Bruins not ready to name starting goalie for Wednesday's game against Tampa Bay


Bruins not ready to name starting goalie for Wednesday's game against Tampa Bay

BRIGHTON -- While the Bruins stopped short of announcing who'll be in goal for Wednesday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, coach Bruce Cassidy continued to maintain that the embattled Tuukka Rask is their No. 1 goaltender.

Anton Khudobin, riding a four-game winning streak, is one of the hottest goalies in the NHL, while Tuukka Rask is 3-8-2 this season after giving up three goals on 35 shots in Sunday’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers. But, when pressed, Cassidy said he still has no qualms about Rask being “the guy."

“Ideally I’d like both goalies to give us a chance to win every night and be at the top of their game," said Cassidy. "That’s what we need and that hasn’t changed. It’s just maybe the script has changed a bit from what we thought [it would be]. I think we’ve seen that with Anton, and with Tuukka it’s not there yet. He’s out there competing, but it just hasn’t all pulled together for him yet. It’s a product of the individual and it’s a product of the way the team has played in front of him. If we can get both a little bit better, then the results will be there.

“We’re not afraid to use either goaltender right now. It’s not an exact science. Tuukka is our No. 1 and Anton is our backup, and our backup has played really well. He’s really pushing our No. 1 and we wanted it that way. So hopefully our No. 1 gets his game up there where they’re both playing at their top game. That’s what we want.”

Clearly it’s an odd situation for Rask, who sat for four straight games while healthy for the first time since he was still backing up Tim Thomas in 2011-12. But he wore a calm, confident face while talking after Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

Rask indicated the answer was pretty simple when asked what he wants to accomplish the next time he starts.

“Win,” he said matter-of-factly. “It’s definitely different, but it hasn’t been difficult. It makes you work harder in practice. You definitely don’t want to take anything for granted and your work ethic has to be there no matter what, so you just have to prove yourself every practice that you’re still sharp. Then when you get a chance to play you get your chance to win.

“You’ve got to earn your playing time. I’m pretty sure if I play lights out then I’m going to be playing all the time. If [Khudobin] plays lights out and I play lights out then we’re [both] going to play, and if Dobie plays lights out and I’m not then he’s going to play. I think the situation is going to resolve itself, and I think we’re both in a good situation where we feel good about our games. I haven’t gotten the wins, but I feel like I’ve been on top of my game. I’m just hoping that the results will follow.”

Given that Khudobin is still riding a winning streak, the most reasonable call would be to play Khudobin against Tampa Bay and then reassess the situation again based on how he fares against the high-powered Bolts. It’s clear, though, that sooner or later the Bruins are going to start calling Rask’s number with regularity, and it might happen against Tampa Bay and Philadelphia teams that he’s routinely dominated over the course of his mostly standout career in Boston.


Bruins featured prominently on NBC national schedule

File Photo

Bruins featured prominently on NBC national schedule

The Boston Bruins are coming off back-to-back playoff seasons, so they won’t be any strangers to the national television audience in the upcoming NHL season.

The Bruins are set to be on NBC or NBCSN 14 times in nationally televised games during the 2018-19 season including the Jan. 1 Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame, and their Oct. 3 season opener against the reigning Cup champion Washington Capitals in DC. The 14 games are tied with the New York Rangers for the fifth-most in the NHL behind only the Blackhawks, Capitals, Flyers and Penguins.

The B’s season opener vs. the Caps will actually kick off NBC’s NHL coverage for the regular season, which is set to include a whopping 109 televised games.


Other highlights from the NBC Networks broadcast schedule include a home game against the Atlantic Division rival Montreal Canadiens on Monday, January 14, a road game against the defending Western Conference Champion Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday, February 20, and a home tilt on Thursday Feb. 28 against the Tampa Bay Lightning team that eliminated them in the playoffs.

Here’s the rest of the national television 2018-19 schedule for the Black and Gold that certainly has some games to circle on the ole hockey calendar:  

Bruins Games Broadcast on NBC and NBC Sports Network (all times Eastern):

Wednesday, October 3: Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN

Wednesday, October 17: Boston Bruins at Calgary Flames, 9:30 p.m., NBCSN

Tuesday, January 1: Boston Bruins at Chicago Blackhawks (Winter Classic), 1 p.m., NBC

Monday, January 14: Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN

Wednesday, January 16: Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN

Sunday, February 3: Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals, 12:30 p.m., NBC

Wednesday, February 6: Boston Bruins at New York Rangers, 8 p.m., NBCSN

Tuesday, February 12: Chicago Blackhawks at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m., NBCSN

Monday, February 18: Boston Bruins at San Jose Sharks, 10 p.m., NBCSN

Wednesday, February 20: Boston Bruins at Vegas Golden Knights, 10 p.m., NBCSN

Thursday, February 28: Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN

Sunday, March 10: Boston Bruins at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN

Wednesday, March 27: New York Rangers at Boston Bruins, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN

Sunday, March 31: Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN


Morning Skate: Mikita's legacy extends beyond the ice

NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Morning Skate: Mikita's legacy extends beyond the ice

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the fog officially rolled in this morning.  

*NBC Sports announced their 109-game schedule for the NHL season, and it all starts with the Bruins season opener on Oct. 3 against the Washington Capitals. The Wednesday Night Rivalry games will be done away with and in its place Wednesday Night Hockey is going to feature a more diverse collection of teams and locations featuring non-traditional markets. It’s a great idea and completely called for given the emergence of teams like the Nashville Predators and Vegas Golden Knights.

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Tracey Myers on the lasting legacy of the recently passed Chicago Blackhawks great Stan Mikita when it comes to his work in the community.

*Dylan Larkin got a pretty good deal from the Detroit Red Wings that was deserved given his youth and his production to this point. So why on Earth are we writing 1,000 word think pieces on this? Yeah, I don’t know either.

*Speaking of the Red Wings, it sounds like Henrik Zetterberg may be a giant question mark for this upcoming NHL season based on his health. While it’s a big blog to the Red Wings competitiveness for next season, it might be the best thing for a team that’s still nowhere near competing for a Stanley Cup at this point.

*Three big questions facing the Edmonton Oilers as they ready for a massive season that will undoubtedly have jobs on the line based on an expected return to the playoffs.

*For something completely different: Well, this is one way to discourage cruise ships from going by your coastal home.