Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/12/11 at 02:48 PM ET
Q. Tim, you and Ken Dryden are likely the only two goaltenders that graduated from college and gone this deep into the finals. Have you thought about that and what that’s meant to the college game and this run for you so far?
TIM THOMAS: Well, I didn’t realize that me and Dryden were the only two. You know, it’s an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as Ken Dryden. He played at Cornell, the same league that I played college hockey at.
When I was in college, I remember looking at what he’d accomplished and his stats. Those were stats that I was gunning for to try and reach in college because he had a good college career. I read his book either when I was in college or I think the year after I was out of college, too, and gained some insight from that.
So I didn’t realize that was the case. I would like to hope that I can finish it off and get the Cup like he did.
Q. Tim, Roberto Luongo had some things to say about the one goal you allowed in Game 5. Did you hear what he had to say and how do you feel about it?
TIM THOMAS: I did hear about what he said, but I don’t really want to go into that. My focus is on what I can do to help my team win going into Game 6 here. It’s obviously a “must win” game and I think it’s important for our whole team to focus on that game and what we can do on the ice.
Q. Tim, around this whole series there has been a lot of Mike Milbury’s calling the twins names, Luongo critiquing your game, a lot of playground stuff at the most important time of the year. Any idea why?
TIM THOMAS: No, no, I’m not sure, you know. What Mike Milbury says is totally outside of anything that happens in the locker room and, you know, I know nobody on our team talks specifically about guys on the other team in that way.
I think we’ve done a good job of focusing on the important things, which is what you can do on the ice and I think that’s what helped us to get this far. As a player, I think that’s your job.
There is obviously going to be talk in the media and they’re going to talk about a whole bunch of different topics and that’s fine. When I watched playoffs in the past, sometimes it’s fun to listen to what is said, but when you’re playing, I think the best course is to remain focused on what you can control and that’s on the ice.
Q. Tim, I think you would agree tomorrow is probably the biggest game of your life, and at the same time how do you keep focused when you have millions and millions of hockey fans following every play? It has turned into an exciting series, so talk about the process and everything distracting you.
TIM THOMAS: The first thing I do is don’t think about the millions and millions of people that are watching (Laughter). There are only 12 players out on the ice at any given time, max, and the ice surface is the same size. There is only one puck in play at all times, and I think you just focus on the nuances of the game.
Really, you just pretend—you don’t pretend that the fans aren’t there, but I guess what I’m trying to say is it shouldn’t matter whether you have a packed building or playing in an empty rink. You’re focus is on the game and playing the game. You try to get the same focus that you had as a kid when you were out playing on the pond and you’re just enjoying the game.
Really, if you approach it like that it can be really fun.
Q. Tim, Darren Pang always talks about the goalie union, that you guys all stick together. I know you don’t want to comment on what Roberto said, but he also said you didn’t say anything nice about him. Did you want to comment on that?
TIM THOMAS: I guess I didn’t realize it was my job to pump his tires (laughter). I guess I have to apologize for that.
I still think I’m the goaltender on the union side and I stick with all the other goalies. In being one and knowing what it takes to perform at this level and with this amount of pressure, I understand to a certain extent what every other goaltender is going through.
I guess that’s that.
Q. Tim, any reason why you think the games here have been so vastly different from the games in Vancouver?
TIM THOMAS: Well, I guess you would have to say that home ice has been an advantage in both cases.
You know, it’s not always that way during any playoff series, but that seems to be the way it’s turned out so far.
We would like to hope that that’s the case again tomorrow, but really we can’t depend on that. We have to depend on the game that we bring to the ice, and that’s what our focus should be on.
Q. Tim, it seems like you guys have gotten motivation out of all that other “outside stuff” in this series. Why do you think that is?
TIM THOMAS: I can only speak for myself and I haven’t paid that much attention to it. When I sit here and say that I truly am focused on what I have to do on the ice, I’m not just making that up. That’s where I try to put 100% of my focus.
You do have distractions, so sometimes you have to overcome them from the outside. But I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that so far and that’s what I continue to try to do going forward.
Q. Tim, you referenced the ponds back in Michigan and such. Do you think about those kids that you played with at all? Do you have time to think about them? What are your thoughts about that?
TIM THOMAS: Yeah, yeah, I still think of some of the people that I grew up playing with. I stay in touch with a few of ‘em. Even if I’m not in touch directly with some of the others, I’ve heard about what they’re doing and what’s going on in their life.
It’s the same thing with the people that I played with, you know, in college and in Finland and in every level, I think of my previous teammates, yeah.
Q. Just a thought in practice, the mood of your team, you guys have been in so many of these types of games, even in the postseason.
TIM THOMAS: I think we had a good mood. We played at home, traveled most of the day, played the next day, traveled most of the next day, same as Vancouver. What we had yesterday off the ice, having two days between games, I think it’s a nice opportunity to catch up on some rest.
We knew we needed to go out there and have a practice, get our feet moving, practice some of the little things, just taking shots, for me saving shots, and I think it was a good attitude out there.
What’s the most important is what we do once the puck drops at 8:00 tomorrow night.
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