NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley weighed in on the Tim Thomas situation during his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning.
Thomas skipped the team's visit to the White House Monday due to his political beliefs, and now he's being portrayed by some as a selfish individual who refuses to put the team first.
"I don't know if I'd classify it that strongly," Brickley said. "Goaltenders are a different breed to begin with. Timmy, because he's been such a survivor in his professional career, the mentality he needs to have in order to compete at the level that he needs to compete at in order to be the player he is, you've got to have a little selfishness in you. And that's OK. As long as you're full disclosure with your team, the players understand who you are -- because this team has that unconditional, I have your back, teammate mentality, that you put up with players' flaws in their personality in order to have that kind of attitude so that it's all about team.
"So, there is some selfishness within the group. I don't think that makes Tim Thomas unique. But I think within the team structure and how these guys get along, that's very manageable."
Added Brickley: "I think they're disappointed. I think this was an opportunity to really choose team over the individual. Everybody certainly respects Tim Thomas and what he believes in. But this was probably not the best decision. He could have gone with his teammates, because that's ultimately what it was: a celebration of this team. And despite his political beliefs and how he feels about big government, I think there was a better choice to be made as far as how he wanted to make a statement."
The Bruins, who lost to the Capitals Tuesday night and are 3-3-1 in their last seven games, now have some time off due to the All-Star break. They don't play again until next Tuesday, against the Senators in Ottawa.
"I'm a firm believer that time heals all wounds," Brickley said. "And I think that will be the case here. Maybe the All-Star break helps, maybe it doesn't. I don't know what's going to happen when they go to Ottawa, the attention that Tim Thomas is going to get.
"My concern is focus and where this team is. If you believe time heals all wounds, how much time does it take to get beyond this? If you're going to have that attitude that this team has, where it's all for one and one for all, there are issues that arise."
Thomas' no-trade agreement expires after this season, and he has one more year remaining on his contract. With Tuukka Rask seemingly ready to step into the No. 1 spot, the Bruins already were going to be facing a decision at the end of the season. Brickley said he doesn't think this incident will have an effect.
Said Brickley: "I don't. I think the Bruins have shown, certainly under this regime, that they are always aware of dollars and cents and who's making what and where they are in their contracts and where our weaknesses are as a team. But I don't think this move, this decision based on a political belief, big government belief, should be any kind of impetus to making a deal when you're talking about moving a guy like Tim Thomas. I would say no to that. It makes for interesting conversation, certainly.
"There's going to come a time probably when Tim Thomas gets into a certain point in his career where maybe you think about moving him because you have a very good goaltender that's a lot younger that should assume the mantle at some point, and when does that happen? But I don't think this should act as an impetus for that."