Thoughts for the First Monday in June
Okay, so Tim Thomas is a nut.
But he appears to be an honest nut, or at least a person who has some views on life that diverge from the mainstream in an honest, idiosyncratic way.
In other words, the man hasn't lied yet.
So why all the cynicism about Thomas' announcement he likely isn't going to play in the NHL next season?
For starters, if you're going to take a year off, this is the one, because at best it's going to be a partial season because of labour issues. Marty Brodeur has already said an extended lockout could force him into retirement.
Rather than go down that path, Thomas' statement on his future suggests he's a fellow who realizes this may be the time to stand down from his job.
"At the age of 38, I believe it is time to put my time and energies into those areas and relationships that I have neglected," he said.
Assuming Thomas is being honest, and it's difficult to see how sitting out would get him anywhere or anything, he should be applauded for having priorities beyond the Stanley Cup. He can't get a raise or restructure his contract under current CBA rules, and if the Bruins want to trade him after July 1st, they can, just as he could ask for a trade.
Just because a guy is a nut doesn't mean he's not being honest when he speaks. He might also have his personal priorities straight.
Other Monday morning considerations:
--The NHL has two huge metropolitan areas in the Stanley Cup final, one of which has been in the league for 45 years. If the Kings and Devils can't generate a decent TV audience, and right now it doesn't appear the final will do so, it's a strong - and strongly negative - commentary on the league and the entertainment product it is producing. Period, end of sentence. The series has one last chance to save itself, and that's by delivering a memorable contest in Game 3 tonight.
--The Devils can talk all they want about being very close to beating the Kings in Games 1 and 2. But two goals in two games isn't going to win you anything, not even in the Dead Puck Era II.
--Canada is receiving plaudits for serving up a "clean sheet" in soccer against the U.S. on the weekend. Little said about the fact we couldn't score a single goal. It's like John Tortorella has taken over the Canadian side. Hopefully we blocked a lot of shots.
--With Adam Lind and Eric Thames down in the minors, 25 per cent of the eight starting players the Blue Jays started the season with aren't even in the majors right now. There were questions about both going into the spring, and the Jays seemed absolutely certain they were solid in both spots. Thames, in particular, was crowned the left fielder without having to perform to get the spot. As always, however, Alex Anthopoulos escapes any and all criticism for this. He is the anti-Brian Burke. Burke is blamed for things he didn't even do - hiring Ron Wilson - while Anthopoulos is so popular nothing sticks to him.
--It's easy to trash women's tennis now, with the WTA probably at its weakest ebb in terms of sellable, top-drawer talent in a decade. The fast rise and fall of Caroline Wozniacki tells you all you need to know. But the men could use somebody to really step up and start putting some heat on the Big Three, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. It looked like Juan Martin del Potro might be that guy, but not yet. John Isner is a possibility. But without a serious challenge from someone new, the ATP is starting to get just a little stale. Its still the golden age of men's tennis, but change is what makes the world go 'round.
--No, 88 unforced errors isn't going to get it done for Milos Raonic. But when you actually take in the entire picture, his loss to Juan Monaco was hardly a disaster, although at times it was sloppy. It went five sets, and Raonic was right there with one of the better clay courters in the world. Monaco was the higher seed - he was supposed to win. In defeat, Raonic got to the net more often, a very good thing. Nobody figured he'd be even a decent clay court player, so his substantial progress on the dirt is no small thing. He remains the only male player born in the 1990s to win a tournament. The trending is still upwards, folks. He and Australia's Bernard Tomic are still the most serious rising stars on the men's side.
--With Nicklas Lidstrom off to retirement, the Red Wings are in an interesting position. Most believe that in the cap era you must have a foundation of young assets to either play at the NHL level or be used to acquire other assets. The Red Wings, because of their strong finishes year after year, don't really have that young foundation at the moment. So they will try to "rebuild" in the post-Lidstrom era through free agency. They've got lots of bucks to spend and have long been a destination of choice for NHLers. Conveniently, with Lidstrom gone, they also don't have an artificial individual salary cap in place any longer. So Ken Holland really is free to do whatever he wants. But can it work? If both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, for example, choose Motown this summer, will that keep Detroit at the top of the heap? The Wings themselves were built on the draft through players like Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Kronwall, Jimmy Howard and Henrik Zetterberg. Can they now revitatlize their lineup through free agency?