Tuukka Rask would like to play more

Updated: February 10, 2012, 7:55 PM ET
By James Murphy | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- As if the Boston Bruins needed more controversy surrounding one of their goalies.

With Tim Thomas' Facebook postings reigniting a media firestorm this week, word came out of Tuukka Rask's native Finland that he is unhappy with his situation in Boston as Thomas' backup.

A story on a Finnish website went viral on Bruins' chat rooms, raising the question of whether Rask was complaining about a lack of playing time.

Thomas Google Translate sucks. I said, 'Obviously I don't want to be sitting on the bench my whole career and I like [playing in Boston].'

-- Bruins backup goalie Tuukka Rask, clarifying his Finnish comments

After practice Friday, Rask didn't exactly back off the quotes in the story, but he said the whole thing was lost in translation, a misinterpretation.

"That Google Translate sucks," Rask said, shaking his head. "I said 'Obviously I don't want to be sitting on the bench my whole career and I like it here, but obviously I want to play and sometimes you play a great game and then next game you can't play and sometimes it gets frustrating but you don't show it for the team.'

"I am happy and I feel good [this season] for the most part. I'm playing more and I played good the first part of the year but lately I've had a couple tough games and let it slip away a bit there. But I think it's been a good year for me and our team for the most part."

Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, when approached after practice Friday, looked up and said with a smile, "Timmy or Rask story?"

All joking aside, Seidenberg, before learning that Rask had clarified his Finnish comments, asked a very good question:

"Well, what would you think if he didn't want to play more?" Seidenberg said. "I mean he's worked hard and he's been one of our best players this season and if he's not frustrated then something is wrong. Of course he wants to prove he is the guy and he'll get his chance, but he knows his situation and not once has he let it affect his game or the team. He has been an outstanding teammate this season and he's been a great goalie."

Rask also made it clear that despite what the story may have implied -- and the fact that there has been no new progress to report on contract talks between him, his agent Bill Zito and Bruins management -- he still wants to remain a Bruin and achieve his goal of No. 1 status in Boston.

"There's no rush," the restricted free agent-to-be said of negotiations. "I'm just trying to play the season out and play well, so no rush. Obviously I want to stay here and they know that and hopefully they want to keep me. It's not a conflict by any means and we're just waiting to see what happens."

Rask was pulled after letting in three goals on 10 shots in the Bruins' 6-0 loss at Buffalo on Wednesday and hasn't won since Jan. 16, going 0-3-1 in his past four starts. But as he has throughout the season, Rask is learning to deal with his struggles and control his emotions better.

"Lately maybe I've been frustrated and showed it and it's obviously a confidence thing with goalies and I'm frustrated with how I played [the] last few games but overall I am fine there," Rask said of his psyche. "As you get older and gain years under your belt, you realize it's all about work ethic and gaining confidence in practice and then take it to the game and that's been the case this season."

[+] EnlargeTuukka Rask
Timothy T. Ludwig/US PresswireBruins G Tuukka Rask says don't misinterpret his competitive desire for more playing time to mean he's unhappy in Boston.

The first goal that got past Rask on Wednesday was an inadvertent tip-in by teammate Gregory Campbell. In the past, Rask may have lost his cool, but he has learned to let such bad breaks go.

"Things happen quickly and you try to stay composed and not show your emotions and I know he didn't mean that and felt horrible after," Rask said.

He added: "But really those things happen, and yeah, my focus is to not let bad breaks knock me off my game. I think I've been better at that this season. Do I lose my cool still? Heck yeah, but overall I am not letting it be a negative."

Coach Claude Julien praised his young netminder Friday. As far as he is concerned there are no issues with Rask.

"He's really good and when he gets emotional he's really mad at himself," Julien said. "He loses a game in a shootout, he takes it personally.

"But getting pulled out [Wednesday] he knew right there and then that he wasn't comfortable and he wasn't good enough and there was absolutely no issues at all. We've talked since then and there's not even any issues when it comes to that kind of stuff. So sometimes it's just the way it goes. It's a long year and he felt he was a little off.

"He went out there [Friday] to try and work on his game and that kind of stuff. ... He just didn't feel comfortable the other night and I think he even told Timmy 'sorry for putting you in this spot'. So that's the kind of player he is and that's Tuukka in a nutshell."

Julien has also seen a marked improvement in the manner in which Rask controls his emotions and passion.

"He's more mature and he's had a good year," Julien said. "His last few games he hasn't quite been on top of his game and he knows that. I don't even have to tell him and as a coach you know that he knows and he's working on his things and he wants the extra time.

"That's the good thing about Tuukka. He's played more this year at this point than he did last year and he also knows that he wants to stay sharp and stays out there and does the extra work in practice and all the things that he has to do. We're certainly a group of players and coaches that still have a lot of confidence when he's on top of his game as you saw earlier in the year.

"He's got as good as numbers as Tim does."

James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.

James Murphy

Bruins reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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