WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The Boston Bruins had just beaten the Edmonton Oilers earlier this month when coach Claude Julien began to explain his decision to play backup goaltender Chad Johnson two days after he had pulled starter Tuukka Rask during a loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
First Julien described Johnson's play in recent starts as "really, really good." He then explained the benefit of granting Rask a breather.
"My goal is to give him some rest before going to the Olympics," Julien said. "He's got a big job to do there and I don't want to be the guy responsible for burning him out."
If Julien were merely Rask's NHL coach, that statement probably wouldn't have raised any eyebrows. But for the next couple of weeks, Julien will be Rask's opponent as an assistant coach for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Rask will be one of three goaltenders for Finland, which is competing in Group B against Canada, Austria and Norway during the preliminary round.
Rask, who entered Saturday ranked first in shutouts (five), fifth in save percentage (.928) and eighth in goals-against average (2.11), hopes a little extra rest will help him play his best when he gets to Russia.