ST. LOUIS – The expectation was always that goalie Tuukka Rask was going to make the NHL All-Star Game when it was announced, but the Bruins got a pleasant surprise on Tuesday when both Rask and Brad Marchand were named to the Atlantic Division team.
It’s a first-time honor for Rask and Marchand and continues to illustrate the changing of the guard on Boston’s roster, where in years past Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron were standby selections for the Black and Gold. Marchand was excited about the unanticipated honor and is looking forward to the big stage after starring for Team Canada in the World Cup of Hockey earlier this season.
For the second year in a row, the format is a 3-on-3 tournament, with players split into four teams by division. The All-Star Game is Jan. 29 in Los Angeles.
“It’s a huge honor. It’s something that I never really expected to see during my career, especially coming in [to the league],” said Marchand, who leads the B’s with 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists) in 43 games this season. “But it’s something I’ll be very proud of and it should be a lot of fun.
“There’s been a lot going on and it’s been a long year, so [an All-Star nod] hadn’t really been on my mind at all. With the way it was there is one guy needed from each team, and I expected that [Tuukka Rask] would be there. So I didn’t think a whole lot about it, but it’s a huge honor.”
Clearly, Marchand wondered if he’d always be viewed nationally as a pest and a troublemaker rather than an All-Star, but the 37 goals last season combined with the World Cup performance have clearly changed his perception around the league to a large degree.
With Rask preparing for Tuesday night’s start against the Blues at the Scottrade Center, the Bruins netminder is going to wait until after the game to comment on his first All-Star appearance. The 29-year-old Rask is tied for first in the NHL in shutouts (5), third in the NHL in goals-against average (1.93), tied for third in the NHL in wins (20) and tied for fifth in the NHL in save percentage (.928) this season while carrying a Bruins team that has been decidedly average on many nights.
Here’s the full squad of NHL players invited to the NHL All-Star Game with B’s right winger David Pastrnak standing as a worthy Bruins player who didn’t get the invite this time around:
Carey Price (C)
Sidney Crosby (C)
P.K. Subban (C)
Connor McDavid (C)