BLOOMINGBURG, NY – It’s a long way to Boston from my place here in the southernmost point in Sullivan County but I’m going to talk about the Bruins and I don’t give a rat’s ass if you don’t like it. What transpired prior to Game 3 of these Covid Cup Playoffs with the Bruins and Tuukka Rask has me steaming.
Nobody should ever have a problem with a man or woman choosing family over anything and in these current pandemic circumstances that includes the workplace. The issue with Rask is the timing of his opting out or copping out, as I’m calling it.
The Vezina-nominee had some very telling remarks after the team’s Game 2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. In case you missed them, the goalie – and they are a flaky bunch to begin with – mentioned that these games felt like exhibition contests. Really? How do you tell that to your mates who are taking the body and pucks and sticks in corners and scrums and in front of the net you are protecting? Rask slept through the round robin games, giving up some soft goals and then the Canes went to work on him high glove side with great success in the first two of this series.
It sounded like sour grapes and then before yesterday’s game I heard the nonsense of him leaving the bubble in Toronto. If your heart wasn’t in it and you had questions about putting your family in danger by living in that type of environment, you should have exited at the onset of the restart, Mr. Rask. Allow your understudy and team to adjust to playing without you. Get proper work for the #3 goalie, who is a rookie with zero games of NHL experience. The timing blows my mind. Other athletes have opted out but to their credit long before games were played.
Rask is not a fan favorite in Boston. His comments in the past are cryptic and are easy to decode and often come off as matter-of-factual. I know this as I’m a member of two Facebook fan groups. In a market like Boston you don’t pull this sh*t and get away with it – from a fan’s perspective. It’s fuel for the fire. Rask, in all his greatness (and that’s what he is – look at his career stats) is no stranger to rough patches. He had a meltdown in 2010 as the #1 goalie against the Flyers, up 3-0 in games and 3-0 in the Game 7 choke-job. Tim Thomas reclaimed the starting job the following season and helped get Tuukka’s name on the Stanley Cup. Thomas had two Game 7 shutouts – that’s money right there! Thomas retired a year later, reinstalling Rask and in 2013 and 2019 he backstopped the Bruins in two Finals losses. The loss to Chicago in 2013 was not his fault but last year there were two soft goals that sucked the life out of the team.
He can try as he might to suck the life out of them this time but what I saw yesterday game was an all out 60-minute workmanlike effort in front of Jaroslav Halak, who is a top flight back-up. That is a luxury other team’s would love to have.
This whole situation has awoken a team that appeared to be going through the motions. The intensity returned. The Bruins were blocking shots from the opening faceoff. It was great to see the support of Halak and it was clearly evident. I don’t know if it carries over for the rest of the series and these playoffs but there’s a lot of leadership in that room and if David Pastrnak can return, this could be a nice story for the Czech born net-minder.
Rask, who is from Finland and might be finished (see what I did there?) in Boston. I can’t imagine GM Don Sweeney and President Cam Neely putting this mess aside — both missed winning Cups as Bruins teammates in 1988, 1990 and 1992. Since Rask’s history of big-time failure, trade Rask while his value is high and get a king’s ransom in return. Develop the young goalies who are doing well in Providence of the AHL. Punch Rask’s ticket and his on again off again drama out of Beantown. Maybe Tuukka gets his name on the Cup one more time as the 2019-20 backup. Either way, it all just makes me want to twerk.
That’s it for me, leave your comments below.