Bruins

Rask as 'comfortable' as Cassidy has seen him all season

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Rask as 'comfortable' as Cassidy has seen him all season

PHILADELPHIA – Saturday afternoon was another positive step for Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask in reestablishing himself as an elite goalie.

There were no spectacular saves and both Rask the Bruins were on the right side of a successful goalie interference challenge at the end of the second period, but credit where it’s due to the Bruins No. 1 goalie for stopping 28 shots in a 3-0 win for the B’s over the Flyers. It was Rask’s first shutout this season and the first time all season that the Bruins netminder has won consecutive starts.

As Bruce Cassidy said after the game was over, it was as “comfortable” as Rask has looked this season and that’s something that bodes well moving forward.

“Tuukka looked as comfortable as I’ve seen him all year. He was efficient in the net,” said Bruce Cassidy of Rask, who improved to a .906 save percentage (tied for 25th in the NHL with Matt Murray) and a 2.65 goals against average (tied for 11th in the NHL with Braden Holtby and Roberto Luongo) on the season. “I sound like a broken record, but we need both goalies playing well and especially your No. 1 [needs that.] For him to find his game, feel good about it and get wins, I’m sure he’s feeling really good about his game. He should be. I thought he looked comfortable and square. It didn’t look like they were going to get anything by him, at least that’s what I saw.”

Perhaps just as important as Rask looking confident on his angles and aggressive challenging shooters, the Bruins team also played tight, strong and supportive defense in front of him. For one of the few times all season, everything really came together for both the B’s and Rask while working together on the ice.

“I felt solid, but I thought we just had a really good game. The second period they had a couple of rushes because we didn’t reload, but the PK did a terrific job the whole night. It was a team effort again,” said Rask. “There were a couple of odd-man rushes in the second, but other than that we cleared the net front very well, and I pretty much saw every puck.

“I’ve said that you just have to believe the bounces are going to start going your way. Today we got one call with the goalie interference, and I thought there was no question about it. Those are the little things that make a big difference in the results.”

Now the Bruins will look to keep things rolling with Anton Khudobin on Monday night in Nashville against the Predators, where he’ll be looking to extend to a personal five-game winning streak that would really start putting Boston’s puck-stopping tandem in a rarified spot. 

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For the Bruins, watching Olympic hockey "stings a bit"

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For the Bruins, watching Olympic hockey "stings a bit"

TORONTO – It’s no secret that NHL players weren’t happy about being barred from participating in the Winter Olympics wrapping up in South Korea this week. 

Instead the NHL continued their regular season with business as usual while skipping the Olympics for the first time since 1998, and college hockey players, minor league players and players already playing overseas in Europe were utilized to comprise the teams for the US, Canada and others participating in the Olympic Men’s Hockey tournament. 

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The lack of NHL participation has made for a wide open tournament at this month’s Olympics, and led to the major upset of Canada actually losing to Germany on Friday in a match to play for the gold medal game this weekend. That was bad news for former Bruins forward Chris Kelly as the captain of Team Canada at the tail end of his hockey career, but great news for fellow former B’s forward Marco Sturm as the head coach of Team Germany. 

Naturally one couldn’t help but wonder what was going through the minds of players like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, who certainly would have both been on Team Canada, watching Hockey Canada fall short of the gold medal game. 

“Obviously you cheer for your country and that’s what we were all doing. I got up early to catch a little of the game,” said Bergeron. “It’s too bad. I thought Germany played a really good game, and there’s a part of me that’s very happy for Marco [Sturm] since he’s a friend of mine. We played together for a long time.

“It was tough. You wanted to be out there and you wanted to be able to compete. It’s too bad that we didn’t have a say in it. That’s probably the biggest thing for me. That’s my biggest disappointment that we had no say in being a part of it. It was different. The last two Olympics I was in it, and now being able to watch it on TV it’s actually been a lot of fun to be able to watch different events at any time of the day.”

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While Bergeron has his two gold medals from each of the past two Olympic Games to go along with his memories, Marchand might have missed his one chance to be a part of Team Canada at the Olympics during the peak of his hockey career. Coming off last season’s stunning performance from Team Canada at the World Cup, Marchand would have been close to an automatic for the Olympic roster, but instead it’s an experience he may have simply missed the boat on given that he’ll be 33 years old the next time around. 

“Obviously you get over it, but it was more about it being an opportunity lost, I think,” said Marchand. “It was a potential opportunity lost, but it allows other guys to have opportunities. I couldn’t be any happier that a guy like Chris Kelly gets to be there. It’s a huge opportunity. A lost opportunity for us is a huge opportunity for other guys…but it would have been nice to be there and be a part of it. It’s the biggest stage in the world.  

“The biggest reason it stings is that I never thought I would even be potentially be looked at for a team like that. With how things have played out the last couple of years, I might have been able to crack that [Olympic] lineup. So I think it stings a little more for that reason…to have the rug pulled out from under you for no reason. It does sting a bit, but that’s how it goes.”

That stinging feeling from the league pulling out of the Olympics will no doubt be revisited the next time the NHL and NHLPA go to the bargaining table for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. But that’s a different story for a different day as the first Winter Olympics without NHL players in 20 years finally goes into the books this weekend.

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DeBrusk on being subject of trade rumors: "I love being a Bruin"

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DeBrusk on being subject of trade rumors: "I love being a Bruin"

TORONTO – Jake DeBrusk has heard about the trade rumors. Heck, the 21-year-old has actually been traded before in his hockey career as he was dealt in junior hockey from Swift Current to the Red Deer Rebels in his final season. It’s a little different, however, when DeBrusk hears his name involved in trade rumors with New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, and reports indicate that DeBrusk is a name that Rangers GM Jeff Gorton wants included in any deal. 

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It makes perfect sense with DeBrusk off to a strong start to his NHL career with 11 goals and 29 points in 54 games while playing a top-6 role next to David Krejci, and just scratching the surface of how good he can be with the Bruins. Brandon Carlo has likewise been mentioned prominently as well as a young NHL player being sought after in trade talks. 

But the bottom line for all the Bruins youngsters is that they don’t want to go anywhere, and are doing their best to block everything out while preparing to go out and do their best. 

“I got traded in junior, so I know a little bit about it…but it’s a little different when it’s the magnitude of the NHL,” said DeBrusk. “We’re just focusing on getting wins, and doing everything I can do to help the team win. At the same you’re keeping an eye out and looking [at the rumors] secretly. But it is what it is. You can’t control it. You can only control your play, and do anything I can to help the team win now. You can only take it day by day. 

“I love being with these guys and we’re a pretty tight group. So whatever happens is going to happen, but at the same time whoever is on the ice we’ll go to battle with them.”

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Clearly DeBrusk wants to stick with the team that selected him 14th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, and the Bruins would do well to keep a talented, likable and bright youngster that could be a meaningful member of the organization for a long, long time. But he’s also drawing whatever positive that he can out of the situation, and the biggest one is that other NHL teams are clearly taking notice of what he’s done this season as a rookie. 

Being the primary name mentioned in a deal for a player like the captain of the New York Rangers means you must be doing a lot of things right. 

“When you’re a rookie with your name being thrown around and the other guy has some pretty high stature in the league, it’s a compliment. But I don’t look too much into it,” said DeBrusk. “I love being a Bruin. I just want to continue to get better, continue to improve and I’ve got lots of room to grow. I’m just taking it shift-by-shift.”

That’s a smart kid with a good answer as he focuses on his game on the ice, and learns on the job to navigate through his first NHL experience that’s now included being at the heart of a juicy trade rumor for the Black and Gold.

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