BOSTON - Tuukka Rask could return on Saturday in Detroit against the Red Wings. The netminder was back practicing with the team on Friday at Warrior Ice Arena, before they left for a three-game road trip.
Rask also skated on his own Thursday, when the rest of the team had the day off following a back-to-back set. It was his first time skating since his last start on Oct. 20 against the New Jersey Devils.
"He's coming on the trip, and that's basically all I can say to you right now, is he's coming on the trip and we'll see," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following practice.
In addition to Rask, netminders Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban also practiced with the team.
"We're going to send one of the goalies back down. So [Tuukka's] coming on the trip and as long as he's feeling good, we'll go day by day," said Julien. "But if he's good enough to practice, he's good enough at least to back up right now."
Julien did not specify which goaltender would be sent down to Providence. Saturday's pregame skate at Joe Louis Arena will provide an indication, and the team will announce the transaction once it's official.
As for Rask, the question is whether one practice is enough, before returning to game action.
"He practiced well today," Julien said Friday. "And if he's good [on Saturday], there's no issues there. He looked good to me today, so we'll make that decision, but I think we've gone this far; we're going to make sure we make the right decision, not the reckless one."
"That's the thing we're kind of talking about, that we talked about last week - risk, reward - what it is and how we should proceed," said Rask. "And it feels good enough now that I can comfortably practice."
Rask was on the ice early before practice to test out his injury, which was labeled as "general soreness," and then stayed on the ice for the full group session.
"I think I'm a little bit more cautious now with it, because I injured myself about four years ago and missed two to three months because of an injury," said Rask. "You obviously want to play, but you don't want to force it and then be out for two months, so that's really the toughest thing for us to decide, but it feels good."
In the three games Rask has started this season, he's 3-0-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average. He has stayed ready by juggling tennis balls to keep his hand-eye coordination sharp. Whenever he returns, he'll try to pick up where he left off, and hopefully not bounce in and out of the lineup.
"It's not good for anybody, that I play a game, and then I'm out for a day, play a game, out for a day," said Rask. "You need to have quality practice time and then still feel healthy, so I think that's behind us and we could just focus on doing the things that we have to do."
Video: Rask back at practice before Bruins head to Detroit
Backes Not Traveling to Detroit
David Backes did not travel to Detroit with the Bruins on Friday, but could join his teammates later in the trip. The forward underwent the removal of the "olecranon bursa" from his elbow on Monday, Oct. 24, and is now recovering.
"He's not scheduled to leave with us today, but it doesn't mean he won't be on the trip," Julien said on Friday.
The biggest concern with Backes following his surgery is preventing the area from being infected.
"Yeah, that's what that surgery is all about, that's the most important thing, and when you have that surgery, the last thing you need is that, because then it's going to be a long-term thing," said Julien.
Backes has not started skating yet. His condition will be updated after the weekend.
"I just know that that's the reason he can't [play] is for the infection part. I haven't seen him, and so I haven't even had a look at his surgery," said Julien. "They kept him in the hospital for a few days to make sure that was well taken care of. He got released, if I'm correct, the day we were in New York."
Pastrnak Suspended Two Games
On Friday afternoon, the NHL's Department of Player Safety announced that David Pastrnak has been suspended for two games for an "illegal check to the head of New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi during NHL Game No. 95 in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 26."
The incident occurred at 10:55 of the second period, and Pastrnak was assessed a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head.
Czarnik Comfortable in Shift to Wing
Austin Czarnik notched his first NHL goal on Wednesday night in New York, firing a shot from the slot that broke off Henrik Lundqvist and trickled over the line.
He received the pass from David Krejci, who scooped up the first goal puck for him.
Czarnik shifted to wing for the night, with Ryan Spooner on Krejci's right wing, and despite the position change, looked much more confident in his third NHL game, than he did in the first two.
"He looked much better than he did in those two games after the injury," said Julien. "I liked his game, I thought he was skating well, and it was more like the Austin Czarnik I saw at the beginning of camp."
McIntyre Learning After First NHL Start
McIntyre's first NHL start wasn't exactly the way he envisioned it going. He made terrific stops on breakaways and point-blank shots, but the Bruins' game in front of him was not mistake-free, and the combined effort saw five goals find their way through.
"I just hate losing, so that's the tough part. I know as a team collectively, we're kind of discouraged, but I think there is obviously situations where you can take good things and bad things and all sorts of things, too, from that game," said McIntyre. "We made some good plays, and there were a couple of saves that were decent, but at the end of that day, that's too many goals, you know, end of story. You're not going to win too many hockey games when you give up five, so that's on me."
The biggest takeaway for McIntyre from start No. 1 was learning the ability to manage the highs and lows of the game.
"Growing up at each level, you get to experience that - good goals, bad goals, getting scored on on the power play or shorthanded - any situation, you get to experience those highs and lows," said McIntyre. "And I think that's definitely prepared me throughout the years here to get to this point and to make sure that you don't get too high, or you don't get too low, and you're consistent throughout the game."
Friday Practice Lineup 10/28
Gold Jerseys: Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
White: Ryan Spooner-David Krejci-Austin Czarnik
Gray: Matt Beleskey-Riley Nash-Jimmy Hayes
Merlot: Tim Schaller-Danton Heinen-Dominic Moore-Noel Acciari
Defensemen: Zdeno Chara, Brandon Carlo, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, John-Michael Liles, Colin Miller, Joe Morrow
Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Zane McIntyre, Malcolm Subban