Tim Thomas of the Florida Panthers makes a save during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins on Jan. 28, 2014 at TD Garden in Boston. Credit: Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images
Former Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas played a terrible game Tuesday night, surrendering all six goals in a 6-2 blowout loss. But the Panthers netminder’s night went from bad to worse at the very end of the game.
With just three seconds left in the third period, Bruins forward Carl Soderberg attempted to hit the puck mid-air; he missed, and hit Thomas near his neck instead. Thomas quickly retaliated by nailing Soderberg Paul Bunyan-style on the back of his head.
Thomas was given a two-minute penalty for high-sticking, but the cheap shot will almost certainly earn him a suspension of some kind.
Thomas, who has never received a suspension from the NHL, was quick to defend his actions.
“Soderberg, the play before that he did quite a hard jab and then all of the sudden the puck is up in the air, you’re catching it, and his stick is in my throat…with less than a minute left in a game and they’re up by four goals, 6-2, I took exception to that,” he told reporters after the game.
When asked about the incident, Carl Soderberg said, “We can’t stop playing just because the game has, like, 30 seconds left…”
Soderberg’s coach Claude Julien defended his player’s actions, saying, “It doesn’t matter what time of game; you tell your players to play until the final whistle, and that’s what he does.”