Rask trying to stay positive through injury

673306.jpg

Rask trying to stay positive through injury

Tuukka Rask is trying to keep a positive outlook, but the Finnish goaltender was also being realistic on his 25th birthday.

Rask said he heard the snap, crackle and pop when he tore his groin and abdomen last weekend against the New York Islanders, and knows that hes going to need close to the entire six weeks to recover from his injury. That puts Rask and the Bruins into the playoffs when the backup goaltender will be ready for full-time duty, and that means the young goalie will be thrust into a playoff situation.

There will be no rehab games or ability to get Rask back up to game-speed at that point in the season, but the good news is that the Finnish youngster is expected to simply open and close the bench door for Tim Thomas once the postseason begins.

You try to stay positive and feed back the energy for the guys and hopefully get them on a roll, said Rask, who is most likely done for the regular season with an 11-8-3 record, a 2.05 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. I just try to stay positive and hang around the guys and treat myself to get better.

That doesnt faze Rask much at this point in the year, but he did express a healthy amount of sorrow at his inability to help give Thomas a rest at the most important time of the year. Rask was expected to share playing time with Thomas over the last 20 games of the year, but now
Thomas has played in eight straight games with a potential Sunday afternoon appearance against a red-hot Penguins team already in the holster.

There is nothing you can do about it. The groin injury is tough. It is what it is but you just have to stay positive and let it heal. You cant be thinking about that too much, said Rask. Its obviously tough and you feel for Timmy, because we were going to share a lot of games in this month I bet. We were going to get a lot of workload off each others shoulders too.

But things happen in hockey and it happened to me this time. Hopefully we can get it ready for the playoffs.

Rask said he hopes that the groin injury doesnt need surgery, and quickly shot it down after mentioning it. But one has to wonder how a significant groin injury will affect a goaltender thats never had that kind of injury in his North American hockey career.

It would be more urgent if the Bruins didnt have the reigning Vezina Trophy winner and Conn Smythe winner getting ready for another playoff run, but theres no mistaking that the Bruins now know just how valuable Rask is backing up the franchise.

Hawkins says he passed up more lucrative deals to sign with Patriots

hawkins.jpg

Hawkins says he passed up more lucrative deals to sign with Patriots

The Patriots went into Wednesday with what could have passed as the deepest receiving group in team history, yet by lunchtime they had added another. 

Former Browns and Bengals wideout Andrew Hawkins announced on Twitter (via uSTADIUM) that he had chose to come to terms with New England. He explained that the opportunity to work with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick proved to be enough to convince him that he should pass up more lucrative offers from other clubs.

"After giving it a lot of though, I've decided that I'm going to join the New England Patriots," he said. "Super excited about the opportunity, man, to join the reigning football champions. In Cleveland, I said it was about joining a contender, and the Patriots are the contender, the reigning champs.

"The program is top-notch, and you get the opportunity to play with the best quarterback and the best coach in NFL history, man, so it's super exciting. It was never really about the money. To be honest, I passed up on deals that were probably double the compensation . . . but it was all about winning for me at this point, and putting myself in the best position to do so."

Hawkins (5-foot-7, 180 pounds) may be a familiar name to Patriots fans as he caught four passes for a season-high 56 yards and one touchdown against New England in Week 5 of last season. He finished the year with 33 catches for 324 yards and three scores. The 31-year-old has recently seen his name in the headlines as he completed his Sports Management degree at Columbia and graduated last week. 

The Patriots have receivers room that's currently pretty loaded with talent. Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell figure to make up the top end of the depth chart, while former practice-squad wideouts Devin Street, Devin Lucien and DeAndrew White figure to compete for playing time as do undrafted rookies Austin Carr and Cody Hollister.

"Nothing's for sure. I got my work cut out for me. It's an opportunity," Hawkins said. "That's how I'm approaching it. Going there and seeing how I stack up with the best and try to earn my keep and prove my worth. I'm jsust excited to get there, get to work, and hopefully I can be part of something special and kind of join that Patriot legacy."