Peter Chiarelli wanted to make one thing clear about Tim Thomas.
He never definitively said the 38-year-old Bruins goaltender was sitting out the 2012-13 hockey season, and its clear Thomas never made things so cut-and-dry in the Facebook post read around the hockey world.
Chiarelli did speak with the goaltender in between conversations with Thomas agent Bill Zito and came away with one clear observation: there seem to be no absolutes with the Thomas situation as he walks away in the prime of his career.
I read somewhere the other day that I said it was definitive he wasnt coming back. Nothing is definitive, I guess, said Chiarelli, during a Thursday interview with CSNNE.com. He may change his mind. Im just operating under the assumption hes not coming back. I was really surprised when I first heard. My first reaction was suspicion because Im as much a conspiracy theorist as everybody else. The wheels were turning in my head as a lawyer.
But I talked to Tim and he said Pete, Im just tired. Its time for me to take the year and Im seriously considering it. The time hes telling me in advance certainly helps us out, but hes a goalie maybe in the prime of his career because success came later for him. Anything is possible and Im sure we havent heard the end of it. But I respect his decision that he wants to spend more time with his family and other things.
But the Bruins GM didnt shy away from the question when asked if Thomas might have played his last game as a member of the Boston Bruins. It would be an anticlimactic end to a mythic Bs career that included two Vezina Trophies, a Conn Smythe Trophy, a Stanley Cup championship and four All-Star appearances, but it might be the end all the same.
I dont know. Youve got a goalie in Tuukka Rask, who is ready or close to ready to be a starter. He has to do it over a period of time to cement it, but weve seen what he can do . . . hes close, said Chiarelli. Timmy and Tuukka are close. Tim has never said this, but he might just be thinking that its Tuukkas time to play.
Ive said Im operating under the assumption hes not back, so we may end up making moves based on him not being back. If thats the case then it might be that hes done with the Bruins. I dont know where that story goes, but its a different wrinkle every other day.