The Bear Essentials By Mark Feldman, 98.5 The Sports Hub

BOSTON (CBS) – With a record-setting season and captivating playoff run now behind him, Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas faces his hardest challenge to date.

Will the success of last year’s run affect his upcoming season? We all know what the man is capable of when facing true adversity. Having struggled his way through the IHL, AHL and Finnish leagues in order to reach the pros, the veteran has proven time and time again that if overcoming adversity is an obstacle, he is up for the challenge.

This year feels different though.

The undisputed Vezina Trophy winner, Cons Smythe recipient and, not to mention, Stanley Cup champion seems to have done it all. With an NHL record .9382 save percentage during the regular season, Thomas is unquestionably the number one goaltender in the entire league.

Read: Thomas, Stanley Cup Head To Vermont Sept. 3

So where is the challenge now? Where is the person telling him he “can’t do it,” or the adversity he needs to overcome?

The truth is, there really isn’t any of that. There’s just, well, Tim Thomas.

An enigma in his own right, it will be interesting to see how the success will affect his upcoming season. The last time Timmy came off of an extraordinary run was 2009-2010. He entered that year with high expectations after winning his first Vezina, and ultimately lost his job to Tuukka Rask due to a hip injury.

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On the contrary, in 2010-2011, many predicted that “The Tank” would further decline and underperform. He went on to lead the B’s to a Stanley Cup championship.

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This year, we’re back to the high expectations. How will Thomas handle the success? Will it affect his game? Sitting atop the NHL’s strongest players, it will be interesting to see how hockey’s number one goalie will respond.


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