Monday, June 4, 2012

The NHL's Most Loveable Goalie

Hockey fans will recognize the guy in the photo above, but for those not interested in the sport it is Tim Thomas, a goaltender with the Boston Bruins. As a Vancouver Canucks fan it's difficult to look upon his smugly smiling visage, as he is one irritating reason the Bruins took the Stanley Cup over my team in seven games last year. Unfortunately, he's an excellent keeper who not only raised the cup in 2011, but also won the Conn Smythe Trophy for Most Valuable Player of the playoffs, and the Vezina Trophy for the NHL's best keeper last season. As much as I consider him the enemy, then, I must acknowldge his skill, especially when it mattered.

However, beyond the uniform he wears, another reason to dislike him has arrived in the form of his decision to "sit out" next season. He announced on F***book on Sunday that he will take the year off in order to spend more time reconnecting with "family, friends and faith." Now, I cannot knock the fact he wants to devote more time and energy to these areas of his life, but the other side of the story is that he is still contracted to the Boston Bruins. Although he will not get paid for his leave of absence - and rightly so - the rules of the NHL salary cap and his own contract mean that his team, i.e. his employer, will have $5 million less (being Thomas' salary for the 2012-13 season) that they can spend on wages. That could bag them a couple of quality players to add to their roster, but because of Thomas' actions they are strapped to do so.

How incredibly selfish it is to leave his team on the financial hook like this. At age 38, why doesn't he simply do the decent thing and retire? If he so desired he could always come out of retirement (if, after this, any team wanted him) after his year's sabbatical, but no, he expects to come back and play again after his time off! What an ego!

How lovely it would be, would it not, if you or I could march into our boss' office and say, "Sorry, but I don't think I want to work next year, so I'm taking it off. You don't mind do you?" But you and I live in the real world, one where I have been unable to take a proper holiday for nine years.

Thomas should realize that no one man is above a team, that he has an obligation to his employers (and fans and team-mates) within the terms of a contract, and that because of him his team will be financially hindered to the tune of $5 million - which, let's face it anyway, is an obscene amount of money to be paid for what he does in the first place. Not that he cares, I'm sure, as he certainly won't go without during his year-long holiday

I for one hope this break means we've seen the back of this prima donna, a classic example of why the players hold way too much sway in the sport I love.

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