The Boston Bruins are currently scheduled to return to play on Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators.
How much longer could it be before goaltender Tuukka Rask rejoins the team?
Speaking with the media on Sunday during the NHL's holiday pause amid rising COVID-19 cases, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy gave a timeline for when the Black and Gold's all-time wins leader in net could re-enter the crease: Three more weeks, which would be in the midst of a six-game homestand -- immediately following a three-game road swing --for the Bruins as currently slated.
"We had to make a determination, if we're on the road, we're traveling, one of those is a day off, how are we going to get him what he needs and still take care of us, right?" Cassidy said, via NHL.com. "That was being discussed. If he didn't go with us, where is he getting the work? Is it Providence? I think that was the week they were saying any time after that he may be ready to go if his doctors clear him to play."
Rask once again skated with the B's their Sunday practice at Warrior Ice Arena, where he's been a regular as he recovers from a torn labrum in his right hip.
Boston is 14-10-2, in fifth place in the Atlantic Division and three points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the second and final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Prior to the unexpected hiatus, the Bruins had lost back-to-back games to the Vegas Golden Knights and New York Islanders.
Despite their middling record, goaltending hasn't been a major issue for the B's. Rookie Jeremy Swayman and veteran free agent signing Linus Ullmark have combined for a .919 save percentage, tied for eighth in the 32-team NHL, and have given up an average of 2.62 goals per game, ninth in the league.
Rask, 34, has only played for the Bruins since he was traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs while still a prospect in the summer of 2006. He won a Vezina Trophy in 2013-14 as the league's top goaltender and led Boston to an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final in 2013 and 2019 after serving as backup to Tim Thomas during the Cup-winning season of 2010-11.
In 2020-21, Rask went 15-5-2 with a .913 save percentage and 2.28 goals against average with two shutouts for the Bruins.