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Thursday, June 28, 2012

It Is Tuukka Time For The Boston Bruins, Well Kind Of

The Boston Bruins took an interesting approach this afternoon with goaltender Tuukka Rask: rather than sign him to a long-term deal, they inked the Finn to a one-year, $3.5 million deal for next season.

That was somewhat surprising since with Tim Thomas out of the picture (we think), it is Rask's job in 2012-13. There won't be any other real contender pushing him for the No. 1 spot so it's weird that the B's wouldn't reward him. I guess, their hope is that this will motivate him and then they can lock him up during the season (assuming he plays well) or next summer before he becomes a restricted free agent.

Rask only played in 22 games last season as Thomas's backup. Plus, he got hurt during the regular season and didn't appear in another game after that. He was 11-8 but his goals against average was 2.05 with a save percentage of .929.

At the ripe old age of 25, he has starting experience for an Eastern Conference contender since he was the man in 2009-10. You'll remember that season for the epic chokejob in the playoffs as the Bruins blew a 3-0 lead in the series and Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Flyers. That wasn't all Rask's fault but he certainly could have done more at that time to change the outcome.

We all knew that Tuukka would be the starter again whenever Thomas left or retired but the way this all went down was unique to say the least. Still, I think Boston's players, coaches, front office and fans collectively have plenty of confidence that Rask will be one of the strengths of the Bruins for many seasons to come.

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