UPDATE: Julien said that Rask will start today's game in goal against the Jets.
Logic would dictate that Monday afternoon will be the day when the goaltending rotation officially gets started. After Tuukka Rask got things off to a solid start with a 20-save effort in Saturday nights 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers in Bostons home opener, the stage could be set for Anton Khudobin to follow suit with his debut in a Martin Luther King Day matinee against the Winnipeg Jets.
It would make sense for Claude Julien to get the Kazakhstan native into an NHL game sooner rather than later, and the Bruins play seven games in the 13 days on the January schedule during a busy opening. Khudobin was okay in the KHL while playing for a bad team, but did show off his potential in a 44-save effort against the Ottawa Senators at the end of last season.
The expectation is that Rask will play somewhere between 30-35 games in the shortened 48-game schedule and that would leave anywhere from 13-18 games for Khudobin as the backup. But that will be dictated by performance and whether Khudobin thrives while proving to everybody hes a bona fide NHL goaltender after proving himself at the AHL level.
But the Bruins arent ready to map anything out more than on a week-to-week basis.
We have to feel our way through this as we move along here. We know well see both goalies, said Claude Julien. Im trying to in constant communication because weve been put in such an unpredictable situation, and that goes for the team and for the individuals.
You never knowa plan can go out the window as soon as theres an injury. You can spend a lot of time planning that stuff. Im more of a week-to-week situation when it comes to looking at the schedule and planning ahead. It also depends on the goaltenders play as well. Its a lot of wasted energy to say out of 48 games that Tuukka will play 30 and the other goalie will play 18 games. What if it doesnt happen that way?
So nobody will know the starting goaltender until the team takes the ice at 12:30 pm unless Julien goes the unconventional for him anyway route of naming his goaltender prior to pregame skate.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend.
*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City.
*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together.
*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility.
*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy.
*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment.
*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators.
*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot.
*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season.
*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.
It was the longest run that the P-Bruins have had in a few years and another unmistakable sign that the future is brightening for the Black and Gold, but the Bruins AHL affiliate has ended their playoff push in the Calder Cup semi-finals.
The Providence Bruins fell by a 3-1 score to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night to lose to the Crunch in five games when the best-of-seven series was set to return to Providence this coming week. The P-Bruins had vanquished the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs before finally exiting against Syracuse.
Though it’s over, it’s clear some of the Bruins prospects made a nice step forward over the second half of the AHL season and then into the Calder Cup playoffs. With the Calder Cup Finals yet to start, B’s forward prospect Danton Heinen stands as the second-leading playoff scorer in the entire AHL with nine goals and 18 points in 17 playoff games after really struggling in the first half of his first pro season while bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL.
This could bode well for the skilled Heinen and his hopes to make the leap to the NHL in the near future after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Denver. AHL journeymen-types Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz were the next two top scorers for the P-Bruins in the playoff run, but Jake DeBrusk had a strong playoff season as well while popping in six goals in 17 games. DeBrusk led all Providence players with his 54 shots on net in the 17-game playoff run for Providence, and he headlined a group that included B’s prospects Ryan Fitzgerald, Zach Senyshyn, Matt Grzelcyk, Peter Cehlarik (who succumbed to shoulder surgery during the playoffs), Emil Johansson and Robbie O’Gara all getting some vital playoff experience.
Both Heinen and DeBrusk will be strong candidates for jobs on the wing with the Boston big club when training camp opens in the fall after strong showings in the postseason.
On the goaltending side, Zane McIntyre was solid for the P-Bruins at times while in 16 of their 17 playoff games with a .906 save percentage. But it was Malcolm Subban that was playing at the very end of the playoff run for Providence and featured a sterling .937 save percentage in the four AHL playoff games that he appeared in this spring after an up-and-down regular season. McIntyre had an .857 save percentage and 4.37 goals against average in the final series against Syracuse, and looked a little spent like many of the other P-Bruins players once they’d unexpectedly made it to the third round of the AHL postseason.
The only unfortunate part of Providence’s run is that newly signed youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson couldn’t be a part of it after signing and then appearing in NHL games following a cut-off date for AHL playoff rosters. Both missed on an experience that could have been very conducive for their professional development, and uncovered a wrinkle in the NHL/AHL transaction process that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a developmental league.