Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas won the Conn Smythe Trophy last night, and he undoubtedly deserved it--no one was more important to their team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs than Thomas.
In winning the trophy, Thomas became the oldest player to receive the honor, at age 37. His playing throughout the playoffs was not just crucial to the Bruins, it was record-breaking. Thomas had the most saves ever in a Stanley Cup Finals series at 238, the most saves in a playoff run with 798, and this capped a regular season with the highest save percentage in history, at .938.
His save percentage in the finals was .967, and Thomas completely shut out the opposing team in the Bruins' win-or-go-home scenario of the Stanley Cup Finals' last two games. He was the first goalie to blank an opponent in a Stanley Cup Game 7 on the road. Thomas is only the fifth out of 40 recipients of the Conn Smythe Trophy to be born outside of Canada.
Thomas guarded the crease for every second in Boston's postseason.
The Michigan native played college hockey for the University of Vermont and was drafted in the NHL in 1994 but toiled in the minor leagues and in Europe for several years before coming to the Bruins in 2002 at age 28.
2011 is the year of hardware for Thomas. In addition to the Conn Smythe Trophy, he will undoubtedly receive the 2011 Vezina Trophy next week for being the goaltender who proved most valuable to his team during the regular season.