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It’s tough to talk when you’re drinking from the Stanley Cup.

A native of Flint, Mich., Thomas was an All-American at the University of Vermont who was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques. He played for nine teams in five leagues in three countries on two continents _ winning the MVP in Finland _ before coming to the Bruins for another chance in the NHL in 2005.

“I didn’t want to think about the NHL, because it seemed like it was so far away,” Thomas said of his odyssey through the minors and Europe. “But having said that, I was happy playing where I was playing. I was playing in a very good league, and I had a lot of good friends over there. I’m very happy that I made the decision to come back. It was a tough decision at the time, but it paid off in the long run.”

Thomas won the Vezina in 2009 and made the U.S. Olympic team last year, but a hip injury cost him his Bruins starting job to Tuukka Rask, who started for Boston throughout last season’s playoffs. He was also a backup in the Olympics to Buffalo’s Ryan Miller.

But after offseason surgery, he won his NHL job back, and he isn’t likely to give it up any time soon.