Rask ready to go after short summer

Rask ready to go after short summer
August 12, 2013, 5:15 pm
Share This Post

MIDDLETON, Mass. – It’s been a quick and eventful summer for Tuukka Rask, who played until almost the end of June, signed an eight-year contract extension that puts him in a tie for the highest-paid goaltender in the NHL,Ras and then headed back to Finland for some rest and relaxation.

It was even sunny in Finland for the 26-year-old goaltender in a country that’s known for its thunderstorms and unpredictable weather even in the warm season.

“The weather was shockingly good in Finland,” Rask said Monday at teammate Shawn Thornton's Putts and Punches Golf Tournament at the Ferncroft County Club to benefit Parkinson's disease research. “We played a lot of golf and tennis. I saw the friends and family, and had a good time. The time was short, but it was still very good.

“I always like to take some time off. It was a shortened season, but we still played a lot of hockey . . . and was really hectic. I kind of wanted to sit around and not do anything, but when you do that you also realize that training camp is getting closer and closer.”

The start of camp for Rask and the rest of the B’s would be exactly 30 days away for all of those keeping score at home.

The B’s goaltender is coming off a season where he answered all the questions surrounding him.

He posted a 19-10-5 mark in the regular season along with a 2.00 goals against average and .929 save percentage before really elevating his game with a .940 save percentage and 1.88 GAA in the run to the Cup Final.

That was before things came to a crashing thud in Game 6 against the Blackhawks with two goals allowed in the final 90 seconds of the game.

"Right after the [Cup Final] you don't want to, and you try not to think about it all,” said Rask. “But I still find myself thinking about it and how much it sucked.”

That body of work got him rewarded with an eight-year, $56 million deal that puts him on par with fellow Finn Pekka Rinne as the highest-paid goalie in the NHL at $7 million per season. It’s something he’s clearly aware of, but he says he's up to the challenge of living up to the large dollars.

“You always kind of try to work yourself up, and get yourself some kind of status in people’s eyes. But every season you’re starting from scratch,” said Rask. “You have to prove yourself at some level. But it helps that you have a long contract, and you can just focus on your job rather than worrying about contracts every year.

“Every year is different, and you have to be worth your money . . . no matter what you’re making,” he said.

It’s likely that even more will be asked of him this year with unproven goaltenders in rookie Niklas Svedberg and journeyman Chad Johnson battling it out to be his backup.

Rask is ready for whatever comes and he’s paid to be able to perform no matter what’s going on around him. That means playing as many as 60 games next season while Svedberg or Johnson find their bearings, or getting into the traditional puck-stopping tandem he’s experienced over the years with Tim Thomas and Anton Khudobin.

“When you prepare for the season you always plan to play 82 games. I don’t think I’ll play 60, 70 games, but it all depends on how good I’m playing too, right? Meeting [Svedberg] and seeing him practice last year, I know he’s a good goalie,” said Rask. “I don’t know too much about Chad, but I know he’s a good goalie and a good guy. So no matter who it is, I know it’s going to be a good situation for us.”

No matter what the situation is with the backup, the Bruins have invested the kind of money to know the situation between the pipes should be well in hand for close to the next decade with Rask.