BOSTON (CBS) – With hockey returning to Boston this weekend, 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich will be joined by a member of the Boston Bruins each day leading up to their season opener on Saturday against the New York Rangers.
On Tuesday, goaltender Tuukka Rask joined T&R, and said he’s ready to be Boston’s number-one netminder. With Tim Thomas taking the year off, it’s now Tuukka’s team, and he’s ready for the job — pressure and all.
“I don’t take pressure at all. It’s just more fun,” said Rask. “It’s something I’ve been waiting for my first couple of years. I played a few games my rookie year, but this season is going to be different. I think I’m ready for it. It’s just going out there and playing my game, doing the best I can. (Putting too much) pressure, I think is just going to hurt me. I think we’re just going to go out there and have fun and see where it leads us.”
The Bruins will have an inter-squad scrimmage against the Providence Bruins tonight at the Garden, which will serve as their only “preseason game” before the lockout-shortened season. Rask would have liked at least one actual preseason game before starting the season, but thinks Tuesday night — and his games overseas — should be enough.
“We’re going to do the best we can tonight to simulate a game situation,” Rask said. “I played 16 games already (in the Czech League), so I don’t think it will be a huge issue for me. But it would be nice to play one game before the regular season.”
“Everything happened quickly there. We were prepared for this, but it still feels kind of weird that you start one Sunday, and the next Saturday it’s a regular season game,” he said. “It happened quickly, but a lot of guys played somewhere so we’re in good shape.”
With 48 games in a three-and-a-half month span, teams will be playing a lot of hockey right in a short period of time. Will this benefit the Bruins, who basically have the same team as last season, and had the most players of any NHL team playing overseas during the lockout?
“The benefit would be for the fans, because every game matters and every game is going to be really good hockey,” said Tuukka. “It’s going to be a grind, and we have to make sure we’re ready every night because every game matters.
“I think teams who have been together for a couple of years, and with us having guys overseas, you never know but I think it will play to our advantage,” he added.
Rask quickly put to bed any rumors of an injury he suffered overseas, saying it was a “bad scoop” by an overseas reporter. He’s also not worried about his workload during the season, and is confident his backup, Anton Khudobin, will be there when he needs a breather.
“I don’t think there is any chance I’ll play 17 games in a month. It’s going to be a challenge, but luckily we have a good goaltending tandem this year with Khudobin,” he said. “I think we’re going to be in good shape.”
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