Bruins expect Tim Thomas to shake off the rust

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Tim Thomas didn’t end things on the best foot with the Boston Bruins, but that doesn’t mean his former teammates lost all respect for his skills. Key Bruins figures effusively praised him in the Boston Herald on Wednesday.

Tuukka Rask mentioned that the two netminders spoke sporadically during Thomas’ sabbatical in 2012-13 and seems to hold the 39-year-old in high esteem.

“I wasn’t ever saying, ‘He’s done,’ or, ‘He isn’t done.’ I always thought he’d be one of those guys who could come back if he wants to,” Rask said. “He’s doing it. Hopefully he’s going to have a good camp, feel good about his game and come back. It is a little unusual that somebody tries to do this at this late age he is. But besides that, Timmy is Timmy. He’s capable of doing many things that people don’t expect.”

Rask, 26, added that you always root for your friends and believes that Thomas’ skill hasn’t “gone anywhere.”

Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg also points out that Thomas seems especially driven when he’s being doubted (which, considering his late-blooming career and unusual style, is a frequent thing).

“If you know Timmy, he likes to prove people wrong — like you saw on his T-shirts,” Seidenberg said. “He’s really competitive. When he puts something in his mind, he can do it. I don’t see why not. A year off is long. But I’m sure he worked out hard the last few months and is ready to go.”

The Bruins might hope that he isn’t too ready to go. The two teams are neighbors in the new edition of the Atlantic Division; they’ll play each other five times in 2013-14, with Thomas and the Panthers visiting Boston on Nov. 7.

(Assuming he makes the Panthers, of course.)