Last season, Tuukka Rask came into training camp as the starting goalie. Three weeks later, Tim Thomas had stolen the job away and Rask struggled through large portions of the season.
That being said, the Bruins still view Rask as the goalie of the future and he will get plenty of opportunities to play this season. Tim Thomas was tremendous last season, winning the triple crown of the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe, and Vezina in the span of a couple weeks. He is at the top of his game, but he is 37 years old and is coming off the busiest season of his career. Giving Rask a few more starts will not only keep Rask sharp, but it will push Thomas as well as give him some rest – two things Thomas can use to his advantage.
Boston coach Claude Julien said he felt that creating competition between the two goalies would benefit both of them. Thomas has always been at his best when he feels challenged and like people doubt him. Rask needs to rebuild the confidence he had during his rookie season, during which he was spectacular before running out of gas in the playoffs.
“Both guys are talented and both are driven, and we feel we will need both to be at their best for us to be successful,” Julien said. “We believe we are very fortunate to have two goalies who are so strong.”
Rask understands that pro sports is a results-driven business, and realizes he must earn his playing time this season – something he did not do last season.
“I’m still fairly young and it’s a good thing to get games. You don’t want to be stuck on the bench,” Rask said. “It’s up to me. I have to perform and I’ve got to be good enough to deserve that playing time, because it is not a guarantee.”