A lot of us were worried about Tuukka Rask. He had been Tim Thomas‘ back up goalie, and we were worried that he could not handle the pressure of being the number one goaltender. I’d like to think he erased that doubt from most people’s minds. While there are some people who would want to see Ilya Bryzgalov, or Tim Thomas or another person in net, a majority of Bruins fans are satisfied that the clock can run on Tuukka time. Rask got us all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
Tuukka had a 19-10-5 with five shutouts during the regular season with an even 2.00 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. The playoff numbers look even better. He ran a 14-8-3 record with three shutouts. His goals against was 1.88, and his save percentage was a .940. (Those numbers were better than Tim Thomas 2011 run. The only thing lacking in that season was the Stanley Cup.)
The Bruins front office know how important Tuukka is to the Bruins and will make a serious commitment to keeping him. General Manager Peter Chiarelli stressed the importance of locking in their lead goaltender for the near future. “Well, you’d like to get everything done quickly. I don’t know if I’ll have that luxury, but certainly I’ll try just so you have your certainty on your team and cap and all that,” said Chiarelli. “He’s obviously had a terrific playoff and we’d like to get him done as soon as we can.”
At present, the Bruins sit just about five million under next year’s cap hit of $64,300,000. Tuukka would like to see a six year, thirty-nine million dollar contract. That kind of salary cap hit while possible, could prove problematic for retaining core players in a few seasons time. Peter Chiarelli has often stated that he wants to keep the core of this team together, and that desire may end up at a crossroads if that deal is struck as is.
Rask wants to stay in Boston. He’s happy here, he’s with one of the best teams in the league, and two days after Chicago won the Cup the odds makers have Boston as a 9-1 shot of winning the 2014 Stanley Cup as is. Rask wants to have that kind of magic happen, and happen while he’s wearing the eight-spoked ‘B’. “It would be an ideal situation. I want to play here forever, and hopefully that gets to happen,” Rask told CSNNE. “We’re going to make [the contract] happen. I’m not really worried that things are going to fall apart because we can’t make it work. Obviously we’re going to have some talks, but at the end of the day we’re going to leave all the [expletive] aside and make a deal that makes everybody happy.”
“I don’t think I have to answer any of those questions anymore. I played good, and I proved to everybody again that I was capable of doing it. You look at the numbers, and they were good. If you analyze how I felt and looked at different times during the year, and that was pretty good too. I felt really good throughout the regular season and playoffs. You can always be better, but I felt pretty good.”