BOSTON -- Asked after yesterday’s training camp sessions about his use of goaltenders Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask to mitigate fatigue, coach Claude Julien bluntly said that Rask “has to take a bigger bite this year for that reason.”
“That’s not a secret, and [I] don’t plan on making that a secret,” Julien said. “Tim is a great goaltender, but Tim is a goaltender that understands too that he can’t play 70-plus games in the season, the regular season. He’s had a long playoffs and I think Tim is going to be just as happy as we are to have Tuukka here and playing some of his best hockey.”
Thomas made 57 regular-season appearances in 2010-11, then played every minute of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup run. But at 37, Thomas is going to need some breaks, which is why the team is hoping Rask can regain his promising form from the '09-10 season. Coming off knee surgery this summer, he’s determined to live up to the task.
“That’s obviously a goal for you every year, you want to play a lot, but I still feel fairly young and it’s a good thing you get games, you don’t want to get stuck on the bench," Rask said. “Obviously everybody realizes that, but it's up to me too. I've got to perform and be good enough to earn that playing time. It’s not a guarantee. Obviously, I would like to play more, but it’s up to me too.”
Rask said that riding the pine as much as he did late in the regular season and throughout the playoffs had its silver lining, though he's not eager to repeat it.
“Definitely, or hopefully, it will help in the future, going through that process,” Rask said. “I think it’s good for everybody at some point in their career to go through that, you’re not the guy and you’re not playing that much. It kind of puts things in perspective, but … you know, it was a great experience, but it’s definitely something you don’t want to get used to.”