Scott Burnside is in Las Vegas for the NHL awards and checks in with some thoughts on Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo being back together again:
LAS VEGAS -- One of the prominent back stories to the Stanley Cup finals was the back and forth between Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and Boston's Tim Thomas. How do the kids say it these days? Awwwkwwaaard.
With so much discussion during the series focused on Luongo's comments about Thomas after Game 5 of the finals, the NHL awards might make for some uncomfortable moments with both Luongo and Thomas nominated for the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender.
Luongo suggested that Thomas' style of play may allow him to make some stops that Luongo wouldn't but that the lone goal Thomas allowed in a Game 5 loss would have been an easy stop for Luongo.
The curious decision to offer a critique of an opposing goalie's style was then followed up by Luongo's equally curious complaint that Thomas, who ultimately was named playoff MVP, had said nothing nice about Luongo during the series. Luongo then had a disastrous performance in Game 6, getting pulled before the midpoint of the first period, and an ordinary performance in Game 7.
Thomas, who offered perhaps the best line of the playoffs when he said before Game 6 that he didn't know it was his job to pump Luongo's tires, said Tuesday that he told Luongo while the two sides were shaking hands after Game 7 that he really did think Luongo was a terrific goaltender.
"I remember one of the things I told him going through the line is I said 'for the record, I think you're a great goalie and you had a great season.' Whether [Luongo's comments] were taken out of context or whether it was just part of a mental game that was trying to be played, it doesn't really matter. It's something that happened," Thomas said Tuesday during a pre-awards media availability.
"We compete as hard as we can on the ice, and when we're in the middle of that game or the middle of that series, sometimes emotions get the better of you. When it's all said and done, it's over. I respect everyone that I play against and every team that I play against."
Luongo said he doesn't feel he needs to say anything further to Thomas here at the awards.
"I think everything's cool," Luongo added as he greeted reporters long after Thomas had vacated the media area.
"We had a few words after the series was over, and you know, I've always had a lot of respect for him and I've always said that from the start. Wish him all the best tomorrow and hope he enjoys the Vezina because he's probably going to win it."
Luongo won't go away empty-handed if he does come up short in the Vezina voting as he and partner Cory Schneider won the Jennings Trophy for turning in the lowest team goals-against average in the league.
Click HERE to read more from Scott Burnside, who is in Las Vegas for the NHL awards