B's goalies prepare for new roles in Training Camp
BostonBruins.com — As the Bruins opened up their first day of Training Camp on the TD Garden ice, in front of a crowd of Black & Gold supporters, some of the attention was shifted to in between the pipes.
When the puck drops for the 2012-2013 season this Saturday in Boston, the Bruins’ net will be manned by a new starting goaltender. On day one of practice, netminders Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin got a chance to show off a little bit of their moves.
“It was good, a tough practice,” Rask said. “We got right into it, kept it pretty short, but got a good skate out of it. We just have to make sure we stay sharp throughout the week.”
Rask, who has primarily been the backup during his time in Boston, posted stellar numbers last season, with a 2.05 goals against average and an 11-8-3 record. In 2009, Rask saw his most action in a Bruins uniform, going 22-12-5 with a 1.97 goals against average, the lowest in the league.
“He came here and put in the time, the apprenticeship in Providence,” said GM Peter Chiarelli of Rask during a Sunday morning press conference alongside B's President Cam Neely at TD Garden. “We’ve always kind of had a plan, a succession plan—you might have heard me talk about—for handing the reigns over to him when it’s time.”
While waiting for the puck to drop this season, Rask spent some time in the Czech league, staying sharp for when it was time to take those reigns, posting a 6-2 record with a 1.85 goals against average.
“I’m definitely ready [for the number one role],” Rask said. "I just need to make sure that I stay focused, and focus on my job throughout the year.”
As Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien put his team through the paces, Rask got plenty of opportunities to become reacquainted with his teammates. The 25-year-old looked sharp, moving from post-to-post quickly, and at one point drawing cheers from the crowd after a cheeky stick save, while showing no signs of rust.
“I’m just trying to get going on the right foot, because the start is going to be important for us as it is for everybody,” said Rask. “I’m just trying to make sure that I’m taking care of my business, and take my part as good as I can, and get off to a good start.”
Rask’s counterpart, Khudobin, also looked sharp in the crease. Khudobin was recently overseas, playing in the KHL, where he said he was able to keep his game sharp.
“It feels good,” Khudobin said. “I played a little bit in the other league, so I’m kind of in game-shape right now.
“[I’m] just getting used to this hockey again, and getting ready to go.”
When Khudobin last spoke with BostonBruins.com, he said it was important for he and Rask to push each other in net. After spending time on the ice with his counterpart for the first time in months, the mantra was still the same.
“We’re getting ready for the start of the season right now in practices, and I think it’s just normal to push each other, and help each other as goalies to play better, and to get the best results for our team,” Khudobin said.
Rask, who has spent time as both a backup and starter, had similar feelings.
“It’s going to be good for us,” said Rask, of what was termed healthy competition. “We both just try to do our best and try to push each other; that’s the only thing you really do.
“Whether you play or not, you just give the other guy the support.”