It would appear that if Kevin Paul Dupont were king, he would be exploring how to send the Stanley Cup Finals exploits of Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas last year down the memory hole. Thomas “held the Canucks to eight goals in seven games” and became the first goalie ever to shut out his team’s opponent in a deciding Game 7 on the road, helping the Bruins win their first Cup in almost 40 years.
Since he can’t do that, the Boston Globe sportswriter appears to want to use Thomas’s absence from the team’s White House visit three weeks ago and subsequent Facebook postings as evidence that Thomas’s “legacy” is in danger (his article’s headline states that Thomas needs to “restore” it). In making his supposed case, the self-professed “confused” Dupont made and repeated a fundamental factual error. Those errors destroy any credibility he may have had in portraying Thomas’s decision and subsequent Facebook postings as somehow disrupting team unity:
Thomas skipped a White House visit, which was a mandatory team event.
… Skipping the mandatory team event could have prompted Chiarelli to fine or suspend him.
That’s strange, since New England Sports Network’s Ricky Doyle quoted a top Bruins executive as follows on the day of Thomas’s White House absence:
Tim Thomas, one of two Americans on the Bruins roster, decided to skip the White House event, general manager Peter Chiarelli said.
… Chiarelli also said that he will not hold Thomas’ absence against him, as the event was not mandatory, and Thomas’ decision was his to make.
The team’s president also made it clear in his official statement that Thomas was not required to be at the White House:
Below is team president Cam Neely’s statement on the issue on behalf of the team.
“As an organization we were honored by President Obama’s invitation to the White House. It was a great day and a perfect way to cap our team’s achievement from last season. It was a day that none of us will soon forget. We are disappointed that Tim chose not to join us, and his views certainly do not reflect those of the Jacobs family or the Bruins organization. This will be the last public comment from the Bruins organization on this subject.”
It was Thomas’s choice. Attendance was not “mandatory.”
Two days later, EPSN Boston’s Joe McDonald noted that the Bruins knew of Thomas’s intention not to attend for three months:
Chiarelli also said that the organization has known about Thomas’ plans for the last three months, and his statements Monday night were consistent with his conversations with Chiarelli.
“Tim is his own person and he’s been that way for the six years that I’ve been around. That hasn’t changed, and it won’t change,” Chiarelli said. “We won the Stanley Cup and we’re playing well this year.”
Bruins president Cam Neely admitted that he would have liked Thomas to go to the White House, but the goalie “felt very strongly about not going,” so the team respected his wishes.
“I felt this was a team event and it would have been nice for him to be a part of it,” Neely said on 98.5 the Sports Hub.
He said the team didn’t make the event mandatory because “we didn’t think it would be an issue.”
So who do you believe, the team’s president and general manager who knew of Thomas’s plans for months, or a Globe sportswriter with an obvious ax to grind?
I’m not going to waste my time dealing with the rest of Dupont’s diatribe. If he can’t get a basic fact like whether or not an appearance was mandatory right, why bother?
Well, I do need to note one thing concerning Thomas’s legacy: Nothing will ever change what he accomplished last year — and no one, especially a bitter, truth-challenged hack, will ever take it away from him.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.