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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    Sabres’ McCabe suffers shoulder injury, will not return versus Red Wings

    New York Islanders v Buffalo Sabres
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    The Buffalo Sabres will be down a defenseman for the remainder of Friday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.

    Jake McCabe has left the game due to a shoulder injury suffered during the first period and will not return, the club stated during the second period.

    Signed to a three-year, $4.8 million contract extension last summer, the 23-year-old McCabe has one goal and 10 points in 44 games this season for Buffalo

    More recently, McCabe drew the immediate ire of the Winnipeg Jets after he delivered an open-ice hit on rookie Patrik Laine, who suffered a concussion on the play.

    Red Wings get ‘ultra-fast, ultra-competitive’ Helm back in lineup versus Sabres

    NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 11: Darren Helm #43 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 11, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Red Wings 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Darren Helm is back in the Detroit Red Wings lineup Friday, after missing the last two months with a shoulder injury.

    Helm last played on Nov. 15, and was initially expected to miss at least six weeks with a dislocated shoulder. According to reports, he’ll make his return to game action against the Buffalo Sabres.

    The Red Wings are searching for a fourth consecutive win, as they look to gain ground in the Eastern Conference wild card race.

    “He’s ultra-fast, he’s ultra-competitive,” said coach Jeff Blashill, per MLive.com. “I thought he had an excellent start to the year. It was obviously unfortunate he got hurt, but we all deal with it. The good thing with him is he’s such a skater and such a competitor that when he gets back into the lineup after a long layoff I expect him to be pretty good.”

    In 17 games this season before his injury, Helm had four goals and seven points.

    Jets rookie scorer Patrik Laine making progress in concussion recovery

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 17:  Patrik Laine #29 of the Winnipeg Jets waits for a faceoff against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 17, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    There was a positive development for the Winnipeg Jets and their rookie scorer Patrik Laine on Friday.

    Per reports, Laine was back skating with his teammates during Friday’s practice, albeit while wearing a yellow non-contact jersey, marking another step in his return from a concussion suffered on an open-ice hit from Jake McCabe on Jan. 7.

    “It doesn’t matter how long you’re out of the games. I’m still young, and I have a lot of games ahead of me. I don’t have to rush anything,” said Laine, per NHL.com. “It’s easier to work out now, and be able to go out on the ice with the team. Hopefully I can get back soon.”

    Laine has missed the last six games, and the Jets have lost four times in his absence. There have been rumblings about the future of head coach Paul Maurice in Winnipeg due to his team’s struggles.

    Selected second overall last June, Laine has been as advertised in his freshman campaign: A scoring forward with a terrific and accurate shot. He leads Winnipeg in goals with 21. Certainly, the Jets have missed his ability to finish over this recent stretch. But at age 18 and given the nature of his injury, it’s imperative he not be rushed back.

    “He comes back in (Saturday) and if he’s right where he left off and felt good, we would start to push the heart rate a little bit and gradually work up from there,” said Maurice, per the Winnipeg Sun. “If he feels good (Saturday), he’ll get some light bumps in.

    “He’s absolutely not getting back into a game until he’s at 100 percent and clear. And then I’m more interested in getting him in the next game.”

    The Jets play the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, the Anaheim Ducks on Monday and the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

    Injured Silfverberg skips trip with Ducks

    Jakob Silfverberg
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    ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Forward Jakob Silfverberg will not travel on the Anaheim Ducks’ upcoming two-game road trip to Minnesota and Winnipeg while recovering from an upper-body injury.

    The Ducks are leaving for Minnesota on Friday without Silfverberg, who was injured late in their 2-1 victory over Colorado on Thursday.

    From the Los Angeles Times:

    Silfverberg left Thursday’s game in the third period, shortly after a hit from Colorado’s Nikita Zadorov, and is considered day-to-day. Silfverberg’s head is believed to have hit the ice but it is not known if he suffered a head injury.

    Anaheim recalled right wing Corey Tropp and defenseman Shea Theodore from its AHL affiliate in San Diego.

    Silfverberg has 13 goals and 16 assists in a strong season with the Pacific Division-leading Ducks. The Swede is on pace to surpass his career highs in goals and assists.

    Silfverberg has teamed up with All-Star center Ryan Kesler and Andrew Cogliano on the Ducks’ most effective line this season.