For the last few seasons, many Boston Bruins fans pegged Tuukka Rask as the inherent goaltender. But in the shortened 2013 season, the time is now for Tuukka to perform as he takes the regins over from Tim Thomas, who is taking the year off and hiding in his Colorado bunker.
Boston fans will get a good look at Tuukka during the Black and Gold Intersquad scrimmage at TD Garden Tuesday night. But Rask is just approaching it as a routine everyday practice.
“I just try to think it’s a practice type of thing,” said the 25-year old Finnish netminder. “I know it’s going to be a lot of people watching us for sure, but for it’s still a matter of trying to find our game and getting ready [for the Rangers] on Saturday.”
(More after the jump including a 60-second clip of Tuukka speaking to the media after Tuesday’s practice)
That said, Tuukka is still looking to go out to Tuesday’s scrimmage and get a little seasoning before Saturday’s season opener against the Rangers.
“I think you just try to gain that confidence tonight, and that you feel good about yourself going into Saturday,” he said. “And it’s good that Providence played half a season. They are going to give us a good game for sure.”
Under normal circumstances, the Bruins would have a few preseason games to get their legs going again. While some players, including Rask, spent some of the lockout overseas, almost every member of the roster, with the exception of the few who were called up to Providence, will need to use this week as a week to get back into game shape and shake off some rust.
That is why Rask sees this scrimmage being beneficial to him and the countless others donning the Black and Gold.
“I think it’s going to help me and help us,” he said. “I haven’t seen a game in a couple of months so it’s just good to maybe shake that rust off and get ready for Saturday.”
With the shortened training camp, many are trying to get back into the swing of things before opening the season. For Rask, however, he sees this as just a normal practice as one would expect in the middle of the year.
“I think it’s just been like a regular practice in the middle of the season,” he said. “Talking to the guys, everyone seems like they are in mid-season form, so it’s not like we’re just starting from scratch. We’re just trying to keep it shortened out there, make sure our passes are crisp, and it’s just like a January practice.
Perhaps a little action in Europe has also helped Rask adjust to the shortened camp.
From the eight games he had under his belt for Plzen HC of the Czech league, Rask, despite having a near scare, looked pretty sharp going 6-2 with a 1.85 goals against average and a .936 save percentage.
Despite some stark differences between the style of play in Europe and the National Hockey League, Rask felt sharp with his conditioning.
“Conditioning-wise [it helped] for sure,” he said. “They’re different kinds of shots there. It seemed like every shot was almost like a scoring chance, because the team defense is not as good as it is here, so I had a lot of two on one’s, breakaways, and stuff like that.”
Taking everything into account, Rask is looking forward to getting back to work Tuesday night in front of the 17,565 capacity at TD Garden.
“We’re excited. Although it’s not a regular [season] game, it’s still going to be a good atmosphere,” Tuukka said. “And I’m sure everyone is going to give it a hundred precent out there.”