Bruins

Bruins' Tuukka Rask says he's not thinking about retirement right now

Bruins' Tuukka Rask says he's not thinking about retirement right now

For a guy who's talked retirement multiple times in the last 18 months, Tuukka Rask continues to evade getting pinned down on any long-term choices for his NHL career.

The 33-year-old Bruins goaltender is entering the final year of his contract with the Bruins next season and said on a Monday Zoom video conference call with B’s reporters that he really could go either way when it comes to how long he’ll keep playing in the NHL.

Rask could be a guy who plays through one more contract and then walks away at 36 years old, or he could try to be one of those NHL goalies who keeps on grinding into his 40s if the mind, body and spirit are willing.

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He has made over $50 million in his NHL career, so Rask likely won’t be doing it for the money.

But there is the elusive Stanley Cup that he’s twice failed to grasp as the Stanley Cup Final starter in 2013 and 2019 after winning one as the backup for the 2011 Bruins.

Rask certainly didn’t sound like somebody who's going to walk away from a standout NHL career after next season while playing at a Vezina Trophy level this year, as he's ranked at the top of the NHL with a 2.12 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. Instead it’s a decision that remains to be made based on how he’s feeling at the time.

“I know that this summer I can talk about a possible extension with the Bruins, so we’ll see where that goes. I definitely don’t have thoughts about retirement or anything like that,” said Rask, who has remained at his Boston home in Newton during the self-quarantine while his third daughter Olivia was born. “We’ll see how this season plays out and then we’ll see if there are extension talks happening. I’ve never really thought about that really, the age number that I would like to play until.  

“I think a lot of it has to do with how much you really want to keep playing. Is your body healthy? Do you have that passion for the game still? Those are the questions that you kind of try to take. It’s not a question of playing until you’re 36 or 40, or whatever. You can play as long as you can as long as your body feels healthy and you still want to do it.

When that drive slows down, then you need to rethink and revisit whether it’s something you want to do. I still have that passion for winning and playing, and that drives me. I haven’t put a number into what it’s going to be. Maybe it’s 36 or 37 and maybe it’s 42. You never know. Maybe I’ll be the goalie that plays until 45 [years old] and maybe not.

This is the same Rask who's recently joked multiple times following the Winter Classic and even just a few months ago about hanging them up sooner rather than later, so it might also depend on how the B’s goaltender is feeling that day as well.

The fact that the Bruins signed backup goalie Jaroslav Halak to a one-year contract for next season is a positive sign from the Bruins they think Rask will keep playing beyond the 2020-21 season. Otherwise, they might be more motivated to throw one of their young goalie prospects into the mix to see if they might be the future No. 1 guy once Rask has hung up the goalie pads.

If Rask keeps going beyond next season, there is less urgency to get an NHL look at guys like Daniel Vladar, Kyle Keyser or Jeremy Swayman.

For now, though, it sounds like Rask wants to keep going while close to the top of his game at 33 years old. So there’s no reason to think Tuukka Time won’t keep going on for at least a few more years into the future so long as he keeps stopping the puck.  

Providence Bruins create award dedicated to memory of Colby Cave

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Providence Bruins create award dedicated to memory of Colby Cave

Four months after the tragic death of Colby Cave, the Providence Bruins are taking action to ensure his legacy will not be forgotten.

Cave was just 25 years old when he died in April after suffering a brain bleed.

But now the Providence Bruins have partnered with the Cave Family and the Boston Bruins Foundation to create the Colby Cave Memorial Award to honor his commitment to helping those in need. The award will be presented each season to a deserving Providence Bruins player for their dedication to the community and charitable organizations. 

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“The Colby Cave Memorial Award is a special way to honor and remember Colby for his leadership qualities and humanitarian efforts,” said Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney in a statement. “Driven and committed to be an NHL player, Colby was also uniquely unselfish with teammates and anyone that needed help! Emily, the Cave Family and the entire Hockey World lost a great person who was beloved by everyone that was fortunate enough to spend time with Colby Cave.”

"From the first day he stepped into the Dunkin’ Donuts Center to the day he left for the NHL, Colby Cave inspired each and every one of us with his diligence, selflessness and compassion,” added Providence head coach Jay Leach. “Always the first to help, both with his teammates, and throughout our community, Colby set the precedent that we aspire to uphold."

Cave signed with the Bruins as an undrafted free agent in 2015 and spent several years in Providence where he played alongside Bruins like Jake DeBrusk (also a teammate of Cave's in juniors), Sean Kuraly, Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon and others. 

In 239 games with the P-Bruins, Cave often wore the 'A' as the team's assistant captain, racking up 43 goals and 115 points in parts of five seasons. He made his Boston debut in December 2017 and appeared in 23 games with the Bruins over two seasons, but when the team attempted to return him back to Providence in January 2019, he was claimed on waivers by the Oilers, with whom he played 44 games over the last two seasons.

Fans who would like to honor Colby’s memory can do so by donating at BostonBruins.com/Community/Foundation-Donations. The fund’s proceeds go toward community programs with an emphasis on mental health initiatives and providing access to sports for underprivileged children.

NHL Playoffs: Bruins make lineup changes for Game 1; David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask ready to go

NHL Playoffs: Bruins make lineup changes for Game 1; David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask ready to go

The Bruins will have a full, healthy group when they take the ice for Game 1 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night at the Toronto bubble at Scotiabank Arena.

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask were both part of an optional morning skate on Tuesday and Rask will get the start against the Hurricanes after posting a gaudy .955 save percentage against them in the Eastern Conference Final a little over a year ago. Otherwise, it will be rugged rookie D-man Jeremy Lauzon getting the starting nod for the Bruins on the bottom pairing and Connor Clifton coming out of the lineup after he played well in last weekend’s round-robin finale vs. Washington.

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On Monday, the Bruins readied for the “real games” by watching a video that featured all of the coaches', players' and staff’s families wishing the Bruins well from back home, and sending the message that “we are all in it” from Boston. Now that the glorified exhibition games of the round robin are over with, Cassidy said there’s a tangible note of excitement in the group as they ready for the first round.

This is exactly what the Bruins have been waiting five months for while staying sharp and in shape during a global pandemic.

"I think guys right now are pretty focused on the job at hand. That's Game 1 against Carolina,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I think we've all been looking forward to this first playoff game. I think our guys are excited.

“It’s the way we played at the end of the year [with Lauzon] and we’re not burying that part of the season. Clifton played [a round robin game] and Johnny Moore one game, so we probably made that decision back in training camp with the way we allotted the ice time. At the end of the day if we need to make a switch in the lineup then we will, but we felt that gives us the best balance in our lineup of size and puck-moving ability.”

For the Carolina Hurricanes, they are expected to get Dougie Hamilton back after having not played for the last seven months following a broken leg suffered in the middle of January.

With Lauzon in the lineup and the Bruins settling into their middle-6 lines with Ondrej Kase and Anders Bjork on the right side, here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings set to go up against the Hurricanes on Tuesday night:

FORWARD LINES

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk David Krejci Ondrej Kase
Nick Ritchie Charlie Coyle Anders Bjork
Joakim Nordstrom Sean Kuraly Chris Wagner

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk Jeremy Lauzon

GOALTENDER

Tuukka Rask