Rask getting chance at lifelong goal of starting in net


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.

Thursday, Oct. 27: Chara top D-man on All-Graybeard team


Thursday, Oct. 27: Chara top D-man on All-Graybeard team

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while saying RIP Vine but not really feeling it since it’s a rabbit hole I never really delved down into. 

*Down Goes Brown celebrates the “NHL’s old guys”, and yes, that means a gratuitous shout out to Zdeno Chara as the top defenseman on the All-Graybeard squad. 

*Hampus Lindholm has signed a long term deal with the Anaheim Ducks, so now that deal leaves everybody to wonder who is leaving the Anaheim roster in the eventual salary cap crunch. It will be interesting to see if this hastens any Cam Fowler trade talk as far as the Bruins are concerned because it looks like they need the help.  

*Pro Hockey Talk has the Oilers off to their best start since the Wayne Gretzky Era and people in Edmonton finally getting to see the hockey they’ve been waiting for over the past few years. 

*In honor of the Halloween season that we’re in, here are a few cool and scary goalie masks with a bit of spooky flair. 

*Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka is confident that his young team is going to rebound after a rough start to the season. 

*Speaking of creative uniforms, it’s a most wonderful time of the year for hockey when they bust out their Oktoberfest sweaters. 

*For something completely different: this matchup of Peanuts and Stranger Things hits all the right notes for fans of both. 


Goalie update: Tuukka Rask dealing with hamstring AND groin injury?


Goalie update: Tuukka Rask dealing with hamstring AND groin injury?

While the good news is that it doesn’t appear that Tuukka Rask is dealing with a knee injury, there are still some significant muscular issues to work with concerning his left leg. 

According to former Bruins defenseman and NHL analyst Aaron Ward on CSN’s Great American Hockey Show podcast, the Bruins franchise goaltender has been dealing with a hamstring issue that’s also become a hamstring and groin issue as he tried to play through in the first week of the season. Rask clearly tweaked something in his left leg opening night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, missed the Saturday night loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and then appeared to aggravate the injury in last week’s win over the New Jersey Devils. 

According to Ward, it’s hamstring and groin issues for Rask as the Bruins attempt to survive without him while potentially working toward a possible return for the Finnish netminder this weekend vs. the Red Wings. Rask hasn’t skated with the Bruins since finishing out the 2-1 win over the Devils last Thursday night, and tweaking the problematic left leg in the process. 

“What I was told is that it was left leg, and that at first it was hamstring and now it’s possibly hamstring and groin,” said Ward to CSN Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty on the Great American Hockey Show podcast. “You’re always concerned when you’re a goalie and it’s your legs, right? It’s the push-off. The crazy part was watching it on video where the shoot came from the left side and went wide, and the next time he injures it shot comes from the same spot, misses it wide and [Rask] is in the exact same position wincing.

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“I think [the Bruins] are smart rather than trying to play a guy that’s 90, 80 or 70 percent, whatever it is, to just get it over with. Endure the short term pain to get the greater gain, and that’s having Rask in there. There’s no greater endorsement to keep him out than seeing the [bad losses without him] because you need a healthy Tuukka to let the rest of the team settle.”

It’s been disastrous without Rask, of course, as the Bruins have allowed 11 goals in back-to-back losses to the Wild and Rangers with rookies Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre between the pipes, and Anton Khudobin out for three weeks while sporting a cast on his right hand in the last B’s game at TD Garden. 

Meanwhile, Rask (3-0-0, 1.67 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage) is trying to heal and time it perfectly so he returns once he’s past the danger of potentially blowing out the muscles in his left leg and making the situation even worse than it already might be. 

Ward also discusses his relationship with "Toucher & Rich" and the "Cuts for a Cause" charitable event that he helped start.