Over the last week or so rumors have been popping up surrounding the young Bruins net minder Tuukka Rask. The young Finn has been playing back up for Tim Thomas off and on for the better part of 3 years, one of which even seeing him take the starting job. While Rask had a rough start to the season loosing his first three straight starts, he has rebounded nicely since winning his last two. It was clear from the get go that the Bruins weren’t playing their best hockey in front of Tuukka as they often gave up better opportunities and shots when he was in net. It was undoubtedly hard on the young goaltender who after leading the Bruins into the playoffs in 2010, would eventually fizzle out against the Flyers and lose the starting job to Thomas all over again the following season. The point I am making is that Rask’s pro career has been somewhat of a roller coaster to this point.
I can imaging that it must be a difficult to go about your life hearing through sources other than internal that you may or may not be traded. It is evident that it is getting to him following an outburst at practice recently in which he lost his temper slamming his stick continuously into the cross bar. It is no secret that Rask has a temper, whether it is his milk crate throwing escapade in Providence, or his stick flinging episode in last seasons Nashville Predators game, everyone knows he wears his emotions on his sleeve. While his temper may be a cause for concern to some, for me it is a testament to his competitive spirit. Rask is not a player who gives up, if he does in fact lose his temper it is only because he is passionate and dedicated to winning games.
Rask possesses an incredibly quick glove and overall outstanding positioning, his poise in net is a rare thing in goaltender as young as he is. Tuukka also uses his excellent flexibility and agility to stop shots most goaltenders can’t. In my eyes the most impressive aspect of his game is his vision, Tuukka is incredibly talented at tracking the puck through screens. Rask has already shown Bruins fans that he can put the team on his back which is evident because of the 2009/10 season where he lead the team into the playoffs after an injury caused Tim Thomas to play poorly. Tuukka has also won a playoff series which served as a boost in his confidence. When he ultimately faltered to the Flyers it was clear that his conditioning wasn’t up to the level of a starting NHL goaltender. Rask definitely has things to work on, but he is young and to be where he is at his age is promising.
Bruins fans should also realize how difficult it must be to play second fiddle to one of the greatest goaltenders in the NHL. You don’t have to tell anyone in Boston or New England area how great Tim Thomas is. Rask has been very supportive of Thomas and vice versa, Tuukka’s patience with the goaltending situation is an excellent example of his character. Rask is absolutely ready to be a starter in the NHL but because of the Bruins fortunate goalie situation he has to wait patiently for his chance. Tim Thomas obviously won’t be able to play forever as he will be 39 by the time his contract expires. Tuukka is most certainly the goalie of the future though he has to wait his turn. Right now the Bruins have the best goaltending tandem in the NHL and Tuukka will need to play more this season to keep Thomas fresh. Rask is extremely important to the success of this club’s present and future. Trading him for another chance to win now may be good for right now, but down the road it will hurt this teams future. Besides… who doesn’t love hearing 2 U’s, 2 K’s, 2 points?