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.