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Tuukka Rask talks contract status, Tim Thomas 08.02.12 at 4:59 pm ET
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Following are highlights from Tuukka Rask’s session with the media Thursday at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Rask, who took a one-year deal this offseason and will take over as the team’s starting goalie, said he felt “fairly healthy” as the offseason began coming off a hip/abdomen injury and is feeling good now.

On signing a one-year deal [Note: He will be a restricted free agent again next offseason]

“A lot of people I guess were a little surprised by the contract and stuff, but I can’t tell the team that I want a long contract because I’m at an age where I would have had to go to arbitration and stuff like that, so we just figured it’s best for both of us. If I have a good year then maybe I’ll sign a longer deal and if I suck, then kick me out.

On if there was any hesitance to take a one-year deal in case he has a bad season or gets injured:

“You can’t really think of it that way, because you’re kind of digging yourself a hole there, but sometimes you’ve got to think what’s best for the team and what’s best for yourself. I think this is a really good scenario for all of us.”

On if he’ll suck next year:

“I mean, I’m pretty confident. I’ve never really sucked, so hopefully I don’t suck this year either. You go out there and you do your best. Practice hard and work hard and just play on your level. I know my level is not too low in general, so I’ve just got to work hard to maintain that level.”

On if he feels he has something to prove:

“Yes and no. You always think it would be nice to play 82 games and have an awesome year. In that way you want to prove yourself, how good you can be on a daily basis, but I’ve proven myself, that I can play in this league.”

On if he was surprised by Tim Thomas‘ decision to take next year off:

“Well I was and I wasn’t. I wasn’t expecting him to do that obviously, but I really appreciate what he’s done and I appreciate his decision to be with his family and take some time off from hockey. It really didn’t shock me that much, but I’m more upset to see him leave because we had a really good connection and friendship going on. I’m sure he’s happy now where he is.”

On if he saw it coming:

“I mean, everybody knew he was a little tired because he played so much the last two years, but it didn’t seem like he was exhausted mentally.”

On if he’s viewing the situation as though Thomas won’t come back to the Bruins:

“Well, I mean, of course. That’s what everybody wants, but if he takes a step back and thinks about his situation and if he comes back, he comes back. I’ll just try to do my job as good as I can.”

On if he’ll miss Thomas as a teammate:

“He was a great guy. We had a great relationship and he was a good guy. It’s going to be a little weird to not see him sitting next to me anymore, but I have to get used to it.”

On what Thomas’ legacy in Boston should be:

“I don’t know. I can’t answer that. To me, I look at it a little differently because he’s a friend of mine, so I don’t really care what he says on the Facebook or whatever because I don’t read that stuff. He’s been good to me, and we’ve been good friends and usually don’t talk about that stuff, what he posts. All I know is he’s been a good teammate to me and a good friend.”

On being the Bruins’ starting goalie:

“All my life, pretty much, it’s been a goal. I played some games my first year here consistently, but the year after was a step back playing-time wise. [I’ve been] waiting for a few years now, so it’s going to be interesting to see how I handle it. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m always up for a challenge.”

On being in a more traditional situation with a starter and a backup:

“I played a lot down in Providence and back in Finland even, so that’s not going to be anything new. I don’t want to put too much worry on that because you know how coach is with playing time. I’m sure I’m going to get as much a chance as possible, but if I can’t get the job done, there’s going to be more guys coming in.”

Read More: Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask,
Tuukka Rask supportive of, but not surprised by Tim Thomas at 4:42 pm ET
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Speaking publicly for the first time this summer, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask said at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute that he wasn’t overly surprised when he heard this summer that fellow goalie Tim Thomas was taking a year off from hockey.

“Well I was and I wasn’t,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting him to do that obviously, but I really appreciate what he’s done and I appreciate his decision to be with his family and take some time off from hockey. It really didn’t shock me that much, but I’m more upset to see him leave because we had a really good connection and friendship going on. I’m sure he’s happy now where he is.”

Added Rask: “I mean, everybody knew he was a little tired because he played so much the last two years, but it didn’t seem like he was exhausted mentally.”

Thomas, who was a two-time Vezina winner and a the Conn Smythe winner in the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley-Cup winning season, became somewhat of a controversial figure for being more outspoken politically over the last calendar year. Most recently, Thomas sided with Chick fil-A in its stand against gay marriage. Asked what he though Thomas’ legacy in Boston should be given the on-ice success and off-ice controversy, Rask said he couldn’t answer because he was biased towards his former teammate.

“To me, I look at it a little differently because he’s a friend of mine, so I don’t really care what he says on the Facebook or whatever because I don’t read that stuff,” Rask said. “He’s been good to me, and we’ve been good friends and usually don’t talk about that stuff, what he posts. All I know is he’s been a good teammate to me and a good friend.”

Read More: Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask,
Current Bruin on Tim Thomas/Chick-fil-A situation: ‘He’s not my teammate’ 07.26.12 at 6:16 pm ET
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Tim Thomas‘ Facebook posts — and his unwillingness to elaborate on them with the media — left a lot of teammates busy answering questions about his political views last season.

The common answer was that Thomas was a good teammate, and that his politics didn’t mess with team chemistry. With Thomas taking next season off, the Bruins will get the year off from having to answer for him.

Thomas, who said — via Facebook of course — that he will spend next season focusing on “friends, family and faith,” took to Facebook again Thursday by supporting Chick-fil-A, which is owned by the Cathy family. The Cathys have been outspoken in opposing gay marriage.

That flies right in the face of the “You Can Play” project, which encourages a safe environment for a homosexual NHL player to come out to the league. This is perhaps he most controversial of the stances Thomas has taken, and the Bruins no longer have to explain why it isn’t a bad thing.

“He isn’t playing next year,” one current Bruin told WEEI.com Thursday, “which means he’s not my teammate, which means I don’t have to react to his Facebook posts.”

Read More: Chick-fil-A, Tim Thomas,
Tim Thomas: ‘I stand with Chick-fil-A’ at 5:33 pm ET
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Tim Thomas loves him some Facebook, and the owners of Chick-Fil-A love them some homophobia. Thomas, the master of using social network to ruffle feathers, weighed in on the Cathy family, which owns Chick-fil-A and opposes gay marriage, Thursday.

Wrote Thomas:

I stand with Chick-fil-A.

Chick-fil-A is privately owned by the Cathy family. The company president, Dan Cathy, drew the wrath of gay rights advocates and supporters when he made recent statements that some have alleged are anti-gay.

Cathy told Baptist Press that the company was unapologetically in favor of traditional marriage.

‘€œGuilty as charged,’€ he said. ‘€œWe are very much supportive of the family ‘€“ the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.’€

In a separate interview on the Ken Coleman Show ‘€” Cathy suggested that the nation could face God’€™s wrath over the redefinition of marriage.

‘€œI think we are inviting God’€™s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘€˜We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’€™’€ Cathy said. ‘€œI pray God’€™s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about.’€

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Claude Julien addresses the Tim Thomas situation 07.24.12 at 3:08 pm ET
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In an offseason that’s seen minimal roster turnover, the Bruins’ biggest change of the summer was the subtraction of Tim Thomas, who will sit out the next season to focus on fiends, family and faith.

Speaking at the press conference to announce his contract extension, Claude Julien talked about what the Bruins will be like without the two-time Vezina-winner and said he thinks the Bruins can handle it.

“We lost a guy by the name of Marc Savard who led our team in scoring every year and we were able to adapt,” Julien said. “I see that as a same kind of a challenge. There’€™s no doubt, nobody’€™s going to deny what Tim’€™s done here for our hockey club over the years but we’€™ve mentioned that Tuukka [Rask] is a very capable goaltender. He’€™s got his opportunity to showcase that this year and I think when I saw [Anton] Khudobin play, whether it was training camp or whether it was when he was with us that game in Ottawa, practice, you can see a goaltender who has not only improved but has matured.

“I honestly have a lot of confidence in our goaltending and, obviously, we drafted, we’€™ve signed a few goaltenders as well. I think our depth is there. I don’€™t really see that as an issue. And that’€™s because I have the confidence in what I have in front of me right now.”

The most games Rask, who will become the No. 1 goaltender, has started in his career is 39 back in 2009-10. It will be interesting to see how he handles being a true No. 1 with a traditional backup in Khudobin after years of splitting time with Thomas. Rask’s certainly got a lot to play for, as he’s on a one-year deal that can land him a huge payday should he pick up where Thomas left off.

Read More: Anton Khudobin, Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask,
Peter Chiarelli conference call: Bruins not expecting return of Tim Thomas, Joe Corvo 06.01.12 at 4:54 pm ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed goalkeeper Tim Thomas said he wants to sit out the 2012-13 season, citing familial reasons.

Chiarelli said on Friday that he will have to suspend Thomas if the goalkeeper does not play next year, but Thomas’ cap number will still impact the team.

“As of right now I’m operating under the premise that there’s a strong possibility that he’ll be taking the year off and we’ll have to go about our business without Tim Thomas for the year,” Chiarelli said.

If Thomas does not come back, Chiarelli said the Bruins would use Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin as the goalkeepers.

“We’ve got two very capable goalies in Tuukka and Khudobin so I’d be more than satisfied if that’s who we have to go with,” Chiarelli said.

Even though Thomas’ exploration into taking a year off coincides closely with the expiration of his no-trade, Chiarelli said he doesn’t think that factored into Thomas’ decision. The Bruins general manager said the reason why Thomas wants a year off is because the goalkeeper cares about his family and wants to play in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Chiarelli added that Thomas had expressed issues of exhaustion before.

“I remember one of the things that he told me after, the year before, we met, that he was really tired,” Chiarelli said. “And we had exit meetings after we won the cup and he was really tired. And he said to me after these exit meetings he definitely was worn down a bit.”

Thomas isn’t the only player with a questionable future as the Bruins are still involved in various contract negotiations. On Friday team announced the signing of Daniel Paille and Chris Bourque.

Chiarelli said Bourque, the son of Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, has a chance of making Boston’s lineup and playing with skilled players.

“He does have those attributes,” Chiarelli said. “He does have the ability to shoot and find seams, but he also has a great element to his game where if he has to play lower down the line that he can do that.”

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Read More: Chris Bourque, Daniel Paille, Peter Chiarelli, Tim Thomas
Report: Tim Thomas considering taking next season off at 12:39 am ET
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According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is considering not playing next season. Writes LeBrun:

A source told ESPN.com on Thursday that the 38-year-old Boston Bruins netminder was contemplating taking next season off. Which doesn’€™t mean he will, but it’€™s something he’€™s apparently raised.

For Thomas to take the year off certainly would be strange. He has one year remaining on his contract at a $5 million cap hit but only a $3 million salary. His no-trade clause expires on July 1, meaning the Bruins could trade the goalie without his consent.

The biggest reason a sabbatical at this point in his career would be perplexing: At 38 years old, Thomas isn’t getting younger, and taking a season off would diminish his value.

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