So now Tim Thomas has posted his Facebook message and appears to have played his last game as a member of the Boston Bruins.
It was a glorious, borderline Hall of Fame career on the ice, and a quirky journey off it that ended disappointingly with the 38-year-old goaltender walking away from his career-long organization with no more than an eight paragraph posting on a social message board.
The goalie didnt expressly state that he had definitely decided to sit out the 2012-13 season, but hell never be welcomed back to the Black and Gold after pulling a stunt that basically served as the final straw.
Thomas is still an ultra-talented, unique goaltender in the twilight of an unlikely career, but it appears that a good deal of his teammates had tired of answering all the questions surrounding his eccentric choices and political leanings.
One anonymous Bruins teammate reached for comment on Sunday had nothing meaningful to say about Thomas exit, and instead texted CSNNE.com back with the response: Good for Tuukka?
The reference, of course, was to Tuukka Rask taking over the starting goalie reigns while serving as a popular teammate in the Bs dressing room.
Thomas decision to sit out for the season appears to have a number of different factors behind it: occupational burnout, family considerations, uneasiness with a potential trade away from the Bruins after July 1 and just some plain, good, old-fashioned goofiness.
He termed it as time to focus on the family, friends and faith that he sometimes neglected during his hockey career.
Nobody on the team begrudged Thomas leaving the team to be with his family in Colorado, and rightfully so.
But it was clear his teammates also recognized the Vezina Trophy level goaltending they might be missing out on an elite level of play that led them to their Stanley Cup title last season.
He's a big part of our team. Everyone has the responsibility to make their own decisions in life. I haven't lost any respect for him, said Tyler Seguin to CSNNE.com. I'll miss him. He's got my best wishes. Hopefully I'll be able to be out on the same ice with him again.
Two other Bruins players reached by CSNNE.com didnt feel strongly enough about Thomas leaving to comment, and defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was supportive of his teammate attending to family matters.
If he feels like thats what he needs to do for his family then thats okay, I guess, said Seidenberg. Its tough to judge.
While it was news to every Bruins player reached on Sunday of Thomas sabbatical, it appears that many of the players had started preparing to move after dropping the seven-game series to the Washington Capitals. The Bruins goaltender appeared to be removing himself from the rest of his teammates with his comments, and spoke haltingly when asked if he still hoped to remain a member of the Bruins.
Those kinds of actions raised an eyebrow at the time, but were dismissed by some as strange locker room coincidences in the heat of playoff battle.
But now they make a lot more sense as a sneak preview of a hockey player that looks poised to walk away from his lifetime NHL employer.