By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins’ annual day-after-Thanksgiving matinee brought with it some news about their former goaltender … and perhaps their future goaltender.
Early in the second period, play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough revealed that he spoke with Tuukka Rask on Thursday night.
Rask told McDonough that his rehab from surgery to repair a torn hip labrum is “going very well,” and that he’ll begin ramping up his skating beginning next week.
“He hopes that he can play as early as January,” McDonough said of Rask, who also noted his desire to play for the Bruins.
That update has Rask on the general timeline that he laid out when he spoke to the media at the end of last season. He has been seen on the ice at the Bruins’ practice arena, working out on his own. That hasn’t been a team-sponsored activity, of course, but the location of those workouts indicates that the team and the goaltender maintain a relationship.
How a Rask reunion would work remains difficult to figure. The team signed Linus Ullmark to a four-year, $20 million contract as a free agent in the offseason. That contract includes a no-move clause for this season and next season, meaning he can’t be sent to the AHL.
The Bruins also have Jeremy Swayman, who’s unofficially become the team’s No. 1 netminder. Swayman’s start on Friday gave him 10 on the season, compared to Ullmark’s seven starts. Swayman has a better record (6-3-0, compared to 4-3-0), save percentage (.914 to .908), and GAA (2.23 to 2.87) than Ullmark. Swayman would be eligible to get sent to the AHL if the team were to re-sign Rask, but demoting the team’s best goaltender might not be particularly ideal.
Despite that difficult scenario, the Bruins have maintained all year long that the “door is open” for Rask to return if and when he’s ready. The rubber seems close to hitting the road for that mechanisms of that scenario to actually begin.