Rask trying to stay positive through injury

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Rask trying to stay positive through injury

Tuukka Rask is trying to keep a positive outlook, but the Finnish goaltender was also being realistic on his 25th birthday.

Rask said he heard the snap, crackle and pop when he tore his groin and abdomen last weekend against the New York Islanders, and knows that hes going to need close to the entire six weeks to recover from his injury. That puts Rask and the Bruins into the playoffs when the backup goaltender will be ready for full-time duty, and that means the young goalie will be thrust into a playoff situation.

There will be no rehab games or ability to get Rask back up to game-speed at that point in the season, but the good news is that the Finnish youngster is expected to simply open and close the bench door for Tim Thomas once the postseason begins.

You try to stay positive and feed back the energy for the guys and hopefully get them on a roll, said Rask, who is most likely done for the regular season with an 11-8-3 record, a 2.05 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. I just try to stay positive and hang around the guys and treat myself to get better.

That doesnt faze Rask much at this point in the year, but he did express a healthy amount of sorrow at his inability to help give Thomas a rest at the most important time of the year. Rask was expected to share playing time with Thomas over the last 20 games of the year, but now
Thomas has played in eight straight games with a potential Sunday afternoon appearance against a red-hot Penguins team already in the holster.

There is nothing you can do about it. The groin injury is tough. It is what it is but you just have to stay positive and let it heal. You cant be thinking about that too much, said Rask. Its obviously tough and you feel for Timmy, because we were going to share a lot of games in this month I bet. We were going to get a lot of workload off each others shoulders too.

But things happen in hockey and it happened to me this time. Hopefully we can get it ready for the playoffs.

Rask said he hopes that the groin injury doesnt need surgery, and quickly shot it down after mentioning it. But one has to wonder how a significant groin injury will affect a goaltender thats never had that kind of injury in his North American hockey career.

It would be more urgent if the Bruins didnt have the reigning Vezina Trophy winner and Conn Smythe winner getting ready for another playoff run, but theres no mistaking that the Bruins now know just how valuable Rask is backing up the franchise.

Kraft on Brady: Patriots 'will continue to have Tom's back'

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Kraft on Brady: Patriots 'will continue to have Tom's back'

Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the organization "will continue to have Tom's back" in reference to Tom Brady's four-game Deflategate suspension being reinstated.

Here's an excerpt of what Kraft, speaking Friday night at the Patriots draft party in a video on the team website, Patriots.com, told fans: 

“Number one, there is no finer ambassador for the game of football, and the New England Patriots, than Tom Brady. We always have had and will continue to have Tom’s back, especially when he’s being treated unfairly and he knows that.”

"All the decisions that this organization and I personally have made throughout this ordeal have been focused on putting Tom in the best possible position for success.

“Number two, I have been in constant communication with Tom over the past 16 months and we’ve had numerous conversations this past week. We are both on the same page and he knows exactly where my allegiances, and the total team’s [allegiances] are, relative to the extremely unfair discipline that he has been subjected to.

“I share in our fans’ anger and frustration with the penalties the league has levied, and the entire process and how it was conducted. But please trust that I am always trying to do what I believe is best for this franchise, and pledge that I will always continue to do that.”

After the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision reinstated Brady's four-game suspension imposed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, it appears Brady is preparing to continue his legal fight against the penalty. 

Former Patriots players appear to have Brady's back, as well. 

 

Valentine will be plunked down in heart of D-line

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Valentine will be plunked down in heart of D-line

FOXBORO – The Patriots used the 96th overall pick – a compensatory pick that came to the Patriots after losing Darrelle Revis – on a very large man. Vincent Valentine, a 6-3, 329-pound defensive tackle from Nebraska who is more space-eater than penetrator.

Though Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio said Valentine has played all over the defensive line including 5-technique (outside shoulder of the tackle), he’ll likely be an early-down, middle of the defensive line player for the Patriots at the outset. How does the team go about getting him on the field?

Currently, they are pretty well-stocked with big bodies. Last year’s first rounder, Malcom Brown, is going to play a lot for a long time. Terrance Knighton, added as a free agent, figures to be a major component of the defensive line. And aging Alan Branch showed in 2015 that he’s still got plenty of plays left in him.

The other 300-plus pound linemen in the mix are Marcus Kuhn, a free agent brought over from the Giants, and Joe Vellano, who’s been with the team for four seasons as an end of the roster player.

Valentine had an injury-plagued final season with the Cornhuskers and will need to tune up his body and conditioning for the NFL. He’s not a project but neither is he a plug-and-play type who can be expected to walk in and make immediate contributions. With the 31-year-old Branch nearing the end, it’s reasonable to expect Valentine to be the successor to him in the Patriots interior rotation when they go heavy on early downs and in short-yardage and goal-line.