By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy isn’t giving up on starting goaltender Tuukka Rask.
In fact, speaking with NHL.com’s Amalie Benjamin on Wednesday, Cassidy described it as ‘full steam ahead’ with Rask.
“I think everything that happened in the bubble has been addressed, dealt with,” Cassidy told Benjamin. “We’re moving on, getting ready to win next year. That includes our goaltender.”
It feels like an obvious statement on Nov. 11, but after opting out of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs two games into Boston’s first-round series with the Carolina Hurricanes due to a family emergency, Rask’s Boston future at times seemed murky at best. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney reportedly engaged on trade talks involving the 33-year-old Vezina finalist, and there was a definite opportunity for the B’s to look at their external options in a goalie-heavy free agent and trade market.
But a deal did not materialize, Rask broke his silence on his departure, and the Bruins will once again ride with No. 40.
And given everything that’s gone and been said, Cassidy believes 2020-21 may bring the best out of Rask, who is entering the final year of an eight-year contract that came with a $7 million cap hit.
“I think [Rask] just wants to get back in the net and play hockey and play well and give us a chance to win,” Cassidy offered. “Probably nobody more excited on our team to [be] getting back in there. I would assume that Tuukka would sort of say hey, I’m still the goalie I was last year and I’m ready to go. Family’s good, I’m good. Everyone’s in a good place. Let’s play hockey.”
A highly motivated Rask could be a huge boost to the Bruins, too, as Rask was playing phenomenal hockey prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that paused the season, with a 26-8-6 record, 2.12 goals against average, and .929 save percentage.
The NHL is still targeting a Jan. 1 start for next season.
More on that in the latest edition of The Sports Hub Sidelines podcast…
Matt and Ty are back for a new episode and they’re sticking to hockey, dammit. The NHL is going public with its goals and plans for the 2020-21 season, which could include a temporary realignment of teams based on geographical location. What would that entail and what does it mean for the Bruins and the league?