Thomas takes home Conn Smythe

Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas poses with family and the Conn Smythe Trophy after Game 7 of the...

Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas poses with family and the Conn Smythe Trophy after Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final in Vancouver, B.C., June 15, 2011. (ERIC BOLTE/QMI Agency)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:05 AM ET

VANCOUVER - He’s only five years removed from playing in Finland and the American Hockey League.

Tim Thomas is a blue collar guy from hardscrabble Flint, Mich.

Five years ago, he had to make a decision: stay in Finland or come back and try and make it in the NHL.

“I’m very happy with the decision to come back, but it was a tough decision at the time,” said the Boston Bruins goaltender, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP after shutting out the Vancouver Canucks in the Bruins Stanley Cup-clinching win at Rogers Arena Wednesday night.

“Having said that, I would have been happy to have stayed (in Finland).”

Having fought for everything he’s gotten, Thomas is taking nothing for granted.

“I know how this game is,” he said after parading the Cup around the ice. “Winning the Stanley Cup is huge. The biggest accomplishment of my career so far. But everyone knows if I start next season bad, probably the Cup has bought me a little leeway, but it won’t last forever unless I turn my game around.”

Thomas is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy and is in a position for wonderful triple: the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe and the Vezina, a crowning achievement for the 37-year-old.

A blue collar guy, surrounded by silver.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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