Tim Thomas says he is 'ahead of schedule' after May 21 hip surgery

timthomasprogress.jpgWhile he was usurped by Finnish sensation Tuukka Rask, I think that Tim Thomas was better during the 2009-10 season than most people gave him credit for. Or, perhaps more precisely, he wasn’t quite as bad as people thought.

His save percentage was down to 91.5 last season, but that’s nicely above 90 percent, generally accepted as the “Mendoza line” for goalies. His level of play just fell distinctly short of his Vezina-worthy 93.3 mark and Rask’s 93.1 pace.

Still, at $5 million and at the age of 36, it’s reasonable to wonder if Thomas already played his best hockey. Then again, maybe he was just worn out. The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa reports that Thomas is “ahead of schedule” in the rehab process after undergoing hip surgery on May 21.

“It’s going really well,” Thomas said. “It’s actually gone exceptionally well, right from the start, which has been a good thing. We’re ramping it up and ramping up the workouts. I think everything would be considered right on track, if not a little bit ahead.”

Next Friday will mark 12 weeks since the procedure. Doctors have told him not to butterfly until the 12-week point. Thomas, however, doesn’t usually start skating until September, so he might not hit the ice at all this month. Thomas said he’ll be ready for the start of training camp.

* Thomas wasn’t willing to note the injury as a reason why his play slipped last year. “You can’t say. Everybody’s got injuries all the time,” Thomas said. “There’s no use even speculating. I can do it for myself. But definitely publicly, I wouldn’t even want to speculate.”

Thomas also had some other interesting things to say in that article.

Contrary to many reports, Thomas said that he never waived his no-trade clause during the NHL Entry Draft. He said “being at least somewhat in the inner loop, you realize that 75 percent of what’s being written is wrong.” Thomas also commented on this summer’s bone-dry goalie market … one that, let’s face it, he’s very lucky he avoided by a year.

While Thomas will likely be the target of trade rumors for the three years remaining on his questionable contract, let’s not forget that the NHL has seen a large quantity of “one-year wonders” in net. If Rask falters, the Bruins will need Thomas to match (or at least approach) his 07-08 form. Getting healthy will improve his – and Boston’s – chances considerably.

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    Blues’ Allen says he still needs to prove he’s a ‘legit’ No. 1 goalie

    St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (34) is scored on by the Edmonton Oilers during second period NHL hockey action in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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    The goaltending roles in St. Louis have been clearly defined this summer. Jake Allen is the No. 1 netminder and Carter Hutton, a free agent acquisition, is the No. 2.

    For the past two seasons, especially, Allen and Brian Elliott were both counted on to shoulder the goaltending duties, but the platoon scenario was ended when Elliott was traded to Calgary last month.

    Allen recently commented on what was a positive working relationship between himself and Elliott, but seemed relieved that the leash may not be as short as it may have been in the past if he has an off night.

    “It was tough to make mistakes when Brian was around because one game — you had a bad game — he was right back in the net and vice versa with him and me,” said the 25-year-old Allen, as per a video on the Blues’ website.

    “I think you get a little bit more leeway, I guess, now. But not a whole lot. Carter’s a great goalie and I’ve heard a lot of great things about him.

    “I feel that I had to etch myself into the league consistently. Now that I’ve done that, I still have another place to go and prove I’m a legit No. 1 guy.”

    Allen just wrapped up only his second full NHL season.

    The highest number of starts he’s made in a single season at the NHL level is 44 — in the 2015-16 season.

    Blues’ GM Doug Armstrong said in June that Allen lost the crease, with Elliott taking it over with his strong play down the stretch and in the playoffs. He also made it clear Allen would have to battle to get it back in September. That changes to some degree now that Elliott is no longer in St. Louis.

    Hutton, 30, was the back-up in Nashville, but made a career-high 34 starts in the 2013-14 season, posting a .910 save percentage.

    Eberle: ‘We haven’t made the playoffs … and something needed to change’

    SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 06:  Jordan Eberie #14 and Taylor Hall #4 of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates after Eberie scores a goal 10 seconds into the game against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion at San Jose on March 6, 2012 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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    The P.K. Subban for Shea Weber trade between the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators continues to make waves. That will probably be the case right up until the start of the season and beyond.

    On that same late-June day, however, the Edmonton Oilers shocked the hockey world by sending Taylor Hall, who four times in his young career has hit the 20-goal plateau, to New Jersey for right-shot defenseman Adam Larsson, who isn’t likely to be mistaken for a dynamic offensive blue liner.

    It, too, is a deal that’s considered a major victory for one team — in this case, the Devils.

    In trading Hall, the Oilers gave up a dynamic forward, although they certainly had a plethora of skilled forwards, and their need to make upgrades to their blue line, made it necessary to part with a player up front.

    Hall and Jordan Eberle — now his former Oilers teammate — broke into the league with Edmonton in the same year, back in 2010-11. But despite an increase in talent up front, with four first-overall picks in a six-year span, Edmonton really hasn’t been close to competing for a playoff spot in years.

    Eberle, with 425 games with the Oilers through some difficult times, at first said in an interview with the Andrew Walker Show that he couldn’t comment on the deal, but eventually admitted something had to give when it came to Edmonton’s quest to land a d-man, which led GM Peter Chiarelli to make the deal.

    “Obviously I think he recognized there was an area on our team we needed to improve and maybe we had a surplus of forwards and it was something he needed to do,” Eberle told The Andrew Walker Show.

    “Ultimately, at the end of the day, we haven’t made the playoffs … and something needed to change, whether it was Taylor or whoever.

    “I think Taylor will do very well in New Jersey and I think we significantly increased our blue line. I think that’s definitely going to help us in a tough Western Conference.”

    Related:

    Oilers GM justifies Hall trade, even if Larsson isn’t a ‘sexy defenseman’ 

    Why are the Oilers still bad? Look at their drafting

    The ECHL would have an ‘open mind’ if Las Vegas NHL team wanted Wranglers name

    LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 22:  (l-r) Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak and Bill Foley celebrate the admittance of a new NHL franchise during the Board Of Governors Press Conference prior to the 2016 NHL Awards at Encore Las Vegas on June 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    The search for a general manager has been over for a while, the successful candidate in place. However, the Las Vegas NHL franchise is still looking to name its team. That search is still ongoing.

    With its first season in the league set for 2017-18, the Las Vegas franchise has run into some trade mark issues with potential names, much to the dismay of owner Bill Foley.

    One possibility could be the ‘Wranglers’ — the name of the former Las Vegas ECHL franchise, which officially folded in January of 2015.

    However, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the ECHL still owns the rights to the name ‘Wranglers.’ The report also stated that the team does have a temporary logo — the NHL shield with ‘Las Vegas’ written underneath. Again. Only temporary.

    “I have not been approached by either Mr. Foley or by the NHL,” ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

    “We own all the names of all the teams that have played or are playing (in the ECHL). Frankly, I would be surprised to hear from them now. But if they called to say they were interested in reviving the Wranglers name in Las Vegas, we would have an open mind about it. We always liked the name and the logo and the way they built up the brand in the community.”

    Meanwhile, the people of Las Vegas have had their say on team names.

    According to a bracket posted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the name ‘Outlaws’ emerged as the favorite among the people after the polls, which the newspaper admits are completely unscientific.

    The Las Vegas Visitors didn’t make it out of the first round…

    Related:

    McPhee wants Las Vegas team to compete right away; history says it won’t be easy

    Report: Las Vegas NHL team asked permission to speak with Capitals assistant GM

    Report: Graham James granted extended day parole

    Graham James
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    Graham James, the disgraced junior hockey coach who pleaded guilty in June of 2015 to the latest charge of sexual assault against a former player, has had his day parole extended an additional two months, according to a report from The Canadian Press.

    From the Canadian Press:

    Documents from the Parole Board of Canada show James’s day parole, which was granted in January, has been extended for two months while the board schedules a hearing to consider his request for more freedom.

    “You would like to be granted full parole,” states the decision dated July 8. “You have rented an apartment where you plan on living on your own. There are no financial concerns. Family members have been deemed to be positive supports.

    “Your (case management team) supports your release on full parole.”

    Former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy, who was a victim of sexual abuse from James, his coach in Swift Current at the time, has spoken out against the decision from the parole board.

    From Global News:

    “There has to be commitment and a proven commitment to change and currently there is no commitment to change by the Parole Board of Canada,” he said. “To me what it all comes down to is a lack of understanding of the true impact of this crime by the parole board.”

    Kennedy predicts James will leave the country where he can operate under the radar. He has previously moved to Spain and Mexico. Kennedy also believes it’s just a matter of time before James reoffends.

    “Oh absolutely, there’s no question,” Kennedy said.

    In February of 2013, James had his original two-year sentence increased to five years for sexually assaulting two of his former players.

    James is serving seven years, following the latest charge from last year that resulted in a two-year sentence, according to Global News.