Haggerty: Rask will get starting nod soon

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Haggerty: Rask will get starting nod soon

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Dont expect it to take very long before Tuukka Rask gets the call for the Bruins between the pipes. T

he 24-year-old Finnish netminder started only 29 games last season, and hasnt played in an NHL game non-preseason division since an April 10 loss to the New Jersey Devils in last years regular-season finale. He watched from the bench as Tim Thomas backstopped the Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship.

Like last preseason, when Claude Julien proclaimed the goaltending job a competition between a pair of No. 1 goaltenders, the coaching staff is approaching it the same way this season. That eventually led to the hot Thomas taking over the gig, but some forget the season actually began with Rask earning the opening night start in Prague against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Rask lost that first game in Europe, and Thomas never looked back after pitching a shutout in the second game of the season.

Fast forward to this season. Thomas was solid while giving up only two goals behind a leaky defense in the opener. While he will be 38 years old once the playoffs begin and played a whopping 82 games last season (regular season and playoffs), he's still the best goaltender in the world as the year begins.

So the temptation is to force-feed Thomas plenty of games to get the Bs off to a good start, but the reality is Rask will be getting the starting nod sooner rather than later.

I wanted to make clear from the get go that were going to utilize our goaltenders and utilize them properly, said Julien. Tuukka has had a great camp and played two really good exhibition games. I think he needs to play and youll see him in the lineup really soon.

He was great being supportive in the playoffs. But you want to make sure he still has that battle in him for ice time and not let the other guy get comfortable. Thats what competition is all about. You want to be ready. You dont want to say, This guy is playing so well that Im just going to give you the stage here. You want to be supportive when youre not playing, but you want to battle to stay on the ice. That doesnt just need to exist with the forwards and the defensemen, but it needs to exist with the goaltenders as well.

While theres a possibility Rask could play as soon as Saturday night against the Lightning, it might make more sense to slide Thomas back in against his Eastern Conference Finals foes and then call on the Finnish goalie for the Colorado Avalanche in the Columbus Day matinee.

Its imperative Rask play more games than he did last year to give Thomas the breather hell need, and that starts with the younger netminder being better than he was last season.

Rask acknowledges that, but hes not buying into any of the goalie controversy stuff.

Im just focusing on going out and playing hard every night, said Rask. The goalie rotation questions happen every year, right . . . whatever. You guys talk whenever you need to talk and we dont really care. It's fun for the audience, I guess.

Were just trying to do our job as well as we can and well see what happens. Its been a while since the last NHL action that Ive had in the regular season. So Im hoping to have a good start to the season. I shouldnt be too rusty. Well see.

Whether its Saturday or Monday, Rask will be getting the call more often this year and that will be a good thing for both the goaltender and the Black and Gold team he stops pucks for.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging the Spider-Man trailer that dropped last night. 

*John Scott has finally called it a day and announced his retirement, and apparently there’s a book of his memoirs also coming out too. I’m predicting it’s not headed for the New York Times best seller list. 

*Winter Olympics participation and the CBA negotiations for the NHL are starting to merge into giant issue.  

*Connor McDavid calls the Flyers' Brandon Manning classless for telling him on the ice that he purposefully tried to hurt him last season. Some players might also take issue with McDavid making public what another player said to him on the ice. That’s kind of a no-no for most hockey players and breaks an unwritten rule that McDavid might think he’s above given his star status. This whole thing isn’t a good look for anybody. 

*Kevin Stevens pleads guilty to federal drug charges in what’s become a pretty sad situation for the former NHL star. 

*New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to raise questions with his play, and his massive price tag. 

*Youngsters Zach Weresnki and Dylan Larkin took similar paths to the NHL, and are both considered part of the talented young generation full of hockey stars. 

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Carey Price taking a nutty on Kyle Palmieri after the player crashed into his crease last night. Price is being celebrated for sticking up for himself, but if another goalie did that to a Habs player at the Bell Centre, there would already be a warrant out for his arrest. Play it both ways, Montreal!  

*For something completely different: here’s the aforementioned new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer that looks pretty darn good. 

 

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster.