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Kalman: Tuukka Rask’s Contrast With Tim Thomas Has Bruins In Favorable Position

By Matt Kalman, CBS Boston
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Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — One goaltender that’s still under contract to the Bruins was busy this week posting on Facebook from parts unknown about a fast-food chicken joint he obviously cares more about than the teammates he hung out to dry for the 2012-13 season.

Boston’s other signed veteran netminder, meanwhile, made the rounds at Dana-Farber and limited his media-worthy comments to hockey this week.

That tells you a lot about the current lives of Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask, respectively. It also leads you to believe that the Bruins will be in pretty reliable hands once the next NHL season commences.

Read: More From Matt Kalman

Thomas, who began his year as a distraction back in January with his decision to skip the White House, just continues to make headlines for anything other than hockey. Unfortunately for the Bruins, Thomas isn’t going away regardless of how far away from the team he resides. As long as he’s not retired, there will always be questions about his potential return. And that $5 million cap hit will often come up in conversations when it comes time for the Bruins to better their roster over the course of next season.

To his credit, Rask handled his first of many questions about Thomas’ departure and potential future revival with the same poise he handles most shots toward his net. He still considers Thomas a friend and doesn’t worry that the two-time Vezina Trophy winner will come back and make things uncomfortable because it hasn’t happened yet.

Rask has bigger things to worry about, including an increased workload for the upcoming season, his health that betrayed him last season, and putting up the type of numbers that will earn him more than just a one-year deal beyond next season. Rask and the Bruins famously this summer agreed to a one-year deal that both parties have said was in their best interest.

“A lot of people I guess were a little surprised about the contract and stuff. But I didn’t really, I can’t tell the team that I want a long contract,” he told the assembled press at Dana-Farber. “I’m at an age that I would’ve had to go to arbitration. So we just figured that it’s best for both of us, and if I have a good year we sign a longer deal. And if I suck, we don’t.”

Odds are small he’ll “suck” considering he’s thrived at every level he’s played. And the 2009-10 season proved that even at age 22 he could handle the full-time starter’s job. Now at 24 he should be able to handle it and do some things better. He’s already proven his increased maturity by signing that one-year deal. Rask could’ve been a distraction and pressured the Bruins for a longer deal or put the team in a bad spot with an arbitration victory. Alas, he’s confident enough in his abilities, and enough of a team player, to know that the situation in the Bruins’ dressing room could be ripe for another lengthy playoff run if everyone produces up to expectations and no rotten apples spoil the bunch.

Considering Thomas’ newfound focus on “the three F’s” and fast food and pretty much anything other than hockey, than Rask’s attention seems entirely devoted to fulfilling his lifelong dream to be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL, the Bruins continue to seem better off with the way this story has played out this summer.

Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com. He operatesTheBruinsBlog.net and also contributes coverage to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on twitter @TheBruinsBlog.

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