Thomas' recent fame enables 'underdog' charity


Thomas' recent fame enables 'underdog' charity

BOSTON -- With a day off from practice, the last place you'd expect to find Tim Thomas would be TD Garden.

But the 37-year-old goaltender has been working in earnest to get the Tim Thomas Foundation off the ground, and he announced on Tuesday that the Arbella Insurance Group was entering into a multiyear partnership with the TT Foundation that includs a 20,000 gift. Thomas has been putting together fundraisers and collecting partners for his charity.

Our hearts are in the same place, and that really makes it a good working relationship, said Thomas of pairing together with Arbella. Im just trying to take advantage of the position that Im in to do the most good that I can. Ive come to the realization that Im more popular and well-known than I probably want to be, but I can really do some good with that.

To be perfectly honest, I was wholly unprepared for things to blow up like they have . . . to get recognized all the time when I walk down the street. For me it was just about competing as hard as I could in every single game, and deep down finding out how much I could actually accomplish while I still had the ability to play. There is still more to add to that, though.

The mission of Thomas' foundation is to support the underdog, whether the underdog position was developed due to lack of opportunity, lack of education, illness or a disaster." The first fundraiser helped New England families decimated by the hurricane in Vermont and the tornadoes in Central Massachusetts, and Thomas commissioned a Movember Moustache goalie mask to be raffled off for charity at the end of the month.

All of it is fresh and new for Thomas, but hes excited to see how many lives he can touch with his foundation.

Clearly this is the perfect time for Thomas to start his charitable endeavors, given the glow that's still emanating from Vezina Trophy-, Conn Smythe- and Stanley Cup-winning season. Thomas is off to a solid start this year, too, with a 5-4 record, .931 save percentage and a 2.00 goals against average, and looks like he hasnt lost anything at age 37.

With a pair of Vezina trophies, a Stanley Cup championship and a Conn Smythe trophy to his name along with a Johnny Bower-style, rags-to-riches, late-career story, Thomas could arguably make a push for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

But hes trying not to set goals for himself in the bigger picture when his team is just starting to get things together when it comes to the important little things.

Ive discussed it a few times, and the opinion changes from time-to-time depending on how I feel, said Thomas. The conclusion Ive come to is that I want to play it year-by-year and see how it goes. Ive heard a lot of professional athletes say that when they get a little older, and I never understood it.

When youre young, you have this plan to be in the NHL by the age of 25 and do this thing or that thing. But then after awhile you toss all of that out because things never according to the plan anyway. You just learn to go with the flow.

Thomas flow has been downright historic during his tenure with the Bruins, and his standout play along with his budding foundation to benefit those in need within New England are true signs the Bs goaltender is here to stay for as long as wants.

Bruins' Backes returns to ice after surgery for diverticulitis


Bruins' Backes returns to ice after surgery for diverticulitis

BRIGHTON -- In a development that was certainly much sooner than originally anticipated, David Backes has returned to the ice just a matter of weeks after having 10 inches of colon removed during surgery for diverticulitis. It remains to be seen how gradual a process it will be for the 33-year-old to actually return to game action given his original timetable for recovery was eight weeks following the early November procedure, but it seems like it might end up being ahead of the two months Backes was initially expected to be sidelined. 

For his part, Backes was happy to be back skating with his teammates and pushing his recovering body after feeling pretty sluggish for the first few days following surgery. He confirmed he’d been skating for a couple of days while the team was on the West Coast, but Monday was his first team doing anything post-surgery with the rest of the team. 

“It’s good to be back with the guys and to be around the room, and to have seen the kind of resiliency that these guys showed on the road trip. The back half of the road trip was impressive,” said Backes, who has an assist in five games with the Bruins before succumbing to the surgery. “To be on the ice and moving around after sitting around doing nothing for too long where you don’t think you’re going to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it feels good. 

“The doc’s advice is that if it doesn’t hurt then I can keep moving forward and add more of a workload on, so that’s the update for today. It’s still non-contact, but we’ll keep moving along and hopefully I’ll be back doing what I love to do on a regular basis. I haven’t been notified that the timeline has changed at all, so I’m just going to keep putting in the work. The more I seem to do the work the better it is, and I seem to be able to do a little more each day. So those are all positive signs.”

For the Bruins it’s clearly a morale booster to see the big power forward back doing regular hockey activities, and serving notice that he’ll be bringing his size, strength, leadership and physicality back to a B’s team that definitely needs him. Clearly the return of another high-end forward would also immensely help a Bruins team that’s still very undermanned up front, but it would appear there will be some other B’s forwards getting back prior to Backes. 

Brad Marchand and Ryan Spooner appear poised to return to full practice on Tuesday with a possible return to the lineup not too far beyond that after all three injured forwards took part in Monday’s optional skate at Warrior Ice Arena. 


Morning Skate: Chiarelli taking heat in Edmonton


Morning Skate: Chiarelli taking heat in Edmonton

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading after a rough weekend for the Justice League movie. 


*Radko Gudas was suspended for 10 games after slashing at the head of Mathieu Perreault, and it’s an appropriate sentence for a play that has no place in the NHL, and from a player that really deserves to get slapped around by the Department of Player Safety. Some like the Hockey News here believe it should have been a more severe suspension, but this is the right move with a player that’s headed toward a Raffi Torres sentence the next time he crosses over the line. Let’s hope the message finally gets through to a dirty player, but I’m not holding my breath given his past history.  


*Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is beginning to take some heat in Edmonton with a hockey team that’s performing way under expectations to this point. 


*All Alexander Radulov wanted was to feel like he was wanted, you guys. The Dallas Stars just so happened to say that to him in the form of money and contract years. 


* does a Calder Trophy voting poll with their own staff and it looks like Clayton Keller is strongly in the lead, and that Charlie McAvoy isn’t getting nearly the mount of consideration that he should be getting right now. This is the only rookie averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time per game, people…c’mon now. 


*It’s officially over for the Montreal Canadiens just a couple of months into the season, and it may be for GM Marc Bergevin as well. I’m not sure the Habs are dead and buried quite yet, but Carey Price as a question mark certainly doesn’t help matters. 


*Hall of Famers Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne were both honored in Anaheim this weekend after their Hockey Hall of Fame honors last weekend. 


*For something completely different: Here’s a petition for fans to get a home release of the Zack Snyder cut of the Justice League movie. These people thirsting for ponderous, bombastic drudgery in their comic book movies amazes me. While I feel for Snyder and his family given their tragedy over the last year, I think his movies are god-awful and can’t fathom why anybody would be pounding the table demanding to see a cut that left the DC and Warner Brothers execs running and screaming for Joss Whedon.