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Video: Tim Thomas bounces back from struggles in 2009-10 season

May 21, 2011, 3:24 PM EDT

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Tim Thomas AP

If a player manages to make it to the NHL level, it’s likely that person isn’t a quitter. Even the most talented athlete must roll with some punches at the game’s lower levels to make it to the pros, whether it be junior/college hockey, the minors, international leagues or a combination of those three.

Even in a field full of resilient athletes, Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas stands out as a true battler. You can see it in the way he occasionally flops around to make a big save and the way he bounced back from an off-year in 2009-10 to return to elite status during this season and the playoffs.

Maybe his return to form shouldn’t be so surprising considering the bumpy road Thomas traveled to the NHL. Take a look at his curious path through various leagues once he graduated from the University of Vermont. (Games played for each team listed in parenthesis.)

1997-98

HIFK (Helsingin IFK)  (6 games) – Finnish league
Houston Aeros (1 game)

98-99
Hamilton Bulldogs (15)
HIFK (14)

99-00
Detroit Vipers (36)

00-01
AIK (Allmänna Idrottsklubben Ishockeyförening) (43) – Swedish league

01-02
Kärpät (32) – Finnish league

02-03
Providence Bruins (35)
Boston Bruins (4)

03-04
Providence Bruins (43)

04-05
Jokerit (54) – Finnish league

05-06
Providence Bruins (26)
Boston Bruins (38)

06-07 – current
Boston Bruins (277)

So, as you can see, Thomas is quite comfortable with adversity. The video below focuses on how he bounced back in 2010-11 after a tough 09-10 campaign.

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