The Boston Bruins may possess the best roster in the Eastern Conference, however, they don’t have the luxurious goaltending depth they once enjoyed as recently as two seasons ago when former Conn Smythe hero and two-time Vezina winner Tim Thomas shared Bruin goaltending duties with incumbent puck-stopper Tuukka Rask. Last season there was no Thomas, who decided to take the year off.
The infamous NHL lockout of 2012-13 ensured last season was short in duration – prefaced by a long offseason – allowing Rask to handle the required workload when the season finally began in late January of 2013. Not to mention, last year the Bruins confidently handed the reigns to backup goaltender Anton Khudobin when Rask needed a rest. Khudobin finished the campaign with an impressive 9-4-1 record, but his strong play landed him a new opportunity with the Carolina Hurricanes last offseason, causing the Bruins to find another replacement. The man tasked with backing up Tuukka this year is 27-year-old Chad Johnson.
Despite Johnson’s arrival, Rask has played the majority (22 of 27) of the Bruins’ games this season. Factor in the lengthy playoff run that saw Boston reach Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup finals, and there is no surprise Rask told The Boston Herald the following about the ups and downs of playing often over the course of a lengthy NHL season:
“Obviously, I’m not as fresh as at the start of the year, but it’s not too bad. We’ve got a couple of days of rest here coming up. I feel pretty good. I try to take my rest anywhere I can. Eat a lot, drink a lot. Water. Your body takes a beating over the course of a year. You can feel tired. But you just try and manage it the best you can.”
Quote courtesy of the Boston Herald. Read full article here.
As the Bruins continue to run away with first place in the Atlantic Division the opportunity to rest Rask will become more frequent. However, Tuukka is the number one guy and he will likely continue to play the vast majority of games for the Black & Gold.