The Florida Panthers take on the Boston Bruins tonight at the BB&T Center but the big story is Panther goaltender Tim Thomas taking on his former team and the goalie that replaced him in Boston, Tuukka Rask. There is a lot of hype surrounding this game and not much of it has to do with the action on the ice. We here at The Rat Trick are all about giving the people what they want and to all those who want more Thomas Vs. Rask, we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive and probably highly irrelevant breakdown of the matchup.
Tim Thomas has an unfair advantage in this category because of his age. At 39, Thomas has had way more time than Tuukka Rask,26, to cement his legend. That being said, Thomas did not become a full time starter until he was 32 so that advantage is not as profound as it looks on first glance. Thomas has played in 381 NHL games while Rask has played in 143. Here are the numbers:
GPS stands for goalie point shares and it is an estimate of the number of points contributed by a player due to his play in goal. Thomas’ GPS/game is .224 while Rask’s is .217.
The numbers here are pretty close. Rask probably has the slight edge as he is ahead of Thomas in SV% and GAA but Thomas has two Vezina Trophies and a Conn Smythe, Rask has nothing.
Path To The League
The legend of Tim Thomas is well know, he did not make his NHL debut until he was 28, and he did not become a full time started until he was 32. At age 36 he led the Bruins to a Stanley Cup while winning the Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophies. More astonishing than his late-blooming career, is how much he bounced around before he even made it to the NHL.
Thomas played for the University of Vermont from 1993-97. He played alongside Martin St. Louis on what has to be the All-Overlooked-Team of the past twenty years. Thomas was drafted 217th by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1994 NHL Draft. Before he made his NHL debut in 2002, Thomas played in the ECHL, IHL, Finnish SM-Liiga, AHL, Finland again, IHL again, and Sweden. During the 04-05 lockout Thomas went to Finland for a third stint in the SM-Liiga.
Tuukka Rask had a much more conventional path to the NHL. The 21st overall pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2005 NHL Draft, Rask made his NHL debut with the Bruins in the 2007-08 season and solidified the backup job by the 09-10 season.
Embarrassing Youtube Clip
Advantage: Rask (Just to be clear, Rask is the winner here because he has the more embarrassing clip.)
On Ice Breakdown Potential
Tuukka Rask is famous for this breakdown from his AHL days:
While there have been no milk crate tosses since he joined the NHL, Rask is always good for a hissyfit or two per season which usually involves him attempting and failing to break his stick on the goal post.
Thomas on-ice-breakdowns are harder to find because when he gets upset the results usually look like this
Surprisingly Thomas is the guy who keeps it together on the ice while Rask is the one likely to lose his s**t.
Playoff Beard Swag
Tim Thomas is not one to back down from a fight. Back in 2011, Thomas got in this little scuffle with Canadiens goaltender Carey Price:
While not much of an actual fight, give Thomas props for trying. Thomas and Price start off okay but then mutually realize that they both do not want to get punched in the face. Thomas is also not afraid to go after non-goalies on the ice. Here he is getting into it with Alex Burrows during the Cup Finals against the Canucks:
Rask hasn’t been involved in too many scuffles but he did have a thing with Sidney Crosby during this year’s Eastern Conference Final.
While Rask scores points for getting involved with the leagues best player their interaction was pretty benign so Thomas gets the victory here.
Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas have never been opposing goalies in the NHL. That would be hard to do seeing as they played on the same team. With Timmy in Florida and Tuukka in Boston, tonight’s game between the Panthers and Bruins will be the first head-to-head matchup of the two goalies.
Swearing on Live TV
This is just an excuse for me to add these two videos of Rask swearing in interviews. In the first video he calls the Boston ice sh*tty and in the second, he drops an F-bomb.
Not really a legitimate category but Tuukka gets the point nonetheless.
Winner: Tim Thomas
With a final score of 5-3 Tim Thomas takes the Ultimate Breakdown Championship beating out his ex-battery mate Tuukka Rask. The head-to-head category will be decided when these two goalies face tonight. Whether it is on the ice, in the bathroom mirror or at the White House, Thomas is always willing to mix it up a bit and in the end, it was that willingness to mix things up that won him the title.
What do you think? Any categories I missed? Think I was too much of a homer in favor of Thomas? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and follow The Rat Trick on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest.