Thomas admits being surprised by Luongo trade

Thomas admits being surprised by Luongo trade
March 5, 2014, 2:15 am
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BOSTON – Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo will always be linked because of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks. Largely they are connected by punch lines with pumping tires and sea walls, but Thomas and Luongo are now also connected as teammates following a Tuesday trade that sent the Vancouver goalie to Florida in exchange for goalie Jakob Markstrom, forward Shawn Matthias and a prospect.

Thomas was spotted having an animated, tense phone conversation at TD Garden in the hours following the Luongo trade while getting ready to start his team’s 4-1 loss to the Bruins, and it was natural to assume his jumbled thoughts are about his suddenly uncertain future with the Panthers. But the 39-year-old Thomas had significantly recovered from the shock following Saturday’s game to make a joke about his new goaltending partner.

“I did have one good line that probably someone else has thought up: it looked like Dale [Tallon] went kicking some tires and found one that needed to be pumped,” said Thomas, with a genuine laugh about the odd situation. "I was surprised obviously at first, just like probably a lot of people were caught off guard and didn’t see that one coming.

“I wasn’t an enemy with him even [in the Stanley Cup Final]. I was so focused on doing my job, and that’s the way I was looking at it. We’re both pros. We’ve both been in the league a long time. I have a few more years on [Luongo], but we both have a lot of experience to bring to the team.”

Luongo sent out a tweet earlier on Tuesday that he and Thomas were “going to rip it up” as the goaltending tandem for the Panthers, but it’s difficult to know when to take him seriously on the social media. Clearly Luongo will be expected to be “the man” in Florida as he once was before getting shipped to Vancouver, and Thomas might have been under the impression he’d be returning to Florida next season as the No. 1 goaltender.

But some of Thomas’ former Bruins teammates hope that the two unique goaltending personalities can find a way to co-exist.

“It was pretty funny. I’m sure they’ll have a lot of fun together to end off the year. They talked about trading Luongo in Vancouver for a long time now, and the deal is finally done,” said Milan Lucic. “I think it’s just funny that he ends up being teammates with Tim Thomas – two guys that obviously battled in the 2011 Cup Final. We’ll see how they pair up together and how they finish off.”

Thomas has a 2.87 goals against average and .909 save percentage, and allowed three goals on 39 shots in Florida’s 4-1 loss to the Bruins on Tuesday night. Those numbers are definitely off from his old Boston days, but perhaps Thomas getting his tires pumped by his former nemesis in Luongo might be exactly what the doctor ordered.