BOSTON, MA --
Goaltender Tuukka Rask
has spent the last two seasons down in at the AHL with the Providence Bruins and this season he has the chance to play his way into a NHL goaltending tandem with Tim Thomas
|Rask was an AHL All-Star. (JustSports Photography/AHL) |
“The goal is to make the team first and we’ll go from there, but I spent two years [in the AHL] and now I’m ready to make the jump and do my best,” said Rask.
In those last two years, he has learned a lot.
“I’ve learned the style of play here now. I’ve played a couple games up here now, last year and 2 years ago, so I feel good about myself,” Rask told Boston Bruins TV, “but it doesn’t matter what everybody says because you’ve got to earn your spot.”
In 57 regular season games with the Providence Bruins, Rask had a 33-20-4 record highlighted by a .915 save percentage and 2.50 goals against average. In 16 Calder Cup Playoff games he earned a 9-7-0 record highlighted by a .930 save percentage and 2.21 goals against average.
Last season in the Bruins organization, Jennings trophy winners Manny Fernandez and Tim Thomas
were a nearly unstoppable NHL team, but Rask had the opportunity to play in one NHL game, where he shutout the New York Rangers 1-0. In the 2007-08 season Rask played in four NHL games earning a 2-1-1 record, 3.26 goals against average and .886 save percentage.
Over the last few years, Rask has learned a little about the NHL.
“Well the players are smarter,” he said. “They make smarter decisions and less mistakes than in the AHL.
“When you watch the NHL from TV you think the speed is much faster, but actually it’s not, it’s just a smarter game that’s all.”
This season Rask has a chance to be Thomas’ partner, but first he needs to get his game back into shape.
“[This week] is just about getting back in shape,” explained Rask. “Camp starts in a week and a half and then it’s all about who wants a spot and who takes it, but this is just about getting your game back in shape.”
Once training camp starts the goaltenders will be competing for a position in the NHL, but Rask says they will still discuss their games.
“When the camp starts and you play games, obviously if you’re not playing you watch the other guy and after the game you maybe discuss about the game, what happened, about the goals and about saves you made,” Rask explained.
Rask has also tweaked his level of performance at practice.
“If you don’t want to let up a goal in a practice, you definitely don’t want to let up a goal in a game,” Rask told Boston Bruins TV earlier this week. “That’s something that’s changed; I’ve tried way harder in practices. It shows in the games too.”
So there is something Rask wants to do, it’s “Stop the puck.”