WASHINGTON, DC Tuukka Rask inches closer to being ready for playoff action as the intensity increases with each passing Bruins practice, but Claude Julien was still not willing to put a timetable on his goaltenders recovery from a groinabdomen strain.
Rask went through the most rigorous workout since his recovery during Mondays morning skate prior to Game 3, and the goaltender said hes feeling no limitations as he slips back into game condition.
But Julien said the Bruins are being extra careful with their Finnish netminder because theyd never want to get into a doomsday situation where both Tim Thomas and Rask went down during the same playoff game.
Its not a matter of Rask being ready. Its a matter of him being 100 percent ready.
Hes getting closer. I dont know if hes ready for Game 4, 5, 6 or 7, or if it will be the second round, said Claude Julien. Hes looking good, but the one thing youve got to be careful of because hes a goaltender with the injury he had is that you dont rush him back.
The last thing you need is for Tim to go down, and then Tuukka comes in and goes down after the first or second shot faced. Were just making sure that when hes back that hes 100 percent, said Claude Julien. Not that hes feeling good, but that hes 100 percent. Right now we have a good backup in Anton Khudobin that had a good year in the minors and had a game for us against Ottawa.
It allows us the time for Tuukka to not just strengthen it up, but to get him in shape and sharp so were not wondering what kind of game hed be giving us if he got in there.Sounds like Rask might still have some work to do before hes actually ready to suit up in the playoff series, so stay tuned to the updates from practice.
Danny Ainge made no secret of being miffed when Kansas small forward Josh Jackson canceled his workout with the Celtics in Sacramento at the last minute.
The Celtics, of course, passed on Jackson and selected Jayson Tatum of Duke with the third overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night.
Suns GM Ryan McDonough's comments at Jackson's introductory press conference lend some credence to the theory that the canceled workout was part of Phoenix's plan to keep the Celtics from selecting Jackson and leave him for the Suns at No. 4.
Check out this portion of Jackson's presser via a tweet from Mike McClune of KPHO-TV:
"I think you guys who know me well know how competitive I am. Look, it is a competition," said McDonough, a former assistant GM to Ainge with the C's "The Celtics were ahead of us at No. 3 and they could have selected whoever they wanted to. I think they got a very good player in Jayson Tatum, but that doesn’t mean B.J. [Armstrong, Jackson's agent] and I and...other members of my staff couldn’t talk and try to formulate the best plan to get a player we were really high on to a place we felt he really wanted to go and would be a great fit for him.
"We played by the rules – I guess,” McDonough said to some laughter in the room.
Jackson will certainly get more playing time with the rebuilding Suns that the contending Celtics. Ainge called Jackson "a terrific kid and a good player” after the draft, and said the Celtics were set on Tatum all along, even if they hadn't traded the No. 1 pick.
Jackson said his decision to blow off Ainge coach Brad Stevens and assistant GM Mike Zarren after their cross-country flight was "last-minute" and his plans to work out "just didn't work out."
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while locking the name Urho Vaakenainen into my Microsoft World spellcheck.
*The New Jersey Devils got a No. 1 overall pick that isn’t going to be a generational player, but he’s going to be one heck of a player.
*PHT writer Cam Tucker has fired Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett indicating that he needed a change after a long run in the desert.
*The Edmonton Oilers cleared cap space by dealing Jordan Eberle and immediately filled it up with a four-year commitment to Kris Russell. Peter Chiarelli must make sure he doesn’t paint himself into a salary cap corner like he did in Boston with signings like this one. Word is that Connor McDavid is going to command a massive contract, and that could make contracts like the Russell one tough to manage in Edmonton.
*Old friend Claude Julien is only a spectator at the NHL Draft, but he’s already juggling the Habs roster in his mind as it goes through changes. Both Julien and Shawn Thornton came over to shoot the breeze with the Boston media on Friday night as the first round approached, and showed once again why both men are on the All-Class team.
*The Winnipeg Jets took a guy that I thought made a lot of sense for the Bruins, big Finnish power forward Kristian Vesalainen. He was available for the Bruins at the 18th pick when they opted to go defense instead.
*The Washington Capitals decided not to let winger TJ Oshie get to free agency, and locked him up with an eight-year contract.
*Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka is in the middle of the storm right now as he blows up his team and begins to build it the way he wants to.
For something completely different: Everything you always wanted to know about Sammy Hagar but were afraid to ask.