– It’s been a little over a week since Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask
returned to Bruins practice at Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington, but Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien is still unsure as to when his goaltender will return.
“I think he’s getting closer,” Julien said during the team’s media availability Tuesday. “I’m not hiding anything – I don’t know if he’s ready in Game 4 or 5, 6 or 7 or if he’ll be ready for the second round. But, to me, he’s looking good and the one thing that you’ve got to be careful of it, because he’s a goaltender, and the injury that he had, you can’t rush him back.
“So, we’re just making sure that when he’s back he’s going to be 100 percent, not 99, but 100 percent.”
When the Bruins arrived in D.C. Monday for Games 3 and 4 against the Washington capitals, Rask skated and said he felt fine.
“I did more [Monday] then I’ve been doing,” Rask said, who strained his groin against the New York Islanders March 3. “I took a lot of shots and felt good.”
That said, Rask is staying patient and isn’t interested in rushing back onto the ice, but is just making sure he is completely healed.
“I mean I’ve been anxious for I think six weeks by now, so it can’t get any worse than that,” Rask said. “It’s all about staying patient, and you can’t feel too anxious because bad things might happen.”
In the meantime, the B’s have a viable goaltender in Anton Khudobin
, who made 44 saves for a 3-1 win in his Bruins debut against the Ottawa Senators April 5.
“He’s been good in the minors and also played a great game for us against Ottawa,” Julien said. “It allows us the time that is needed for Tuukka to get himself – not just strengthening but also in shape and sharp and so that if he gets thrown into the action, we’re not wondering what kind of game he’s going to give us.”
As the rehabilitation process continues, Rask has put a focus on his conditioning to get back to game speed.
“I’ve been doing a lot of bike rides and doing a lot of stuff on the ice too and the strength seems to be really good,” Rask said. “So we haven’t had any setbacks so we want to keep it that way.
“When you first go out there, you got to feel it out to see how you feel and you go by that and keep pushing it everyday. It’s been over a week now since I’ve skated, so we’ve gone the right direction everyday and it feels really good right now.”