Tim Thomas isn’t shying away from his desire to play for to the United States once the 2014 Winter Olympics roll around. He was a member of the silver-medal winning squad in 2010, but played a secondary role to Ryan Miller who became somewhat of a folk hero overnight because of his outstanding play while in the spotlight.
Playing well while the pressure is on isn’t something new to Thomas though, and even at the age of 39, it’s clear that the competitive fire still burns very hot within him. He still hates to lose, and he is consistently visibly frustrated by the Florida Panthers in front of him.
He spoke to Harvey Fialkov of the Florida Sun-Sentinel about his desire to suit up and play in the Olympics and whether or not that chance played a role in his return:
Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, it’s one of the major factors. I only got to play [part of one period] against Finland. But the whole experience was awesome. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing or not in the Olympics you want to be a part of it, and I’d love to be a part of it again.
While Thomas may seem like a long shot to serve as the team’s No. 1 (our money is on Ben Bishop at the moment), it isn’t all that unlikely that he’ll be one of the three best netminders available when the U.S. heads to Sochi. A quick glance at all American-born goaltenders in the NHL makes his odds pretty clear.
It’d probably take an injury or two to put Thomas into the top-three, but the 2013-14 season has been chock full of odd storylines and underdog tales. We’ve seen stranger things from this particular netminder than a month-long hot streak that puts his team over the top. Could we see more of that from him moving forward?