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Dineen: Thomas ‘great option’ to start Panthers’ season opener

Sep 30, 2013, 10:50 AM EDT

TimThomas Getty Images

Sounds as though Tim Thomas will be an opening night starter.

On Sunday, Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen said Thomas would be a “great option” to start Florida’s first game in Dallas on Thursday, all but confirming earlier reports Thomas would enter the season as the team’s No. 1 netminder.

“Tim has really established himself with our team and our organization within a short period of time,” Dineen told the Miami Herald. “[Thomas] is a good guy and a real solid player for us right now.

“He’s a great option for us on Thursday night.”

The remarks speak to how quickly things have changed in Florida over the last two weeks.

After Scott Clemmensen went down to injury, it was expected 23-year-old Jacob Markstrom would begin the year as the team’s starter. But Florida flipped the script by bringing Thomas to camp on a PTO in mid-September, then signing him to a one-year deal shortly thereafter.

Thomas then shined in his first preseason action, stopping nine of 10 shots in a loss to Tampa Bay.

  1. buffhockeynutt - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Wow. This guy has had the jersey on for 5 days after a season off and he’s the starter?
    Panther’s goalie situation has been in shambles
    since Luongo trade.

    • ntvd7 - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:22 PM

      How could you NOT start a former cup / vezina winning goalie?

      • elvispocomo - Sep 30, 2013 at 2:02 PM

        Pretty easy when he’s had a year off and could be rusty, not to mention that when he did win the Vezina he did it behind Boston’s D – which is clearly better than Florida’s. That hinges on the other option playing well enough to make that choice a no brainer though. Look at New Jersey with Schneider; Brodeur might have to fight for the starting job when he comes back.

  2. tjvalley - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    I think the panthers have done a great job of addressing there weaknesses with what was out there. They will be a better team faster.

  3. tctctime - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    I love the Panthers…but they are a Farm team that has to live off of other teams scraps…it’s unfortunate that the NHL allows such disparity. Put them in a market where they can compete successfully…it’s a sad situation that is only getting worse. I benefit by being able to bring my family of 5 to the games for less than $100, but it’s a joke to see more fans for the visiting team than the Panthers. It’s almost as bad as baseball…maybe they should change their name to the Marlins and share in the rigors of disparity.

    • nflnhlrulznbasux - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:22 PM

      You have got to be joking. Disparity? In the NHL? Disparity? Where the majority of teams have a chance to win the cup every year, never mind just make the playoff? Disparity? Where the NBWWF has only 5 bought teams who have a chance to win what ever belt or trophy or whatever they call it. You’re talkin’ Disparity? Where the Yankees and Red Sox spend 200 mill per year on salaries to guarantee to be there every year? Disparity? …Disparity? Where in football, if your team doesn’t have the name Cowboys, Niners, Steelers or Packers, Patriots attached to the logo, then you won’t win in February? Disparity?
      You are wanting a market that can compete successfully like Toronto?
      Take a family of 5 to a game for $100, Panthers have won a cup recently, have experienced management in place, have a new owner committed to winning, have a wonderful arena, are in a newly created excellent fan drawing division, have terrific young nucleus, a solid proven world class goaltender, live in a warm climate area with the top professional hockey league in the world…and you’re complaining? Why don’t you just move to Edmonton or some other s h I t hole and see what cheering for a loser team is all about.

  4. buffhockeynutt - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    I’m not saying that T. Thomas can’t excel once again, just seems risky so soon. I guess team’s options have them there.

  5. einjzmolf - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Digging the mask and graf stick! Haha.

    • gekkoguy82 - Oct 1, 2013 at 10:38 AM

      He looks like the second coming of Arturs Irbe, what with that lid and the all white pads :-P haha

  6. valoisvipers - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Goal tending is like riding a bike, you never forget.
    So what he took time off, the guy is an unorthodox-ed stud with a ring and a record to prove it.

    • greenmtnboy31 - Sep 30, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      I have to agree. This is a great move and a nice steal by Florida, despite what the haters and the “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” donkeys in Boston have to say. TT is his own man and he’s been that way looooong before he carried the hapless Bruins to a Stanley Cup victory after 40 years of dismal embarrassing performance. Some don’t like it; too bad. He’s got the pedigree to pull of a move like this and he’s doing exactly what he said he was going to do when he announced he was taking a year off. He took his year off and now he’s back to prove himself once again. He is a man who is confident in his own abilities. He was this way when he was drafted out of college (UVM) and demanded more money when Colorado was trying to sign him, but he wouldn’t cave in. That cost him several years in the league, because Colorado had this guy name Roy at the time and didn’t have the patience for TT’s shenanigans. Maybe Colorado shouldn’t have walked away at the time and then they would have had an able bodied replacement for the day Roy hung up the skates. As it turned out, Colorado didn’t have a good plan B and Thomas was relegated to playing in Europe until his got another shot, which we now know he made the most of. My money is on Thomas to put up and shut up all the doubting Thomas’ out among would be hockey fans.

      • elvispocomo - Sep 30, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        Thomas is not a bad goalie despite questions about being rusty, how he’ll hold up over a full season and his off-ice opinions, but in no way were the Bruins hapless in 2011 and nor did he alone carry them to victory. A Norris winning D and a Selke winning center say hello, as well as the rest of the supporting cast (whoever that might include) that brought that team to the finals.

  7. hazlydose - Sep 30, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    Thomas starting will allow Markstrom to develop without being fed to the wolves. Good move by Florida.

  8. arbruins - Sep 30, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    So, how much does his snubbing of Obama affect his usual excellent goal tending….not at all you pot stirring media pukes. Thomas is probably the hardest working hockey player skating. I hope he stays healthy and has another stellar year.

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