Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Sep 24, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goalie Brandon Bussi (30) waits for play to begin against the New York Rangers during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Much to the chagrin of Rick Pitino (I would imagine), former Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask walked through that door of Brighton’s Warrior Ice Arena on Thursday.

He was a little bit older (though he wasn’t gray), sure, but he put the pads on. Not only did he put the pads on, but he joined his former club for the morning skate.

  • To quote anybody in any mind-melting scene, what the hell is happening?!

    Now, Rask did not go full 2022 comeback attempt and join Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman for the morning skate, as the latter was absent from the crease opposite Ullmark. The morning came and went with Rask on the ice and Swayman off the ice, and with the admission from Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery that the Bruins would need an emergency backup with Jeremy Swayman away from the team due to an illness.

    But that backup will not be a coming-out-of-retirement Rask, Montgomery did note.

    “We will call up a goalie to back up tonight, but unfortunately, it’s not going to be Tuukka,” Montgomery said after the skate. “Tuukka was good out there, wasn’t he? He hasn’t worked out in two years, he said.”

  • By all accounts, the 36-year-old Rask, who formally retired from hockey in Feb. 2022, was simply playing the role of substitute goalie for the Bruins on a random Thursday morning.

    It makes sense given Rask’s proximity to the rink (he and his family live in Massachusetts year round except for the brief break in the summer), and Rask will always beat bringing a bum like me off the street. (For the record, I do live in Brighton and I am always available to get absolutely wrecked with some slap shots to the chest.)

  • Sep 24, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goalie Brandon Bussi (30) waits for play to begin during the second period against the New York Rangers at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 24, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goalie Brandon Bussi (30) waits for play to begin during the second period against the New York Rangers at TD Garden. (Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports)

    As for who will actually serve as Linus Ullmark’s backup, the Bruins made it official later in the day with the recall of Brandon Bussi from Providence on an emergency basis.

    The No. 3 goaltender on the B’s organizational depth chart, the 6-foot-5 Bussi is joining the big club in the midst of a 2023-24 campaign that’s come with a 6-4-2 record and .917 save percentage in 12 games with Providence.

    Overall, the 25-year-old Bussi, who was an AHL All Star last season, has posted a 31-11-6 record and .922 save percentage in 49 AHL appearances over the last three seasons.

    But the hope is that the Bruins won’t need Bussi tonight against Buffalo, and there’s solid thinking behind that, as Ullmark comes into tonight’s contest with a perfect 4-0-0 record and .953 save percentage in four head-to-heads against the Sabres since leaving Buffalo for Boston in the 2021 offseason.

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