Alas, the Tim Thomas-Roberto Luongo marriage, which had as much whacky promise as famously dysfunctional matches like Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold or a Kardashian and just about anybody, never got out of the gate.
Less than 24 hours after Luongo and Thomas were thrown together as goaltending partners, they were divorced, as the Florida Panthers traded Thomas to the Dallas Stars shortly before Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline. The Panthers received the Stars’ backup goaltender, Dan Ellis, in the deal but the peace and quiet achieved by avoiding a Luongo-Thomas duo is a nice bonus.
Actually, Thomas and Luongo never got to share the same dressing room, as the latter did not join the Panthers until Wednesday. Thomas played his last game with the Panthers on Tuesday, losing 4-1 to his old team, the Boston Bruins.
News of Thomas’s trade was broken by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, which prompted a comical reaction on Twitter from Luongo: “@TSNBobMcKenzie NOOOO!!!!!!!!”
Those sentiments are shared by the media and many hockey fans, given the potential drama between the pair. This goes back to the 2011 Stanley Cup final when Luongo, then playing for the Vancouver Canucks, criticized the aggressive style of Thomas, who backstopped the Bruins to the championship.
A day later, Luongo tried to smooth things over and said of Thomas, “I’ve been pumping his tires ever since the series started and I haven’t heard one nice thing he had to say about me.” This sent reporters scurrying across the hall to Thomas, who replied, “I guess I didn’t realize it was my job to pump his tires. I guess I have to apologize for that.”
However, it looks like there may not have been any fireworks if the match had lasted, judging by remarks Thomas made in Boston on Tuesday after Panthers general manager Dale Tallon made the Luongo trade.
“I did have one good line that probably somebody else has already thought of: It looked like [Tallon] went kicking some tires and found one that needed pumping,” Thomas told reporters. “It’ll be interesting.
“But you know what? I don’t know how things are going to work out, but assuming I’m staying in Florida, it’ll be interesting. I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be fun.”
No one got the chance to find out, as Tallon sent Thomas, 39, to Dallas. He will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and the Stars are in the market for insurance for No. 1 goaltender Kari Lethonen. Ellis let in four goals on less than 20 shots Tuesday in a 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, which spelled the end for him.
Thomas agreed to waive his no-movement right for the trade to proceed. In 39 appearances for the Panthers this season, he has a 16-20-3 record with a .909 save percentage and 2.87 goals-against average.
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