Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 21: Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden on January 21, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Free agent goaltender Tuukka Rask took yet another step towards his inevitable return to the Bruins on Monday, as the 34-year-old participated in Monday’s on-ice session at Warrior Ice Arena with the Bruins.

Rask has, of course, been working out on his own with B’s trainers and members of the staff on his own, but had yet to join the club for a team-organized activity prior to Monday. That changed with Rask stepping in as the team’s emergency backup goaltender with Linus Ullmark among those unavailable due to a non-COVID illness.

There’s no contract on the books just yet, but Rask’s return was enough to get the practice sheet buzzing.

“It was good to see [Rask],” Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco said. “Brought the excitement level up a little bit for the boys. I think he had some fun, and I know the guys were excited to see him there too.”

“It’s always fun having [Rask] out there,” Bruins winger Brad Marchand, fresh off his three-game suspension, said. “It’s incredibly frustrating shooting on him. You try to shoot as hard as you can and he just makes it look so simple.

“Just such a gifted and talented goalie. Great to see him back out there.”

Rask’s timeline still projects him to be return sometime in early 2022, and the Bruins seem to think that timeline looks right based on what they saw from the career-long Bruin out there on Monday.

“Just by watching him, he looked good,” said Sacco. “I can’t tell as far as how close he is [to returning] or not, but certainly looked good out there.”

“Tuuks is one of the best goalies to play during our time, so him coming back, if he’s ready to play, is obviously great for the group,” Marchand offered. “Tuuks is another guy who can come in and make a difference.”

The Bruins have made it clear that No. 40 has a home on the Bruins so long as he’s healthy and ready to go.

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Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.