Tim Thomas: Controversy 'media-driven'

OTTAWA -- Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, who has become something of a political lightning rod lately, weighed in Friday on his beliefs that the federal government is "out of control."

Thomas, who's drawn criticism for choosing not to attend the White House ceremony Jan. 23 honoring the reigning Stanley Cup champion team, reiterated that he believes his decision has been blown out of proportion.

"[The controversy] is all media-driven and it has been from the start. Everything that I said and did was as an individual. It was not as a representative of the Boston Bruins," Thomas said Friday at All-Star Weekend in Ottawa. "All it has to do is with me. But it's separate from hockey. That's my personal life and those are my personal views. Those are my personal beliefs. It has nothing to do with hockey. It has nothing to do with this All-Star Game. It has nothing to do with the Boston Bruins."

Despite being chastised publicly by the likes of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Sen. Scott Brown, Thomas remained unfazed Friday by the controversy that seemingly won't die.

"I don't think I should address stuff that's made up out of thin air," Thomas said. "I would really appreciate if people would leave my teammates and my family out of it. I'm looking forward to getting back on the ice because that's what I do and that's what I love. I'm still going to have a lot of fun with it."

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who as an All-Star captain selected Thomas for his team with his second draft pick, offered support Friday for his beleaguered teammate.

"I'm not surprised about [the backlash] but I know it's tough for him to go through it," Chara said. "But we as a team, nothing is going to change and we're still going to play the same way. I don't think it's going to change the way we act to each other and behave to each other in the locker room. We always had a strong bond and it's something that he addressed and he's going to have to deal with."

Several NHL All-Stars expressed opposing views Friday about Thomas' decision to skip the event hosted by President Barack Obama.

"That's how Timmy views it and you gotta respect how anyone thinks in this world and you never know," said Phil Kessel, a former Bruin who's now with the Maple Leafs. "I'm a little surprised at the reaction. I think people sometimes read too much into it and make a big deal out of it."

Flyers winger Scott Hartnell was less sympathetic.

"I'm not a big political guy or whatever, but for me it's a team event and should be an honor to be in the White House no matter what your political views are," Hartnell said. "It would've been the right thing to do to go there and enjoy the day, and who's gonna say he'll ever have another opportunity like that to go there again?"

Information from ESPNBoston.com's James Murphy and The Associated Press was used in this report.