By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is a confirmed member of the “Boo-Hoo Tuukka Crew.”
With the league shut down due to the COVID-19, communication with the captain (and the B’s as a whole) has been few and far between, but the 43-year-old Chara took to Instagram to discuss a question he was recently asked by somebody.
The question was one that’s faced the Bruins for a while, too: can Rask be the guy to deliver a Stanley Cup to the B’s?
“This season Tuukka ranks first in goals against average among all goalies with more than 15 games played. 2.22 goals against average,” Chara wrote. “With his excellent performances he helped our team to be leader in points around the NHL.
“So there is your answer: Tuukka is “Boston Wall.'”
To Chara’s point, the league also paused with the 33-year-old Rask leading all NHL starts in save percentage (.929), and with Rask posting a league-best .876 high-danger save percentage among goalies with at least 1,700 minutes of five-on-five play this season. All things considered, Rask was likely paced for the second Vezina Trophy of his NHL career.
But it is rather remarkable that we’re still having this debate in 2020, especially after 2019, which saw Rask come through with countless big-time performances, including a 28-of-29 performance in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Things went south for Rask in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup, of course, but it’s definitely not a glaring issue on that night had the Bruins been able to find some production from someone other than Matt Grzelcyk with 2:10 left in the third period.
Also consider this: Rask finished with a league-leading 13.04 goals saved against average (all situation) last postseason. It was the second-highest mark since Coyotes netminder Mike Smith saved 13.33 goals above average in 2012 (Stanley Cup winner Jonathan Quick finished with 13.30 goals saved above average). Overall, Rask’s 13.04 mark was the fourth-best since 2011, with Tim Thomas’ preposterous 20.72 goals saved above average standing head and shoulders above the rest.
Zee and myself could throw numbers galore at you, but by now, we know that this debate will rage on until No. 40 wins it all.
But it’s a little comforting knowing that the on- and off-ice leader of the Black and Gold is on the right side of history.