Bruins officially sign Tuukka Rask; beat Canadiens 5-1
After being released from his professional tryout with the Providence Bruins on Tuesday, goalie Tuukka Rask officially signed a one-year $1 million contract with Bruins.
In a subsequent move, rookie Jeremy Swayman was demoted to Providence.
“Disappointed, but not overly surprised based on what was trending and how it was tracking for Tuukka’s health and potential availability,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said about Swayman’s reaction. “Jeremy took it in stride as a professional, and he’s extremely motivated to be a top flight goaltender, which we believe in.”
For Rask, he put his money where his mouth is. After admitting multiple times throughout his rehab process that money wasn’t a priority, his contract backs that up. Although his cap hit comes at $1 million, Rask will be paid a prorated $545,000.
“I think the biggest motivation is to play with the group I played with my whole career and have a chance to win, that’s about it. When you do a surgery like that for a goalie, it’s a pretty significant injury, takes a lot of time to recover,” Rask said.
“When you try and come back, you don’t know how it’s going to react or what not and get back in the swing of things and play some solid hockey and go from there.”
Between injuries and COVID related issues, it’s been hard to get a real read on the Bruins in hopes of getting a true understanding of who this team really is. When it comes to having a legitimate chance at winning a Stanley Cup, Rask likes the Bruins odds.
It’s part of why he’s back.
“I think it’s as good as anybody else, the core group is still there. These past few games the team showed they can play some real solid hockey against good teams,” Rask said. “It’s a long season, there’s plenty of games left. “Like we always say, ‘it’s all about making the playoffs and any thing can happen’, looking forward to that.”
Rask admits the hardest part of the rehab process was not being able to do anything at first, then, needing to take time before he could get back on the ice and ramp things up.
“Being patient, I think, there was no pain. That’s what was told to me before the surgery, the rehab would be fairly easy and pain-free, just the patience,” Rask said. “The first few months you can’t really do anything more than lay on the table and let your trainer mobilize the hip, make sure it doesn’t stiffen up too much
Rask’s main focus is shaking off any rust, working out the kinks, getting back to his game and helping the Bruins try and win a Stanley Cup.
But given the surgery, his age and his tenure in the league, the retirement question is already being thrown out there. For now, that’s being put on the back burner.
“We’ll see, I haven’t made any plans for the future,” Rask said. “I haven’t played a hockey game for a long time. “I haven’t made any long term plans, but we’ll see what happens.”
Rask was back on the Bruins bench Wednesday night, backing up Linus Ullmark in the Bruins victory over Montreal.
The game itself wasn’t much of a contest with the Bruins jumping out to a 3-0 lead after the first, never looking back from there.
Brad Marchand had two of the three first period goals, capping the hat trick off in the second with a shorthanded tally. Marchand is up to eight goals in his last four games.
The theme of secondary scoring continued against Montreal with Curtis Lazar and Urho Vaakanainen joining in on the fun, Vaakanainen’s first career National Hockey league goal.
Things got heated between the two teams throughout the night, especially in the third period where Chris Wideman thought headbutting Erik Haula was a good idea.
Patrice Bergeron also took exception to a hit on Matt Grzelcyk behind the Canadiens’s net, tackiling Michael Pezzetta to the ice following his hit.
It was a physical night all-around between the two longtime rivals.
The Bruins have now won six of seven with a quick turnaround Thursday night when they host the Philadelphia Flyers. Rask is expected to start.