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Now proven and rich, Tuukka Rask enters next stage of career 08.12.13 at 9:45 pm ET
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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.

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Tuukka Rask gets eight years, $56 million from Bruins 07.10.13 at 5:28 pm ET
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The Bruins announced Wednesday that they have signed goaltender Tuukka Rask to an eight-year, $56 million contract.

Though not the richest contract for a goalie in NHL history because there is now an eight-year limit on contract terms, Rask’s $7 million cap hit ties him with Nashville’s Pekka Rinne for the highest-paid goalie in the league.

Rask played on a one-year, $3.5 million deal last season, his first as a full-time starter for the B’s. He led the B’s to within two wins of a Stanley Cup victory as he led all postseason goalies with a .940 save percentage.

Rask’s new contract makes him the team’s highest-paid player, just ahead of Zdeno Chara, who makes $6.91 million a season.

In 36 regular-season games in 2013, Rask posted a 19-10-5 record with a GAA of 2.00 and a .929 save percentage with five shutouts. The B’€™s netminder finished the season tied for fourth in the NHL in wins (19), tied for first in shutouts (five), third in save percentage (.929) and tied for fourth in goals against (1.96).

During the 2013 postseason, Rask led the NHL in save percentage (.940), tied for first in shutouts (three) and finished fourth in GAA (1.88) in 22 games. Rask set a club record for home playoff shutout streak at 193:16, spanning from Game 4 of the conference finals to Game 3 of the Cup finals.

In Tim Thomas‘ final season with the Bruins (2011-12), Rask appeared in 23 games, recording an 11-8-3 record with a 2.05 GAA and a save percentage of .929. In 2009-10, Rask set a career high in wins (22) and led the NHL with a 1.97 GAA and .931 save percentage, becoming the first Bruins goaltender to have a GAA below 2.00 since 1998-99. His 1.97 GAA that season, was the lowest by any Bruins goaltender since 1938-39 season.

In 138 NHL games, all of which have come with the Bruins, Rask has compiled a 66-45-16 record with 16 shutouts, a .927 save percentage and a 2.15 goals against average. The 26-year-old has appeared in 35 postseason games for the Bruins, amassing a 21-14 record, while posting a 2.15 GAA and a .930 save percentage with three shutouts.

Prior to joining Boston, Rask spent the majority of two seasons with the Providence Bruins (AHL) from 2007-09, amassing a record of 60-33-6 with a 2.42 GAA and .910 save percentage. In his rookie season with Providence in 2007-08, Rask finished the season tied for fifth in wins (27) and the following year was tied for second (33).

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound native of Tampere, Finland, was selected in the first round (21st overall) of the 2005 NHL draft by the Maple Leafs. The Bruins acquired Rask from the Maple Leafs in exchange for Andrew Raycroft on June 24, 2006.

Mike Petraglia contributed to this report.

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Don Cherry on D&C: Tyler Seguin ‘one step away from being a superstar’ 07.08.13 at 10:55 am ET
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Hockey Night in Canada legend Don Cherry joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the Bruins’ trade of Tyler Seguin to the Stars.

Cherry remains high on Seguin, despite the Bruins losing patience with him.

“Something must have happened there to get rid of a kid like that,” Cherry said after reviewing Seguin’s statistics. “I’m sure he’s going to go to Dallas, he’s going to play center, and look out — I’m telling you, this kid is one step away from being a superstar. You’ll see next year. But hey, he got in the bad book somehow.

“You have to watch. The Bruins have a real image of being tough — tough to play against. Nineteen Canadians on the club, and every one of them are rough guys. ‘€¦ So, they have to watch that they don’t lose that little grit. Because most teams are afraid to go in and play Boston.”

As for reports that Seguin was too immature off the ice, Cherry said he can understand how a 21-year-old would want to spend some time out on the town.

“Look, I don’t know what happened. But I’m just saying I know I’d go out, if I was 21 years old after a game I would go to a bar, too,” Cherry said, questioning why the off-ice issues became public.

Added Cherry: “If a guy can get me 30 goals on right wing, and he’s a natural center, and he’s a little problem off the ice, I wouldn’t mind that. I’d try to settle that out a little. ‘€¦ Listen, the Bruins were in the finals. They did pretty good, so [Peter] Chiarelli must be doing something right. But you’re asking me my opinion, I would have never given up on a [21]-year-old kid that got 30 goals the year before playing in his wrong position.”

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Tuukka Rask expected to sign new contract soon 07.03.13 at 10:43 am ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Wednesday in a pre-free agency conference call that he is “confident” that the team will have a signed with Tuukka Rask “in short order,” and when asked whether it would be before or after free agency opens, Chiarelli replied, “I would think before.”

The GM said that he has a “placeholder number that he can work around” cap-wise if Rask isn’t signed when free agency opens, as Rask will likely take up the majority of the team’s available cap space. He could very likely sign a deal that makes him the highest-paid goaltender in the league (Pekka Rinne makes $7 million a year). Rask is a restricted free agent, so the only risk the Bruins run if they don’t sign him by Friday is that another club would sign him to an offer sheet, which the B’s would then have to match or lose the player in exchange for draft picks.

As far as the rest of free agency goes, Chiarelli said the Bruins’ priority is to rebuild the right side of their offense after losing their top two right wingers in Nathan Horton and Jaromir Jagr. Chiarelli told Jagr after the season that the Bruins would not be re-signing him, but he admitted Wednesday that they’ve thought of “circling back” to the 41-year-old since Horton told them he would not be returning. The right wing position will be addressed either in free agency or via trade, as the GM said there are “a couple” of trades the team is looking at.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Barry Pederson on D&C: Bruins ‘are going to be a good team for a long time’ 06.25.13 at 10:05 am ET
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NESN analyst Barry Pederson, in an interview on the Dennis & Callahan show, identified a number of roster decisions that now face the Bruins following their elimination in a Game 6 loss to the Blackhawks. Still, Pederson suggested that the team’s long-term outlook remains excellent.

With a number of young, still-improving talents like Tyler Seguin, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton, Pederson suggested that if Boston can re-sign restricted free agent Tuukka Rask and lock up Patrice Bergeron — who now has one year left in his contract — to an extension, the team has the core to continue to build upon its run of two Stanley Cup Finals and one championship in the last three years.

He emphasized the need for players like Tyler Seguin, Carl Soderberg and Jordan Caron to get stronger to help carry the Bruins through a 2013-14 season that starts in 13 weeks, but overall, Pederson pointed to a sunny outlook for a team that just endured a devastating defeat. Read the rest of this entry »

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These ‘really confident’ Bruins know they have to re-capture road warrior mentality 06.21.13 at 9:09 pm ET
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Perhaps the lasting legacy of the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Bruins was their ability to win in a hostile environment when they had no other choice.

Game 7 in Vancouver was the ultimate testament to that quality.

Now, these Bruins have a chance to repeat that accomplishment, and must, if they are to achieve their ultimate goal. Already, the Bruins have proven they can win in Chicago. But after losing Game 4 in overtime, they must find a way again.

“It’€™s tough, but we know we can do it,” captain Zdeno Chara said Friday. “We have a good enough team. We just have to be ready. It’€™s going to be a battle.”

“I guess it helps some kind of confidence there, but it’€™s still going to be a tough one,” Tuukka Rask said of winning Game 2 last Saturday.

Chara knows the value of the experience of Game 7 in 2011 – and Game 2 this year – in Boston’s quest.

“It’€™s huge,” Chara said. “You need to be able to win games on the road. It’€™s something that good teams go to do, and certainly we’€™ve done it once, so we’€™ve got to do our best to do it again.”

Added Tyler Seguin: “I think it helps a ton. We know what to expect a bit more and that being said Chicago’s been in this series just as much as we have. You know, it’s going to be a long series still and it’s one we’re enjoying.”

All eyes will be on Rask to see how he handles the “bounce back” game.

“Yeah, we’€™ve got to focus on [Game 5], hopefully get the win and have a chance to finish it at home,” Rask said. “[We’re] really confident. I think that’€™s one of our good qualities as a team. We never let things bother us.”

Maybe Johnny Boychuk had the best take of all on the road factor.

“It doesn’€™t really matter at this point where we’€™re playing,” Boychuk said. “I think both teams are just trying to worry about what they’€™re doing and trying to just battle as hard as you can to win a Cup.”

Read More: 2013 Stanley Cup, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Johnny Boychuk
Tuukka Rask on defensive corrections: ‘It’s not rocket science at this point’ 06.20.13 at 9:31 pm ET
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Sometimes it just takes simplifying things to their most basic form.

That’s the way Tuukka Rask feels about the defense in front of him in Game 4 and what he expects for Game 5 Saturday in Chicago.

“We talked about it and moved on,” Rask said. “New game Saturday.”

Was Wednesday’s six-goal implosion on defense the result of Chicago’s skill or Boston’s breakdowns?

“I think it was both,” Rask said. “I think they played a good game. They had, as I said yesterday, legs right off the bat. We didn’€™t, and we had some mental mistakes. The layers weren’€™t there and we kind of got caught standing still a lot of times. So, I think it was both.”

Can Boston’s defensive issues from Game 4 be resolved by Saturday?

“Yeah. I think it’€™s not rocket science at this point,” Rask said. “I think they played good, as I said. We didn’€™t play our game for the most part. We were standing still and not doing the things we were supposed to do in order to have a chance to win hockey games. We have to adapt that.”

“I mean, a lot of occasions, these finals especially, the momentum shifts and both teams have their moments. We just try to recognize what the situation is and not get too much carried away about the losses or wins and just try to stay even-keel and try to play our game as good as we can and hope that the result will be good.”

There’s little doubt in Rask’s mind that the Bruins will find their game again.

“I don’€™t think it should be an issue,” Rask said. “I don’€™t think, for us, it matters whether we are at home or away we always play good games at either places, but I feel confident we can respond.

“That’€™s something we definitely can do. We can’€™t just rely on the fact that we have done it in the past. We have to go out there and make it happen again. We feel confident that we have it in us, but we have to be better.”

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