NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins and league news. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page .
Said Milbury: “It’s a happy problem, but you wonder what goes on in the mind of Tuukka Rask under these circumstances. I was talking to Kelly Hrudey last week, the Hockey Night in Canada analyst with me, and he said, ‘He may not know it, but this could be the best thing to happen to Rask. He’s got to earn that right to be called the No. 1. It’s not always easy and it’s not always a given.’ And he’s right. I’m sure Tuukka Rask doesn’t really look at it that way, but in some ways, it’s not a bad thought. Rask has to continue to compete. It keeps him sharp. The question is, When does he get the chance to go again?”
Added Milbury: “I think we mentioned last week, the schedule’s been so uneven. They’ve got to get into a rhythm at some point. And at that point, I think because of the way Thomas plays, although he’s been fairly compact and economical through the first part of the season, he still has a tendency to want to explode out and dive here and there. It will take its toll, and they’ll need Rask. And Rask will have his chance then. But who saw this coming?”
Milbury said he’s not aware that Thomas was close to being dealt last season. “I never heard anything that anything was imminent,” Milbury said. “I think there were a lot of people kicking tires, but they weren’t kicking them as hard as they would be if they were shopping him right now, I would think. He had an uneven season, and he had a bunch of years left on his contract, and he’s always been looked on as, ‘I can’t believe he’s doing this.’ There seems to be some degree of incredulity that he can make this thing happen. But he does. He does through his competitiveness and his athleticism, and his mindset.”
Milbury said the Bruins might have to consider moving Thomas, but only if an enticing trade offer is made.
“It would be interesting to see if they shopped him around, and he’d be willing to be traded, if that would bring A) cap relief and B) fill a hole someplace else, i.e., the blue line, where they’re thinner than I’d like them to be,” Milbury said, adding: “I don’t think there’s going to be any talk of that. I think things are so good right now for the Bruins, that if Peter Chiarelli is looking for cap relief, he’s probably going to look in a different direction. And I certainly don’t blame him. It would be a really gutsy move to make that deal, and if somebody came with a sweetheart of a deal, you’d have to take a look at it, knowing that Rask played as well.”