BOSTON (CBS) — The 2014-15 season begins Wednesday night for the Boston Bruins, with Stanley Cup aspirations once again surrounding the team.
Boston has most of their star players back, but there was some turnover with the roster this offseason. The team parted ways with locker room leader Shawn Thornton, who signed in Florida, and after just one season on Boston’s top line, Jarome Iginla signed a three-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche.
Over the weekend, the team traded defenseman Johnny Boychuk to the New York Islanders for a pair of future second-round draft picks, a move brought on by Boston’s salary cap issues. It was a trade players saw coming, but one that will no doubt be felt in the locker room.
Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask, the 2013-14 Vezina Trophy winner, joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Tuesday morning to preview the upcoming season, and said while it’s tough to see teammates go, the team is focused on what they have to do on the ice.
“It’s a tough situation for everybody. You can’t keep everyone together and someone has to go at some point,” Rask explained. “We heard the talks it could be Johnny, and camp kept going and going and nothing happened, so we felt he might stay. But it’s one of those things where you can’t do anything but feel bad for the GMs too. Our cap is what it is, and you can’t keep everyone together.”
With a locker room full of guys who will step up when something needs to be said, Rask doesn’t think there will be a lack of leadership on this year’s squad.
“I think there will be a lot of guys. I don’t think it falls on to anyone in particular, but we have a tight group,” he said. “Young guys come in and take it upon themselves to become leaders of this team. I don’t think it will fall on anyone in particular. I expect a lot of the young guys, especially on D to step up and lead us.
“It’s a huge part of the process,” Rask said of that leadership. “If everyone is quiet in the locker room before games or practices, it kind of brings the mood down. Then when your team is not doing so well you need those guys who stay positive and up the energy.”
With that turnover has come some uncertainty on the lines — both for the forwards and in the defensive pairings. While there hasn’t been much continuity in practice or during the preseason, Rask says that hasn’t bothered the team.
“It’s definitely been different to see all the line combos on the ice, and no one knows what the lines will be, but everyone has done a good job dealing with that,” he said. “Everyone has been focusing on themselves and getting ready for the season, so I don’t think that’s going to be an issue for us.”
With a new baby daughter at home Rask said most of his offseason was spent caring for her, showing her off to family back home, and fitting in some workouts. He’s looking forward to some quiet nights on the road.
“It’s been a long few months but it’s been all worth it,” he joked. “It will be nice to get some good sleep at the hotels.”
Those months seemed a little longer for Rask and the Bruins following their second-round exit at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. Boston and Montreal will renew their rivalry early in the season, with their first matchup coming on October 16 in Montreal.
Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban made some headlines on Monday after sharing one of his tricks on the ice with the media. On a Quebec radio show, Subban said he breaks wind in front of opposing goalies to annoy them. When asked if he’s ever caught a whiff of any of Subban’s on-ice flatulence, Rask enjoyed a good laugh — and possibly gave away a secret attack of his own.
“No, not that I know of. I don’t think he’s ever farted at me or anybody,” said Rask. “I think in my case, it might be the other way around.”
Whatever it takes to protect that crease.
Hear every game of the 2014-15 Boston Bruins season on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the Boston Bruins. Pregame coverage with Dave Goucher and Bob Beers begins 30 minutes prior to every game!
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