To the shock of most, the Bruins have been able to keep their heads above water without both Jaroslav Halak and Tuukka Rask available.
In the case of Rask, it’s been just one 20-minute appearance since the 34-year-old was injured in a Mar. 7 loss to the Deviils, while Halak landed (and remains) on the COVID list prior to last Monday’s meeting with the Flyers.
But there’s good news on the Rask front, as revealed by Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy during a Tuesday conversation with Toucher & Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
“Tuukka’s practicing,” Cassidy told the guys. “We’ve got him targeted for Thursday. We were not sure this week. We have four games this week, back-to-back Thursday-Friday, so it might have been tonight and Friday, or tonight and Thursday.
“But it looks like it’s going to be Thursday [and] Sunday for him.”
If indeed mapped out as Boston’s plan, that means that the Bruins will have to soldier on with the young-but-capable tandem of Daniel Vladar and Jeremy Swayman before getting Rask back in action. (The Bruins have already confirmed that Swayman will get the call in net for Tuesday’s head-to-head with the Sabres at TD Garden.)
“That’s good news for us,” Cassidy said of Rask’s expected return to game action. “You know, they’ve taken their time a little bit with this one. We didn’t want a reoccurrence of what happened last time where he came back too quick.”
Rask’s injury has been dubbed the forever-vague “upper-body” injury, but it’s appeared that it has something to do with his back. The way he hobbled off the ice in that Mar. 7 loss and left his Mar. 25 appearance looking tight certainly helped us all (visually) diagnose Rask’s ailment. But it’s one that the Bruins want to see fully healed before throwing him back in net.
“This injury, it’s tough,” Cassidy offered. “Guys get hurt, you know? He came back a little too soon. Is that his fault? Is that the medical team’s fault? Is that bad luck? I don’t know. But at the end of the day, we want to get them right for the stretch here because I think every team would tell you that you need your No. 1 goalie.”
Rask has posted a 8-4-2 record and .907 save percentage in 2021.
You can listen to Cassidy’s full interview with the guys below…