Rask not starting vs. Habs with 'very minor injury'

Rask not starting vs. Habs with 'very minor injury'

BOSTON – As has happened countless times the past few years, Tuukka Rask will not be starting against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

Anton Khudobin will get the nod against the Habs with Rask nursing a “very minor injury,” according to Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. Rask got the win on Thursday night against the Penguins in his third game in a six-day span, but was dreadful in the first period allowing three goals on the first six shots he faced before settling in. With Khudobin scheduled to play either Saturday vs. Montreal or Tuesday night at home against the Detroit Red Wings, Cassidy opted to go with the backup against Boston’s arch-rivals in their final meeting of the season.

“I talked to Tuukka and he’s playing through a very, very minor injury, so we’ll give him a couple of extra days before going against Detroit, and then we’ll split them up again on the weekend,” said Cassidy. “The discussion was with Tuukka himself. Listen, he knows his body better than I do. ‘Are you good to go, or are you better off [with a few days rest]?’…that’s how we’re laying it out.

“So he said ‘No, let’s get Anton in there and I’ll use the extra time.’ That will happen with other players as well, and that will be a part of it. Will we have the luxury to do that with other players down the stretch? I don’t know. Right now we like our position. We’d like to move up…don’t get me wrong. But we’re not in a dogfight like some of the other teams, so we can afford to a little bit of that.”

The break this weekend should be a welcome one for Rask as he’s posted an .888 save percentage in his past six games and allowed three goals or more in four of those six games, including a blowout loss in Vancouver Canucks on Boston’s last road trip. With a history of wearing down in the stretch run, keeping Rask fresh and 100 percent efficient has been one of Boston’s big seasonal goals this year, and sitting him on Saturday - against a team he's 10-15-3 lifetime, with a 2.41 goals-against average - would certainly qualify as part of that.

The Bruins just have to hope that putting their No. 1 goalie in bubble wrap for a few days elicits the same kind of hot streak as the one Rask rode midseason when he went 21 consecutive starts with a point, and went 19-0-2 in that stretch as the NHL’s hottest goalie.

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Canadiens with Danton Heinen also returning to the lineup, and pushing Tommy Wingels up to the press box as a healthy scratch:  










Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

Donato misses Bruins practice for Harvard class commitment

It might have caused a ripple when Ryan Donato wasn’t on the ice on Tuesday afternoon in St. Louis for Bruins practice on the day after his brilliant, three-point NHL debut for the Black and Gold. But the 21-year-old Donato was still back in the Boston area fulfilling some class requirements at Harvard University to help him close out the current semester properly, and not lose the credits that will keep him in line with fulfilling his junior year at Harvard University.

Believe it or not, the schoolwork is important to the newest member of the Boston Bruins and he intends to study and hit the books on his road trips, and also intends to take classes in the summertime to still graduate on time next season.

“I’m planning on finishing the semester academically. I want to finish the semester academically,” said Donato, after Monday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena prior to last night’s debut vs. Columbus. “Obviously it’s going to be something that’s difficult, but for me it was a dream to graduate from Harvard. I’m putting that off a little bit, but I need to be able to finish this semester in order to have that opportunity, and not put it off for another couple of years. I want to finish out the semester.”

Donato is also still living in the Harvard dorms while “moonlighting” as an NHL hockey player for the rest of the season, but that isn’t all so uncommon among some of the college players that leave school early. Charlie McAvoy was similarly living in the Boston University dorms last spring through Boston’s playoff run, and didn’t clear out of his college living situation until after the Black and Gold had been eliminated by the Ottawa Senators last April.

Missing practices on an NHL schedule is certainly a new one with, Donato, however, and takes the student-athlete concept to a whole new level for somebody that's already turned pro. One has to expect this was one of the things being discussed in full when the Donato family, Ryan's agent and the Bruins discussed his contract terms over the weekend before coming to an agreement.

Along with Donato, who is scheduled to fly into St. Louis and play against the Blues on Wednesday night, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, David Backes, Jake DeBrusk, Rick Nash and Torey Krug were all missing from the ice at Tuesday’s team practice ahead of a four game road trip against Western Conference opponents.


Morning Skate: Claude's Habs 'not a very good team'

File photo

Morning Skate: Claude's Habs 'not a very good team'

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while not really digging these forecasts of more snow.

*You know, if he weren’t making millions and millions of dollars I might actually feel bad for ol' Claude Julien up in Montreal busting out the “We’re not a very good team” soliloquy with the Habs. That team flat out stinks this season and these past few weeks it can’t be fun at all being the head coach of that dumpster fire.

*Darren Dreger says there is no rush for the Toronto Maple Leafs to bring back Auston Matthews before he’s ready to go, and that’s absolutely the case so close to the playoffs.

*Here are five Hart Trophy-caliber players that won’t get a sniff of the voting, but deserve some attention nonetheless. There are no Bruins players on the list if you’re wondering, but some pretty good ones in Johnny Gaudreau and Aleksander Barkov.

*The NHL general managers are weighing potential changes to the goalie-interference interpretation ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

*While it still looks a Swedish defenseman is going to be the No. 1 overall pick this June, there are some other players rocketing up the list.

*For something completely different: The definitive ranking of Girl Scout cookies from best-to-worst that we’ve all been waiting for.

*Song of the Week: Haven’t done one of these in a long, long time, but I like this Calvin Harris/Katy Perry/Pharrell Williams tune that I hadn’t heard until the past couple of days.