The Philadelphia Flyers are rumored to be potentially replacing Ilya Bryzgalov with former Boston Bruins goaltender, Tim Thomas. For a team that has longed for a reliable netminder, the move wouldn’t be that surprising.
In reality, though, the Flyers are swapping “Mr. Universe” for “Mr. Politics” and with both players come a certain media scrutiny.
For Bryzgalov, the writers and he just simply never found common ground and were constantly butting heads. In Thomas’ case, it’s not the writers, it’s the fans and the American citizens who he occasionally clashes with.
In sports, there’s no clear separation between athletics and politics, but many professional athletes like to steer clear of the national spotlight when it comes to presidential races or controversial topics.
Meanwhile, Thomas welcomes it with open arms.
His political reverence came to fruition after his decision to skip the ceremonial White House appearance all Stanley Cup champions (and major sports champions) take part in. The reason behind it? Thomas was against President Barack Obama and his policies, making it known where his political stance resides.
Thomas’ values eventually led to a conservative blogger citing the goaltender as a “true Tea Party patriot.” He also is a generous donor to a conservative non-profit organization, FreedomWorks and was on the record as saying he would love to be like Glenn Beck one day. Thomas even went as far to cite Beck’s website, The Blaze, and one of its articles as one of the reasons he took a year off from hockey.
The example he linked to in supporting his “retirement” was quite comical, actually, claiming the economy’s dim outlook as the reason “hockey’s just not important right now,” according to his since deleted Facebook post. So while Bryzgalov had his occasional “Universe” comments, which I think were completely overdone and only came to such heights because of 24/7, Thomas took a year off because of his concern over the economy.
Give me a break.
There’s nothing wrong with his beliefs, that’s simply his opinion, but there’s no reason Philadelphia needs to deal with another goaltender who’s focus on the actual game is debated. Bryzgalov’s head was in outer space (literally) while Thomas’ head is off in Washington D.C. worrying about the political future of this country.
The Flyers need to avoid media circuses and players who have an agenda, which is the case with Thomas and his political quest. I’m not knocking Thomas’ ability, even though that can be questioned after taking a year off from hockey, but I’d rather see Philadelphia take a more serious approach and sign a veteran goalie who has no baggage.
Moreover, I’d rather see them sign a veteran who has one thing in mind: winning.
A journalism student at Rowan University, Kyle is a Big Ten Reporter for Scout.com (owned by Fox Sports) and spent the 2013 season interning with the Philadelphia Flyers.