Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Getting To Know Your 2010 U.S. Men's Olympic Hockey Team: Tim Thomas

And, BAM! Only one goalie entry left after this, and we've made it through all of your potential starters in Vancouver. The time to get busy is near. Very few eyes are on the United States as a team that could compete, which is just why they will.

Tim Thomas will turn 36 this spring, which, by account of the average age on this 2010 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, is old. He was taken in the ninth round of the NHL Draft by the Quebec Nordiques, if that clues you in. As in, before the Nordiques became the Colorado Avalanche, and before the Avalanche won any Stanley Cups. Thomas comes from Flint, Michigan, he matriculated at the University of Vermont, and just so happens to be last year's winner of the Vezina Trophy (best regular-season goalie) , and is a co-holder of last year's William M. Jenning's Trophy (goalie -- with a 25-game minimum -- to allow the fewest goals).

The interesting thing about Thomas is that he spent a number of his early post-college years playing at the semi-pro level, as well as overseas, not making his NHL debut until the 2002 season. In six years at the pro level, Thomas has posted a 122-88 record, a 2.60 goals-against average, a .918 save percentage, and 16 shutouts. Through 18 post-season games, Thomas is 10-8, with a 2.16 G.A.A., and a .926 save percentage. He's been selected to two All-Star Games, and led the league in G.A.A. and save percentage during the 2008-09 campaign.

The stellar recent play of Thomas makes it hard on the Team USA coaching staff, in that, if the theme of the club is youth and potential, you go with Ryan Miller. The flip side of that is that Thomas, a late bloomer, if you will, might actually be the better netminder, the veteran with the experience and confidence. My angle would be this: Start Miller for all games in the early round, and if he's letting in should-be saves, you make the switch to Thomas, and stick with him. I'd opt out of this one game, rest, two games, rest sort of thing the U.S. has done in the last two Olympics.


オテモヤン said...


Commish CH said...

Im sorry but every time I hear his name I think of the hoop player Tim Thomas in the nets. That would be cool.