Rask getting chance at lifelong goal of starting in net

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Rask getting chance at lifelong goal of starting in net

BOSTON -- Tuukka Rask has never played more than 45 regular-season games in a single year for the Boston Bruins, and hes always had to share the goaltending picture with the more established, oft-times brilliant Tim Thomas.

But now Thomas has walked away from the Bruins and the NHL, and the 25-year-old Rask suddenly finds himself as the guy between the pipes in Boston. Hes already proven how good he can be while leading the NHL in goals against average and save percentage during his rookie season, and Rask actually finished with better numbers than Thomas when last season (2.05 goals against average and a .929 save percentage) was finally in the books.

But now Rask gets the keys to the car after playing two years in the AHL with the Providence Bruins and sharing things with Thomas for three more seasons.

All my life this has pretty much been the goal. I played some games my first year consistently, but the year after was a step back in terms of playing time, said Rask, who was in Boston to visit the children getting treatment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute prior to speaking with the media. Ive been waiting for a few years and its going to be interesting to see how I handle it.

Its going to be a challenge, but Im always up for a challenge. Im going to make the most of it and have some fun.

The 6-foot-2, 171-pound Rask is going to have to prove he can handle a 60-plus game workload and maintain his performance deep into the playoffs, but the only way to prove any of those things is by going out and actually doing them. There will be plenty of pressure on Rask working on a one-year deal worth 3.5 million for the Bruins, but the former first round pick has his own expectations.

Rask wants to prove hes the one and only starting goaltender for the Bruins franchise for the long haul, he wants to prove hes one of the best young goalies in the NHL and he wants to show that the Bs wont skip a beat as he replaces Thomas.

Those are lofty aims for Rask, but all the pieces are in place for him to excel surrounded by a defensively responsible group of teammates and a coaching staff that preaches good two-way hockey.

If Rask does all of that then his future in Boston will take care of itself.

Im sure Im going to get every chance possible to play, but if I cant get the job done then there will be more guys coming in, said Rask. We figured that the one-year deal is best for both parties, and then if I have a good year Ill get signed to a longer deal. If I suck then kick me out, you know?

It wasnt tough. We just needed to sit and talk about a few things. The decision to go one-year was a 5050 decision.

Rask was, of course, joking about sucking next year for the Bruins, but fellow twenty-something goalie Anton Khudobin will be around to push the Finnish netminder every step of the way. Most are expecting some difficult moments for the Bruins next year with Thomas out of the picture.

But the sight of a confident, healthy exuberant Rask with training camp six weeks away gives hope hes ready for the responsibility about to be dropped onto his slight shoulders.

Wednesday, Jan. 18: Landeskog wants to stay in Colorado

Wednesday, Jan. 18: Landeskog wants to stay in Colorado

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while thoroughly enjoying Nick Offerman co-hosting on the Today Show this morning.

*Gabriel Landeskog knows his name has been mentioned in trade rumors with teams like the Bruins, but he wants to stay with the Colorado Avalanche.

*The New York Rangers are facing a goalie crisis for the first time in 11 years as Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to show signs of hockey mortality.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the New York Islanders seeking to speak with fired Florida coach Gerard Gallant about their new opening after firing Jack Capuano.

*Ondrej Pavelec has been brought back from the AHL to Winnipeg to rescue the Jets from their goaltending situation, and he wants to stay for as long as he can.

*Rene Bourque has reached the 700 game mark in his NHL career with the Colorado Avalanche, and he hopes to keep it going.

*Young star Jack Eichel’s hunger for greatness could certainly lend itself to a leadership role with the Buffalo Sabres

*For something completely different: Hollywood is thinking of rebooting “White Men Can’t Jump” and this is simply the worst idea ever. I’d rather watch a movie with Woody and Snipes 25 years later than a lame reboot.

 


 

Haggerty: Bruins would be foolish to trade Brandon Carlo

Haggerty: Bruins would be foolish to trade Brandon Carlo

There’s been smoke for weeks signaling trade talks between the Boston Bruins and the Colorado Avalanche, and things are reportedly heating up with the Bruins potentially reaching a tipping point with their subpar play on the ice. According to Bleacher Report columnist Adrian Dater, things may be progressing between the two teams because the Bruins are beginning to entertain the idea of trading away 20-year-old top pairing rookie defenseman Brandon Carlo.

Bruins Director of Player Personnel John Ferguson Jr. was expected to be out in Colorado scouting the Avalanche/Blackhawks game on Tuesday night, and perhaps getting a long look at players like Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene and Tyson Barrie among others.

The expectation is that 24-year-old Landeskog is in the middle of these trade discussions, and that he would be one of the players targeted by a Bruins team that could use more size on the wing, and more players that can put the puck in the net. Certainly Landeskog has done that in his brief NHL career after being a No. 2 overall pick, and has four 20-goal seasons on his resume prior to a disappointing, injury-plagued current season in Colorado.

The word around the league was that talks fizzled between the Bruins and Avs previously when Joe Sakic asked about the availability of the Colorado Springs native Carlo, and those discussions hit the same crunching roadblock that Winnipeg did in discussions with Boston about Jacob Trouba.

Perhaps that has changed in the last 24 hours after Cam Neely and Don Sweeney watched their Bruins completely no-show against the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the New York Islanders, on Monday afternoon. Now one would expect that Bruins management is getting desperate feeling that a third “Did Not Qualify” for the Stanley Cup playoffs could be in their future if they don’t make a bold, swift move to shake up their dazed hockey club.

But let’s not pull any punches here. The entire Bruins management group should be fired on the spot if they trade a 20-year-old, top pairing shutdown defenseman on an entry level contract like Carlo unless they are getting a bona fide superstar in return. Carlo, Charlie McAvoy and David Pastrnak should all be young, untouchable assets for a Bruins organization that is years away from legitimately holding a chance at a Stanley Cup.

Landeskog is not a bona fide superstar. He’s a good player that’s topped out at 26 goals and 65 points in the NHL, but he’s also the Captain on a horrendous, underachieving Avalanche team over the last three years.

If the price were right for Landeskog it would make all the sense in the world for the Bruins to deal him, but it’s a giant honking red flag that Colorado is looking to unload a player like him that’s signed for a reasonable $5.5 million price tag over the next four seasons. Teams don’t trade young players like that with term unless there’s more to the story, and that’s something the Bruins would do well to consider before giving up a player that could be a top-4 shutdown defenseman in Boston for the next 10 years.

Teams like the Bruins that are in reloading mode also shouldn’t be trading 20-year-old players for 24-year-old players that have already cashed in on their second contract. That’s exactly how the Bruins can get right back into salary cap trouble, and do it with a team that’s producing far less than the Peter Chiarelli groups that were at least still making the playoffs.  

Certainly the Bruins have other young D-men like Charlie McAvoy, Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon coming down the pipeline, but none of those defensemen are in the mold of a true shutdown D like the 6-foot-5 Carlo. With Zdeno Chara in the final few years of his career with the Black and Gold, the B’s are going to need Carlo to slide into that defensive stopper role given his size, strength, wing span and willingness to do the dirty work the D-zone.

That goes beyond the simple fact that rebuilding the back end with ALL of those young stud D-men is the best way to actually build the Bruins back up into a legitimate Eastern Conference power. 

It would be a giant mistake for the Bruins to ship away a player like Carlo with the hope Landeskog can put Boston over the hump for the playoffs this season, and perhaps ease some of the intense pressure currently weighing on Sweeney and Neely. That kind of desperate move smacks of doing it for all of the wrong reasons, and that’s one way to ensure that the Bruins will never escape the web of mediocrity that they’re currently caught in.