Rask wants to return to Boston

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Rask wants to return to Boston

BOSTON -- Tuukka Rask is a free agent. Tim Thomas has one more year left on his current contract with the Bruins.

So when asked, during the team's break-up day at the TD Garden on Friday, whether or not he still wanted to return to Boston if Thomas wasn't traded, Rask said he still wants to re-sign with the B's.

"I mean, I think you guys know the answer to that question," said Rask. "I've always said that I like it here, and I want to come back.

"I think there's a clear plan," said Rask about his upcoming contract negotiations. "I think everybody's been talking about it for a long time now. It's not about the money. It's more about what's good for everybody. I've always said I liked to be here. I think we have a great group of guys and the organization is great, so I don't see why anybody wouldn't want to be here."

Rask said him and Thomas work well together, and hold an "honest competition" for playing time, when both are healthy.

"We've never had a problem with it, because I think Timmy's got one more year on his contract or something," said Rask. "We just work hard with each other, and we compete against each other. But at the end of the day, it's just who's at his best place. It's a pretty honest competition. So we never have a problem."

As far as Rask's health is concerned, he returned from an abdominalgroin injury for Game 6 against the Washington Capitals, and served as Thomas' backup goaltender for the final two games of the first-round playoff series.

He said he wouldn't have returned as a backup if he wasn't 100 percent. But Rask did say that he may be a little more cautious with his body in the future, in order to prevent those types of injuries.

"I felt good before that happened," said Rask. "It just popped. But I guess, when these things happen, you kind of have different urgency on things. You try to feel your body and adjust to your body a little bit more in different ways.

"Looking back, I kind of felt a little tight. But I didn't think it was anything major. But maybe next time, if I feel that way, I'll just stay back and take a day off or something."

Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity'

Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity'

BOSTON – While there were some warning signs over the last few weeks that the Bruins might be getting away from their game, it didn’t really hit home until Thursday night’s frustrating loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

The Bruins blew through three different one-goal leads in the second period in the 6-3 loss to the Bolts at TD Garden, and each time surrendered a tying goal to Tampa in less than two minutes after initially scoring. It was a clear indicator that the Bruins weren’t fully focused on the task at hand despite having already lost three games in a row, and that their ability to bounce back from adversity is going away from them again. 

That much was obvious when the bottom dropped out in the third period, and Jonathan Drouin and Nikita Kucherov turned into a two-man Lightning wrecking crew outscoring the Bruins by a 3-0 margin in the final 20 minutes. 

“I think the frustration is more in-game, where we’ve got to have a stronger mental capacity to handle those [challenging] situations in-game. Let’s face it, when you get on a bit of a losing streak, all those things creep in, whether it’s in October or whether it’s in March,” said Bruce Cassidy. “You have doubts, you start pressing, and again, it’s my job to alleviate the kind of attention in those situations.

“But, as I told you, we all have to be accountable and be responsible for ourselves, and that’s where we just need to have better focus and better discipline in those areas. It was there when it was 3-3 [on the scoreboard]. We’ve got to push back after they score, and that’s where I thought we started to come apart a little bit where we should’ve stuck together and stuck with the program. [We needed to] get ourselves slowly back into the game. We had 10 minutes to even the score, and we weren’t able to do it.”

Clearly this wasn’t just the coach alone in his pointed observations, however, as the lack of focus showed unfortunately in a rudderless second period for the Black and Gold where they couldn’t gain any separation from Tampa Bay despite scoring three goals. 

“[It’s] not being focused, not being sharp, and obviously at this time of the year it’s unacceptable, and it’s up on us to be better,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “Those kinds of situations shouldn’t happen. So, for sure, we need to address those things and hold each other accountable.”

One thing is clear: The Bruins have a lot of work to do if they hope to avoid the same kind of late season tailspin that doomed them each of the last two seasons, and already seems to be happening over their last four losses to varying levels of hockey talent. 

Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

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Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

Here are the talking points from the Boston Bruins' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.