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Tuukka Talks Top Spot

Even as heir apparent, Rask says his mindset won't change

Friday, 08.3.2012 / 11:13 AM ET / Features
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Tuukka Talks Top Spot

BOSTON, MA Tim Thomas' decision to take a year off from hockey seemed to vault Tuukka Rask into the top spot on the B’s goaltending depth chart, but the Finnish netminder isn't approaching this season any differently.

As local media pressed him Thursday about his expanded role, Rask calmly assured reporters (and the Bruins faithful) that he has always been prepared to be the go-to guy in Boston. 

"I've been waiting for a few years now [so] it's gonna be interesting to see how I handle it," Rask said after visiting with children at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "It’s going to be a challenge but I’m always up for a challenge and you just got to make the most of it and have fun."

Despite the absence of the two-time Vezina Trophy winner, Rask is fully aware that the B’s brass will look elsewhere if he’s unable to provide returns on their one-year investment. 

Thomas & Rask shared the crease for several seasons.

"I'm sure I’m gonna get every chance to play possible but if I can’t get the job done, there’s gonna be more guys coming in," Rask acknowledged.

The past few years of media scrutiny of Rask versus Thomas certainly created competition for the lion’s share of the minutes between the pipes, but other goalies on the Bruins roster, including Anton Khudobin, will continue to push Rask to perform. 

"When there was two of us on the team the whole time, there was controversy going on all the time, so that’s gone now," Rask said in reference to Thomas. "But maybe it’s going to be between me and 'Dobby' next year – who knows?" 

While those outside the organization may view Rask in a new light this season, the 25-year-old goaltender said he’s going to stay focused on his own game this season – just like he has since being acquired by Boston prior to the 2006-07 season. 

"It’s the same every year, right? You don’t want to think about it too much, [whether] there’s somebody ahead of you in the rankings or not, so I’m really doing it the same way," Rask said of his approach. "I just want to improve my game every day and…show up into camp as a really good goalie and in really good shape and that’s pretty much all you can do.

"You know, I think when you do that, everything kind of takes care of itself and then you move on and hopefully have a good year." 

---Travis Basciotta

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ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
2 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
3 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
4 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
5 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
6 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
7 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
8 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 52 19 26 8 45
L. Eriksson 52 16 24 11 40
D. Krejci 42 12 27 2 39
R. Spooner 52 11 27 -5 38
B. Marchand 47 24 12 12 36
Z. Chara 50 7 20 8 27
M. Beleskey 50 8 17 10 25
T. Krug 51 3 21 6 24
J. Hayes 50 11 12 -5 23
B. Connolly 49 7 9 -5 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 19 15 5 .918 2.47
J. Gustavsson 9 3 1 .915 2.38
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