Dale Tallon acknowledged Tim Thomas wasn’t happy with the deal that sent him to Dallas — “I don’t blame him for being upset,” Tallon told the Florida Sun-Sentinel — but according to his new head coach, Thomas might be getting a golden opportunity.
“I want to give Tim the opportunity to play,” Stars bench boss Lindy Ruff said, per the Dallas Morning News. “If he plays well, I’ll give him the chance to play.”
Dallas GM Jim Nill said he made this deal because the Stars are “serious about making the playoffs and making a statement in the playoffs.” Ruff knows the importance of postseason goaltending, as his deepest runs in Buffalo came on the strength of outstanding performances by Dominik Hasek (’99 Stanley Cup Final) and Ryan Miller (’06 and ’07 Conference Finals). While Lehtonen is the No. 1 in Dallas, his postseason resume — two games — pales to that of Thomas’.
What’s more, Thomas has the chance for starts with Dallas’ busy schedule down the stretch:
That’s 20 games in 38 days for a team clinging to the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. The Stars have a pair of back-to-backs and will play seven of their final 10 games on the road — at that point, the decision as to who starts in goal will undoubtedly come down to who gives Dallas the best chance of winning.
According to Nill, winning is exactly why he brought Thomas aboard.
“We had the opportunity to pick up a goalie who has won a Stanley Cup and has strong playoff experience,” he explained. “This solidifies maybe the most important position on the team.”