BOSTON (CBS) – Tuukka Rask looked good last night in the Bruins 3-1 win over Vancouver, but he has not played his best hockey and this mini-slump is now over a month.

With no Tim Thomas breathing down his neck and a sizable contract extension given to him over the summer, it’s clear that Rask will be Boston’s goalie for a long, long time.

Rask is entering his second season as the Bruins’ full time starter. Last year was cut short due to the lockout, and prior to this season his previous high of games played was 45 in 2009-10. He’s already at 42 games played, and some wonder whether or not this decline in play is due in part to an increased workload for the young goaltender.

Whether or not that’s true, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told Toucher and Rich Wednesday morning that the Rask/Chad Johnson schedule won’t change after the Olympic break.

“[Post Olympics] It’ll be the same as we’ve been doing. We’re tracking at 60-20, maybe we’re a little bit ahead in favor of Tuukka, but we’re tracking in that direction so we plan to keep it kind of the same. Maybe it’s 58-24. Right now it would mean Chad needs to get more games than what he’s been getting, but that’s generally what we’re going to try and do. Chad has shown us that he can handle more games.”

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara played his last game before the Olympic break Tuesday night. He’s traveling to Sochi today so he can be the flag bearer of his home country of Slovakia during the opening ceremony.

Fred understands why Chara would want to do that, and he certainly understands the team’s decision to let him go, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they could use his presence Thursday night in St. Louis, one of the best teams in the NHL.

What does Chiarelli make of it?

“A player of Z’s caliber, yeah you’re going to miss him. It’s going to be tough. [St. Louis] is a heavier type team, a playoff team. We really felt strongly about something that he felt strongly about, and it’s something that if you have the chance to carry the flag of your nation you’re not going to stand in his way.”

Listen below for the full discussion:



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