December 7, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- Tim Thomas took a few hunting trips during his sabbatical from hockey, including one journey to Florida where he ended up snagging an alligator.
He's back in Florida, and gators aren't exactly on his mind this time.
Declaring himself "reborn" after more than a year off, Thomas was back on NHL ice Tuesday, working out with the Florida Panthers for the first time since agreeing to a tryout deal with the club. The goaltender with two Vezina Trophies and a Stanley Cup on his resume will accompany the Panthers starting Wednesday for their three-game, four-day road trip to Dallas, San Antonio and Tampa, Fla.
"After 14 years of pro hockey, I got tired and I needed a break," Thomas said. "Now I'm energized and I'm looking forward to it."
Thomas came to Florida to compete for a starting job and will only need to beat Jacob Markstrom to win that role. Markstrom has been the Panthers' goalie of the future for some time and arrived in this camp expecting to finally be the No. 1 guy -- especially with veteran Scott Clemmensen recovering from knee surgery that may keep him off the ice until next month.
Markstrom didn't seem bothered in any way by Thomas' arrival.
"It's the best league in the world," Markstrom said. "It's not supposed to be easy. It's going to be a fun experience and I'm really excited."
For his part, Thomas said he is willing to help Markstrom however he can.
"I never competed against the other goalie on my team," Thomas said. "That's the way that people want to frame it, that it's a competition between goalies, but that's not the way I look at it. I'm competing against myself. And if I play the best that I can, I'm going to get the results that I want and I'm going to get the playing time that I want."
Thomas agreed to the deal on Monday and all indications are that the tryout is a mere precursor to an actual contract for the 39-year-old goalie who was outstanding with the Boston Bruins for parts of eight seasons.
MONTREAL -- Tennis player Aleksandra Wozniak was apparently not pleased when the Montreal Canadiens included centre Louis Leblanc among their first cuts from training camp.
The former world No. 21 from Blainville, Que., sent messages on Twitter in French and in English blasting the Canadiens for the move on Tuesday. The messages have since been deleted.
One message read: "He did everything the CH organization told him to do and what... get cut this early? Oh and the reason... worst excuse ever! This is wrong"
A tweet in French read: "A real joke with the worst excuse for cutting someone. Truly not a fair shot."
She did not say what reason was given for cutting Leblanc, who was drafted 18th overall by Montreal in 2009.
Various media reports described 23-year-old Leblanc as 26-year-old Wozniak's boyfriend.
Plagued by injuries in recent seasons, Wozniak has dropped to 377th in WTA rankings.
OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators signed forward Curtis Lazar to a three-year entry-level contract on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old centre was the Senators' first-round pick (17th overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. The 6-0, 196-pound native of Salmon Arm, B.C., will enter his third full season of major junior hockey with the Western Hockey League's Edmonton Oil Kings in 2013-'14.
-- The Canadian Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 18, 2013 C4