While many are curious to see Tim Thomas play in an NHL contest for the first time in over 17 months, it sounds as though they’ll have to wait.
“I won’t be judging Tim Thomas on one look at an exhibition game,” Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen told the Florida Sun-Sentinel on Wednesday. “That certainly won’t be a make or break situation.
“Because of that I’m not going to be in any rush to get him in.”
Thomas, 39, joined the team on Monday and has participated in a pair of practices, reporting no setbacks.
Florida will play a pair of exhibition contests this weekend — a Friday-Saturday back-to-back against the Stars and Lightning — then have nearly a week off before playing the Lightning again next Thursday.
Ergo, it’s safe to assume we won’t see Thomas participating in game action until Sept. 26th at the earliest, barring a major change of heart from the organization over the next 72 hours.
In case you’re curious, Thomas’ last time on NHL ice came during the 2012 playoffs, when his Bruins lost to the Capitals 2-1 in overtime of Game 7 of the opening round.
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.