Now proven and rich, Tuukka Rask enters next stage of career
|08.12.13 at 9:45 pm ET|
MIDDLETON — Tuukka Rask is used to entering the season with a lot of questions surrounding him. Now, the biggest one is how he’s going to spend all that money of his.
“I haven’t seen a penny yet,” Rask said with a grin Monday at Shawn Thornton’s Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s golf tournament.
The Bruins’ netminder had to wait quite a while to prove that he could not only be a starting goalie, but take a team deep into the playoffs. Prior to last season, the last season he entered with the starting job lasted just a day before Tim Thomas retook the reins.
He also had questions about how his body could hold up for a full season and, of course, the uncertainty with his contract. One healthy Conn Smythe-worthy performance and a gargantuan eight-year, $56 million contract later, Rask doesn’t have to worry about anything but consistency.
“I guess you’re always trying to work yourself up and trying to get yourself some kind of status in peoples’ eyes, but every season you start from scratch and kind of have to prove yourself again at some level. Obviously it helps that you have a long contract and you can focus on your job and not worry about contracts after every year.
“Still, every year is different. You have to be worth your money, no matter how much you make.”
The biggest question surrounding Rask at this point is who his backup will be. With Anton Khudobin leaving in free agency for Carolina, either Niklas Svedberg or Chad Johnson will serve as Rask’s backup.
“I’m sure whoever it will be, it will be a good situation for us,” Rask said.
Rask was sensational in the postseason, most notably allowing just two goals to the offensively loaded Penguins in a four-game Eastern Conference sweep. What came next wasn’t as fun for the B’s as they lost the Stanley Cup finals by allowing two goals in 17 seconds in Game 6 to relinquish the lead in the game and give Chicago the Cup. Rask admitted Monday that those 17 seconds still cross his mind.
“The first weeks [of the offseason] you try not to think hockey at all, but I still find myself thinking about it and how much it sucks, but everybody knows what the situation was with our guys being hurt and stuff,” he said. “We definitely left everything out there. There’s no regrets, no feelings that we should have done anything differently. I think that helps the healing process.”
Rask said he expects to get back on the ice in the “next week or two,” but that he has spent his offseason between the US and Finland lifting, playing tennis and, of course, golfing.