By Matt Kalman, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins have done nothing to alter their goaltending situation this summer.
Whether the goaltenders behind Rask will show up at camp improved and ready to thrive at the start of this season or there will be status quo from most of last season remains to be seen. General manager Don Sweeney could find himself in a frenzy trying to sure up the position if things go haywire or there are injuries in the early going.
Nonetheless, Rask isn’t sweating the Bruins’ decision (so far) to return for this season with Anton Khudobin as the backup with Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre hoping to challenge Khudobin for the spot.
“I think we have a great situation going,” Rask said before teeing off at Shawn Thornton’s Putts and Punches Golf Tournament at Ferncroft Country Club on Monday. “Dobie showed that when he got going towards the end of the year he played some very good games and won some big games for us. I think he’s deserved a spot and … many years we’ve been talking about the same thing and it’s tough when you’re kind of like the backup goalie and you don’t have the full confidence from your coach and you just get thrown in there every once in a while, you don’t get in a rhythm. So it’s very difficult and I’ve been there, I know what it is.
“For me, playing less games would also benefit the other guy because then he would get in a rhythm and that would benefit our team.”
Like most in the Bruins organization, Rask was impressed by Khudobin’s five-game winning streak from February through March, during which the Kazakhstan native allowed just 11 goals. Prior to that Khudobin was abysmal with one win in eight appearances. Subban and McIntyre had cups of coffee with the NHL club to varying levels of success. Both re-signed as restricted free agents this summer.
The personnel might be the same but the Bruins’ goaltending might benefit from something else: Rask’s improved health. He underwent groin surgery May 9 and said he’s pretty much had a normal summer, rehabilitating in Boston, returning home to Finland and then returning to the U.S. in time to support his old pal Thornton. Rask had hoped to start skating but the ice is out at Warrior Ice Arena at least until next week.
After appearing in 65 games last season, Rask and the Bruins’ front office were pretty much in agreement that he’d have to play less going forward in order to be an all-world goalie. Heck, NHL Network didn’t even include him in its list of top 10 goaltenders despite his .915 save percentage and 2.23 goals-against average with a balky groin last season.
The mission to prove the league’s network and any other doubters wrong will officially begin in mid-September. Rask’s 100 percent confident he’ll be a full participant from the start of Bruins training camp, with a healthy groin and something to prove as the Bruins try to do more than just make the playoffs like they did last season.
“It’s like anything. If something’s bugging you all the time, it gets in your head and you’re kind of cautious about it,” Rask said. “So it’s good to hopefully get back on the ice and don’t feel anything anywhere. I think that’s what everybody’s goal is. That’s the only difference. If you feel 100 percent healthy and you feel like you can do everything you want to do, I think that’s a goal for me and everybody else.”
It’s a goal that will be more easily attainable if Rask, Sweeney and the rest are right about not needing an upgrade to the depth chart.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @MattKalman.