cup and everything. That definitely played a role in it also.”
On if the White House fiasco contributed to his exhaustion:
“Yeah, a little bit, you know? But now I’m tougher and stronger and I could really care less about what other people say about that. Again, I’ll stand by my decision. I feel I did the right thing.”
On if he regrets anything in the last couple of years:
“Well, there’s a lot of choices we make in our life over a two-year period. I honestly can’t say I couldn’t find something that I regretted, but the two major decisions about not going to the White House and about taking the year off, I don’t regret those.”
On how badly he wanted to beat the Bruins:
“You know what? I probably should have wanted to win worse, because I didn’t go into it with that kind of vengeful attitude, ‘Oh I want to beat my old team.’ I went into it approaching it like any other game. There wasn’t that factor.”
On if he was planning to come back all along:
“Again, it wasn’t as clear-cut of a plan as you guys think, so no. I didn’t know for sure, but over the past year — I didn’t watch any hockey at all until the playoffs, and when I started to watch the playoffs last year, that’s when the itch started to come back. It was kind of fun to watch the Bruins from the outside in that kind of environment when you’re around the team. It’s different. Obviously that’s good, too, but it was pretty neat to watch that run last year. That gave me the come-back-and-compete itch.”