Bruins hope Tuukka Rask concussion 'settles itself quickly' after nasty hit

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Bruins hope Tuukka Rask concussion 'settles itself quickly' after nasty hit

BOSTON – Things turned quickly for Tuukka Rask in Saturday’s loss to the New York Rangers where it went from going for a historic win to not even being able to get out of the first period in one piece. Rask was knocked out of Boston’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers with a concussion after getting crushed by Rangers winger Filip Chytil on a power rush to the net that resulted in New York’s first goal.

Chytil was headed to the net with a head of steam, and went airborne when shoved by Charlie McAvoy in what ended with a violent collision at the net. Rask was spaghetti-legged as he left the ice with a concussion and Jaroslav Halak absorbed his fourth loss in his last five appearances while allowing two goals on 13 shots.

Now the Bruins are hoping that more than a week of rest time – thanks to the bye week and NHL All-Star weekend – will be enough to find Rask healthy and ready to resume his duties when the regular season resumes.

“He’s concussed. That’s all I know, so he’ll go into protocol. The best-case scenario for those is usually the next day if he’s doing well,” said Bruce Cassidy of Rask, who went into Saturday night with a 2.43 goals against average and a .920 save percentage while playing some of his best hockey of the season. “Then he’s up and running and it shouldn’t be too badly affected by it other than the immediate, today’s kind of pain and symptoms. If he’s not, then it’s one of those where you just keep your fingers crossed and hope it settles itself out quickly.

“I don’t want this to come out of context, but the timing is probably the best it’s ever going to be, right? If you’re going to have this injury because you do have nine days before you play again, so for any player. But there is no good timing, having said that, because who knows how it’ll play out for him. So it’s unfortunate.”

Cassidy was also quick to point that he didn’t think the collision was intentional on the part of Chytil, who definitely appeared to lose his balance once he made contact with McAvoy while going full speed at the Bruins net.

“I don’t think there’s intent to hit the goalie. I think that’s rare. There’s probably a player or two that tries not to get out of the way, for sure. I don’t think this kid tried to hit him. I think he did hit him. How much Charlie [McAvoy] affected that? The reaction is did the goal go in because he hit him or the puck went in first clearly, so it’s a good goal? I thought there are nights where it would’ve been called goalie interference after the goal and we would’ve been on the power play, not that tonight would’ve been the best night for that,” said Cassidy. “At the end of day, I’ve seen that call. He didn’t make it. He felt Charlie had something to do with the contact, and you move on.”

It’s the second documented concussion for Rask after he suffered one in Bruins practice a couple of years ago when Anders Bjork ran over him during a particularly lively practice drill, and ended up missing more than a week of action in his recovery. 

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NHL Power Rankings: Who's leading the way at the All-Star break?

NHL Power Rankings: Who's leading the way at the All-Star break?

With the NHL All-Star break upon us, it’s time to focus on this weekend’s festivities in St. Louis where there will be a new skills challenge format, a great collection of the NHL’s best and a celebration of a pretty great NHL city that finally captured the Cup last season.

All of the NHL All-Star action will be on NBCSN and NBC, starting Friday with the skills challenge where David Pastrnak will undoubtedly look to defend his shot accuracy title, and the NHL’s hardest shot will again be a big draw even if Zdeno Chara won’t be there to wow the crowd.

For the fifth year in a row, there will be a 3-on-3 tournament on Saturday that will count as the All-Star Game, and there will be 19 new faces to All-Star Weekend with perennial stars like Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Artemi Panarin, Tuukka Rask and Vladimir Tarasenko missing due to injuries, or a desire to get some rest over the break. 

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According to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, there will even be a part of the skills challenge where players are firing pucks from the stands and the concourse down onto targets on the ice for extra points.

So it should be a ton of fun this weekend in St. Louis with a lot of fresh blood and enthusiasm.

Click here for the midseason NHL Power Rankings.

David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron among NHL's midseason award contenders

David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron among NHL's midseason award contenders

The NHL regular season midpoint is a natural time to take a peek at the candidates for the NHL Awards, and that’s exactly what the PHWA (Professional Hockey Writers Association) does with their Midseason NHL Awards timed to come out at All-Star weekend.

The first-place Bruins are well-represented, as Boston’s lone All-Star player representative David Pastrnak has been named one of three finalists for the Hart Trophy at the halfway mark.

The 23-year-old Pastrnak leads all players with 37 goals scored in 51 games played for the Bruins at the break and is fourth in the NHL with 70 points while on pace for 60 goals and 114 points this season.

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While Patrice Bergeron has missed time with injuries and Brad Marchand went ice cold in much of December and January, Pastrnak has been the constant game-breaker and power play weapon who, at times, has been the one thing pulling the Bruins through some of the tough times. Pastrnak was one of three players on the midseason Hart Trophy list along with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon in some very select company.

The Bruins were also represented on the Selke trophy midseason ballot as Patrice Bergeron was one of three finalists for the award for best defensive player, an award that No. 37 has already won four times in his esteemed NHL career.

Bergeron is winning 58.3 percent of his faceoffs while ranking fourth in the NHL with 550 draw wins overall and has posted 21 goals and 41 points in 42 games along with a plus-15 rating. Bergeron was named a Selke Trophy midseason finalist along with Philadelphia’s Sean Couturier and St. Louis center Ryan O’Reilly, a trio of names who are no strangers to being considered for the league’s top defensive award.

Here are the full results for the PHWA Midseason NHL Awards with 117 writers from all 32 NHL chapters participating who will also be voting on the genuine NHL Awards ballot at the end of the season. So it's a pretty good indicator both Pastrnak and Bergeron could be finalists at the end of the season as well:

Hart Trophy — to the player adjudged to be most valuable to his team.

  • 1. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
  • 2. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
  • 3. David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins

Norris Trophy — to the defenseman who demonstrates the greatest all-round ability in the position.

  • 1. John Carlson, Washington Capitals
  • 2. Roman Josi, Nashville Predators
  • 3. Dougie Hamilton, Carolina Hurricanes

Selke Trophy — to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.

  • 1. Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers
  • 2. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
  • 3. Ryan O’Reilly, St. Louis Blues

Calder Trophy — to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition.

  • 1. Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche
  • 2. Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks
  • 3. Victor Olofsson, Buffalo Sabres

Lady Byng Trophy — to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.

  • 1. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
  • 2. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • 3. Ryan O’Reilly, St. Louis Blues

Vezina Trophy — to the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position.

  • 1. Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets
  • 2. Ben Bishop, Dallas Stars
  • 3. Darcy Kuemper, Arizona Coyotes

Jack Adams Award — to the coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team's success.

  • 1. Mike Sullivan, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 2. John Tortorella, Columbus Blue Jackets
  • 3. Craig Berube, St. Louis Blues

Jim Gregory GM of the Year Award — to the General Manager adjusted to have contributed most to his team's success.

  • 1. Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche
  • 2. John Chayka, Arizona Coyotes
  • 3. Doug Armstrong, St. Louis Blues

Rod Langway Award — to the defenseman who best excels in the defensive aspect of the game.

  • 1. Jaccob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes
  • 2. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • 3. Roman Josi, Nashville Predators

Comeback Player of the Year Award — to the player who returned to a previous high level of performance that was interrupted by subpar play, long-term injury or major illness.

  • 1. William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • 2. Anthony Duclair, Ottawa Senators
  • 3. Max Pacioretty, Vegas Golden Knights