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Catching up with Tuukka Rask

12.07.12 at 4:05 am ET
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Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is back from the Czech Republic and feeling good. After playing spending the first two months of the NHL lockout playing for HC Plzen of the Czech Extraliga, Rask returned to Boston late last month with the belief that the NHL and NHLPA would resolve their difference and get the ball rolling for a season. Until that happens, he’s just keeping himself ready.

“I thought it was going to get settled — I hope it’s going to get settled soon,” Rask said Thursday at Kevin Youkilis‘ “Youk’s Kids” Not Your Average Idol event. “I figured it would be a good time to get a break before the season starts because I’ve already played 15 or so games, so I figured I might as well come here and let the body rest before the season starts.”

Rask estimates the aforementioned 15 games played in the Czech Republic, though HockeyDB lists him as having played in eight games (those numbers could very easily be incomplete), posting a 6-2 record with a 1.85 goals-against average and .936 save percentage.

Regardless of how many games he played, the fact that he played is the best news of all for Rask. The 25-year-old didn’t play again last season after suffering an abdomen strain/groin strain on March 3. He said Thursday that getting back into games was his primary motivation for playing elsewhere during the lockout, adding that his groin feels good despite what he described as an overblown injury scare.

Rask left HC Plzen’s Oct. 23 game after the first period due. When Czech play-by-play man Roman Jedlicka tweeted about the injury scare, confusion as to whether Rask had reinjured the groin spread, but Rask insisted that he was simply playing it safe when he felt a little tightness.

“The truth was I just tight from games, and if it were to have happened here, there would have been no problem,” Rask said. “I probably would have stayed in the game, but I didn’t want to risk anything. I just left the game, took a couple periods off and an extra day off. I played the next game, so there was never really a worry anywhere. I know people were kind of worried here, but it’s all good.”

While in the Czech Republic, Rask played against some of his Bruins teammates in David Krejci (Pardubice HC) and Andrew Ference (Ceske Budejovice HC).

“We beat them both, which was good,” Rask said. “Krej scored a goal on me, but we won in a shootout and he didn’t score in the shootout, which was great.”

Rask got everything he wanted out of his time in the Czech Republic. He likes the area, as he’d been there a couple of times before (including the team’s season-opening trip in 2010), but now he wants to get back to playing in NHL games. There’s certainly reason for him to want to, as he’s got both the starting job to himself and a contract to play for. Rask is on a one-year, $3.5 million deal and will be a restricted free agent after the next season, whenever that may be.

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