Tim Thomas: Disappearance from hockey had nothing to do with Bruins or fans

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By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Tim Thomas seemed to disappear from the hockey world altogether since playing his last NHL game in 2014. His detachment from the sport was as real as it appeared.

But apparently, Thomas' mysterious absence from the public eye had little, if anything to do with how his tenure with the Boston Bruins ended. The Stanley Cup-winning former Bruins goalie broke a years-long silence on Wednesday when he spoke to reporters about being named to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame's class of 2019.

Thomas' Conn Smythe-winning run to the Cup in 2011 ranks among the greatest runs ever for American-born hockey pros, so the honor is well-deserved. But inevitably he faced questions about his absence from the spotlight. He explained that he's essentially in an entirely new chapter of his life right now.

"Everybody probably knows nowadays I don’t actually have all that much to say, at least publicly," Thomas said (via AP). "Obviously I’ve decided to keep what I’ve been doing with my life and learning to myself at this point, for sure, and probably forever."

Thomas became a polarizing figure in 2012, when he began publicly espousing conservative political beliefs on his Facebook page. He said at the time he didn't intend for his comments to be public, but the inherently public nature of the Facebook platform drew plenty of attention to his posts. It especially swelled when Thomas declined to visit the White House with the Bruins to honor their championship run for political reasons. He became increasingly agitated with reporters as the season and his social media controversies went along, and within the next calendar year he was traded to the Islanders.

Despite the seemingly negative experience in the latter months of his time with the Bruins, Thomas said his lack of desire to return to hockey goes well beyond just that.

"It isn’t anything to do with the Boston Bruins or the Boston fans, especially. My goodness, they loved the crap out of me when I was there to the point where it was hard to handle," Thomas said.

Thomas probably still doesn't appreciate the intense media scrutiny he got over his Facebook posts back then, and it's hard to blame him for that. But he made it clear that he doesn't harbor resentment for the team or anyone who criticized him in the past. Thomas has simply made a clean break from the world of hockey, and it's more complicated than just how it ended in Boston.

Hopefully, anyone in Boston who resents Thomas can go back to appreciating how important he was to the last time the team won a championship.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].