Bruins principal and alternate governor Charlie Jacobs joined The Big Show Tuesday to support the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon. Among the topics discussed was Tim Thomas, and Jacobs admitted that he was "thrown" after the season upon learning that the two-time Vezina winner would not return next season to play the final year of his contract.
"I was beyond surprised," Jacobs said. "I am still."
Thomas has said that he will not play next season, and his future beyond that remains unclear.
"I'm having a hard time wrapping my ahead around that whole line of logic," Jacobs said. "I respect Timmy and I respect his decision, but at  … I want to say he'll be 39 by the time he comes back, taking a year off from pro hockey, from the National Hockey League, from the show, I don't see how it's possible to come back and play at that level. He may prove us all wrong, but I would be stunned. This is prime earning potential for him. This is not chump change -- we're talking 5 million bucks [editor's note: Thomas would earn $3 million, though his salary cap hit would be $5 million] -- and the possibility of another deal if he does perform well."
Thomas confirmed via his Facebook account -- something he's used to share some controversial opinions, including why he did not attend the White House this past season -- that he would not be playing next year. More recently, he posted on Facebook that he supports the Cathy family, the owners of Chik-fil-A who have been outspoken against gay marriage.
"We certainly don't share his views or those messages that have been posted on Facebook, in particular with the recent fast-food chain in Boston and his statement about that as well," Jacobs said of Thomas. "I'm speaking cryptically because I'd prefer to not bring it up and give it merit."
Added Jacobs: "Tim's always marched to the beat of his own drum. By and large, that's what made him such a special player, is that you never really knew what he was going to do. I don't think opposing shooters knew where the hell he was going to go, right? I think that spelled well for a certain amount of time."
The Bruins conceivably could trade Thomas to another team and be off the hook for his cap hit, as teams that need to reach the cap floor would only have to pay $3 million for a $5 million cap hit. Jacobs said he feels there's a market.
"Timmy's going to do what he wants to do, and you know what? I bet we'll get something for him if he elects to not come back and there is in fact a floor for the salary cap this upcoming season, I can see teams trading for that $5 million cap [hit] to bring their team up to the floor," he said. "So I think there will be a market for a player, as ironic as it sounds, there will be a market for a player who's not going to play next year."
Jacobs said that he and the front office have discussed whether they could have talked the goalie into returning "on many occasions," but he noted he has not spoken to Thomas since the end of the season.
"More specifically we've asked the question,'Has Timmy thought this through?' " Jacobs said. "Apparently he has."
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
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