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Panthers in ‘no rush’ to get Thomas into game action

Sep 19, 2013, 10:38 AM EDT

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While many are curious to see Tim Thomas play in an NHL contest for the first time in over 17 months, it sounds as though they’ll have to wait.

“I won’t be judging Tim Thomas on one look at an exhibition game,” Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen told the Florida Sun-Sentinel on Wednesday. “That certainly won’t be a make or break situation.

“Because of that I’m not going to be in any rush to get him in.”

Thomas, 39, joined the team on Monday and has participated in a pair of practices, reporting no setbacks.

Florida will play a pair of exhibition contests this weekend — a Friday-Saturday back-to-back against the Stars and Lightning — then have nearly a week off before playing the Lightning again next Thursday.

Ergo, it’s safe to assume we won’t see Thomas participating in game action until Sept. 26th at the earliest, barring a major change of heart from the organization over the next 72 hours.

In case you’re curious, Thomas’ last time on NHL ice came during the 2012 playoffs, when his Bruins lost to the Capitals 2-1 in overtime of Game 7 of the opening round.

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