By Bill Whitehead
SUNRISE, Fla. – Newly arrived goaltender Tim Thomas is known for his work ethic and competitiveness.
No one in the Panthers’ dressing room knows that more than newcomer Brad Boyes.
Also in Florida’s camp on a tryout like Thomas, Boyes supported general manager Dale Tallon’s glowing assessment of the former Boston Bruins goaltender, who arrived in South Florida Monday and was seen exiting the BB&T Center before Florida’s doubleheader against the Nashville Predators.
“He’s a proven winner,” said Boyes, who scored a goal in Florida’s 6-3 win in Game 1. “He’s a guy I played with a few years ago, so I know him a little bit. The guy competes. He’s one guy, that of everyone I’ve played with, as a goalie, he’s probably the hardest working as far as practice in not letting guys score on him.
“It’s impressive. A guy like that, a guy with his stature, his experience, to come in here is going to be big.”
Boyes said that feistiness will carry Thomas the rest of training camp and into the season. Florida expects the former University of Vermont goalie to travel with them to Texas and immediately fit in with the club. The Panthers play a pair of games in the Lone Star State this week before returning to Florida for a contest against the Lightning in Tampa on Saturday.
Boyes said the two often had intense battles in practice while with the Bruins.
“He never gives up on anything. It’s impressive. He’ll keep going. He’ll get angry [if you score on him in practice]. It’s good. So, rub it in when you do score,” said Boyes, who played two seasons with Thomas in Boston.
“It shows in the games he plays, the number of highlight saves he’s made. Guys think they have him and Timmy comes across or comes out of nowhere and makes a save. It is good. A guy like that, with his resume, on a team like this is going to be positive.”
Boyes also stated Thomas won’t be coming in to ride the bench behind Swedish goalie Jacob Markstrom and expects to start. He added that the 39-year-old Michigan netminder will be a strong asset to the club.
“I think he will. He’s very competitive. He’s going to want to win. He’s going to want to play, so he’s going to be a guy who pushes other guys. As a goalie, he’s going to give his team a chance to win every night. That’s something that is huge. You win in this league with good goaltending and that’s a positive with him winning a Stanley Cup, Vezinas,” said Boyes, who has bolstered his chance of making the roster with his scoring touch.
“He’s a very competitive guy, and that’s what he brings.”
Put your money on Boyes and Thomas chirping one another again in practice. Only this time it will be in Coral Springs.