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Claude Julien: We still need Tuukka Rask

02.11.11 at 10:28 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask has enough on his plate. He’s not about to try and read Claude Julien‘s mind on coaching decisions.

But to be honest, he didn’t exactly need to be The Amazing Kreskin to figure out what the Bruins coach was thinking when he yanked Rask after the second period of Friday’s 6-1 dud against the Red Wings before a displeased Garden crowd.

“I’m not going to start analyzing that,” Rask said. “I thought I deserved to get pulled. I didn’t play to my level today.”

That’s one way of putting it.

Rask admitted he did not have one of his finer performances of the year and that he deserved to get pulled after allowing five goals on 18 shots in two periods. Rask, who fell to 5-11-1, said he had no criticism of coach Julien, who started Tim Thomas in goal to start the third.

Julien said he has not lost confidence in Rask, who allowed goals on the first two shots he faced as the Bruins fell behind 2-0 in the first three minutes and never recovered. The last time Rask was pulled was on New Year’s Day in Buffalo when Rask allowed three in the first, despite the Bruins leading, 4-3.

Julien started him in the next game and Rask was very good in a 2-1 at Toronto.

“We didn’t feel he was as sharp as we needed him to be, that was number one,” Julien said of Rask. “He still made some good saves. I don’t think we didn’t recognize that as well, but he just wasn’t as sharp tonight and after discussing the situation, we just felt that the right thing to do was to give Timmy the third period.”

So, who will it be on Sunday in Detroit? Julien would not commit to whether he would start Rask or Thomas in Detroit on Sunday in the home-and-home finale.

“I don’t think I’ve made that decision yet,” Julien said. “I think we have to look at situations. We keep saying it over and over, we need Tuukka to come in and give Timmy some rest and we need Tuukka to play well because we know he can play well,” Julien said. “Tonight was a tough night for him. The last time he played he was very good for us so he’s capable of it. So, we’ll just chalk it up as a tough night for him, just like the team in front of him, and move on.”

And how, exactly, will Julien and the Bruins go about do just that with just 27 games left? How will Julien split the playing time?

“Those are questions I can’t really answer,” Julien said. “Because I don’t’ know what is going to happen in these next twenty-seven games. Whether one of them is going to get really hot or whether both of them are going to play well. I deal with it day-by-day. I’ve always said that because you don’t know. You can’t think twenty-seven games ahead, 20 games or 15, you just have to go by the schedule.

“You have to go by how things are going. My goal standing here, I would tell you that I would like to give Tuukka some games and give Timmy some rest and utilize both in a way that it works for our hockey club. But I can’t tell you right now I’ve got the blueprint, because the blueprint changes everyday like you saw tonight.”

Rask can’t look ahead that far either. He’s got bigger concerns – like forgetting a bad, bad goal when when he came out of his crease to play a puck to his right, only to have Todd Bertuzzi play billiards off his pads for a 5-1 lead in the second. Rask just needs to focus on Sunday, that is if Julien calls his number again.

“Next game is coming pretty quick so you can’t start to think about what happened,” Rask said. “Obviously, you have to recognize the mistakes that you made and move on. That’s the only thing you can do.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Detroit Red Wings, NHL
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