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How the new CBA impacts the Bruins 01.06.13 at 12:17 pm ET
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Three of the biggest issues in the weeks before the NHL and players agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement were the salary cap for the 2013-14 season, the issue of compliance buyouts and the maximum length of contracts. With all three being resolved in a season-saving CBA, here’s a quick look at what came about and how it affects the Bruins’ roster.

$64.3 million salary cap in 2013-14: The league was pushing hard for a $60 million cap, which would have forced the Bruins to deal away a player or three. As is, the Bruins have $57.3 million committed against the cap in the 2013-14 season, and that does not include any goalies. That would mean the B’s would have had to shed some cap space in order to sign Tuukka Rask, but the $64.3 million cap to which the league and players agreed will allow the Bruins enough space to sign Rask without having to do anything too drastic. Depending on what Rask commands, the team might have to make a tough decision or two, but it could have been much worse. $4.3 million worse, to be exact.

Rask is playing this season on a one-year, $3.5 million deal, a choice he made as a restricted free agent with the hope that putting together a strong full season as the team’s starting goalie would allow him to be better compensated. The shortened season already derailed those plans, but Rask could certainly boost his value with a big campaign for the B’s.

Two compliance buyouts: This likely will not impact the Bruins. Teams can buy out up to two players prior to the 2013-14 season without it going against their salary cap, but the Bruins honestly don’t have any bad contracts. Sure, Johnny Boychuk‘s deal raised eyebrows at the time for its $3.36 million cap hit, but it’s a sign that the B’s have spent wisely if that is their worst contract. Marc Savard (who will have four years left on his deal prior to the 2013-14 season with an annual $4.007 million cap hit) is not a candidate because teams cannot buy out injured players.

You want to talk about teams that will eat up these compliance buyouts? Start with the Canadiens. They should jump at the chance to shed Scott Gomez ($7.35 million cap hit) and Tomas Kaberle ($4.25 million).

Maximum contract length of seven years (eight for teams retaining their players): Well, it looks like the Bruins technically weren’t guilty of sneaky pre-CBA CBA circumvention (that’s an ugly sentence). The six-year, $34.5 million deal given to Tyler Seguin was the longest of three big deals they gave out before the lockout. Also inked to extensions prior to the expiration of the last CBA were Brad Marchand ($18 million over four years) and Milan Lucic ($18 million over three years).

Not that the Bruins were likely to do so, but this does mean that the Bruins won’t be able to give out a marathon of a contract like goalies such as Roberto Luongo (12 years) Jonathan Quick (10), Ilya Bryzgalov (nine) and yes, Rick DiPietro (15) have received over recent years.

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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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Tuukka Rask injured playing in Czech Republic 10.23.12 at 6:53 pm ET
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Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask suffered a groin injury playing for HC Plzen of the Czech Extraliga Tuesday. According to a tweet from Czech play-by-play announcer Roman Jedlicka, Rask left the game after the first period.

Rask had suffered an abdomen strain/groin strain last season, and he didn’t play again after sustaining the injury on March 3 against the Islanders.

Said Rask to a Czech TV station following the game Tuesday: “I slightly pulled my groin. It is not serious. I had groin problems last year so i took little rest just for precaution.”

Rask’s injury is the first known injury suffered by a Bruins player playing overseas during the NHL lockout.

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Rich Peverley, Tuukka Rask headed overseas, Zdeno Chara still weighing options 09.24.12 at 4:44 pm ET
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According to a report out of Finland, Bruins forward Rich Peverley will sign with JYP Jyvaskyla of the SM-liiga in Finland to play during the lockout, and ESPNBoston is reporting that goaltender Tuukka Rask will sign with HC Plzen in the Czech Extraliga.

Rask’s signing makes him the third player headed to the Czech Extraliga, as Andrew Ference will play for Ceske Budejovice and David Krejci will play for HC Pardubice.

With Monday’s news, Bruins players set to play overseas for the lockout now include Rask, Peverley, Krejci, Ference, Tyler Seguin (Swiss Elite League), Dennis Seidenberg (Deutsche Eishockey Liga) and Anton Khudobin (KHL).

A source told WEEI.com on Monday that captain Zdeno Chara is still weighing his options and is in no hurry to find a place to play this season.

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Bruins players discuss plans for potential NHL lockout 08.22.12 at 8:39 pm ET
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LOWELL — Several Bruins players weighed in on the NHL’s situation regarding the collective bargaining agreement prior to Milan Lucic‘s Rock & Jock softball game Wednesday night. Among the things discussed were their potential plans for the coming season in the event that there is a lockout. The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire on Sept. 15.

Lucic hasn’t been able to attend any meetings thus far, but he said he has paid close attention to the negotiations between the league and the players’ association. Executives from the league and NHLPA, including league commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, met in Toronto Wednesday, but got nowhere. The negotiations were cancelled before they began, and the two sides will meet again Thursday.

“Obviously there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be resolved,” Lucic said. “There’s a lot of issues that are being talked about and there’s a lot of things that from a player and a union standpoint, that we want and obviously from an owner’s standpoint, what they want. You’ve heard Don and Gary talk about it, that there’s still a wide gap between the two sides coming together. Like I said, hopefully it can get resolved sooner than later, but from a union standpoint and a player standpoint, we’re just trying to make sure we get a fair deal and have whatever’s right.”

Dennis Seidenberg played in the AHL during the 2004-05 lockout, but he hinted at playing in his native Germany next season if the NHL isn’t an option. One draw of playing in Germany would be the opportunity to play with his younger brother, Yannic, who is a forward for Adler Mannheim of the German Hockey League.

“Well, my brother plays in Germany, so it would be nice to play with him if it gets to that point,” Seidenberg said, “but for now I haven’t put enough thought into it to say what I’m going to do.”

Added Seidenberg: “It would be nice to play with him again, but I hope it’s not going to happen.”

Finland native Tuukka Rask said he also isn’t sure where he’d play, but did say it’s unlikely that he would play in Finland. Tim Thomas played in Finland during the 2004-05 lockout.

“I’m sure a lot of guys are thinking Russia and stuff like that, but I don’t think I’d go to Finland,” Rask said. “Maybe I’d try something new, because I played in Finland and I know what it is. Nothing against the league or anything, but maybe I’d try something else.”

Lucic said he knows he might have to consider alternative plans for next season, but he isn’t doing so yet.

“I’m still hopeful that there will be a season,” Lucic said. “‘€¦ I’m still hopeful that hockey will be played [in the NHL] this season, but that’s something that I’m going to have to think about and make a decision on at a later date.”

Another noteworthy bit of information from the players is that they still plan on having informal practices in early September, as they do each season.

“I’ve talked to a lot of guys on the team, and it seems like a lot of guys are coming back — especially the ones with kids going to school — as if everything’s going to plan,” Lucic said. “The CBA only lasts until September 15, so we don’t have much time even if we do start in Wilmington, but definitely for us guys that are on the Bruins and are here in Boston, we’ll definitely be skating together and doing whatever until whatever needs to be resolved.”

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Tuukka Rask, Daniel Paille join Shawn Thornton for third annual Parkinson’s golf tournament 08.06.12 at 4:09 pm ET
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MIDDLETON — Shawn Thornton bounced around a lot of NHL and AHL cities before coming to Boston, so consider him happy to be having the third annual anything in the same spot.

Monday marked Thornton’s third annual “Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s” at the Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton, a tournament featuring Bruins teammates to raise money for the disease that his grandmother battled for years before she died in 2008.

“Some things have had to come together, contract-wise and all that stuff,” Thornton said. “Staying in town definitely helped. The support from everyone around it — pretty much everyone comes back — there’s a couple of cancelations every year, but somebody’s waiting to step in. The support’s been pretty remarkable.”

Participating in this year’s tournament were teammates Daniel Paille and Tuukka Rask, the only other Bruins currently in town. Though the tournament is about more than golf, Thornton, who does plenty of golfing and boxing in the offseason, said his teammates could get the better of him.

“Paisy is naturally good at everything,” Thornton said of his linemate. “I don’t think he knows how good he is at everything. Tuukka, I haven’t played with him since he got back from Finland, but I heard he’s hitting the ball a mile.”

Rask had no problem confirming his superiority over Thornton on the golf course when asked whether he could beat the veteran tough guy.

“I could on a good day,” Rask said. “… I’ve finally straightened out my drive, so I’ve been good. Now that I’m talking about it, I’m sure I’ll suck today.”

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Tuukka Rask talks contract status, Tim Thomas 08.02.12 at 4:59 pm ET
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Following are highlights from Tuukka Rask’s session with the media Thursday at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Rask, who took a one-year deal this offseason and will take over as the team’s starting goalie, said he felt “fairly healthy” as the offseason began coming off a hip/abdomen injury and is feeling good now.

On signing a one-year deal [Note: He will be a restricted free agent again next offseason]

“A lot of people I guess were a little surprised by the contract and stuff, but I can’t tell the team that I want a long contract because I’m at an age where I would have had to go to arbitration and stuff like that, so we just figured it’s best for both of us. If I have a good year then maybe I’ll sign a longer deal and if I suck, then kick me out.

On if there was any hesitance to take a one-year deal in case he has a bad season or gets injured:

“You can’t really think of it that way, because you’re kind of digging yourself a hole there, but sometimes you’ve got to think what’s best for the team and what’s best for yourself. I think this is a really good scenario for all of us.”

On if he’ll suck next year:

“I mean, I’m pretty confident. I’ve never really sucked, so hopefully I don’t suck this year either. You go out there and you do your best. Practice hard and work hard and just play on your level. I know my level is not too low in general, so I’ve just got to work hard to maintain that level.”

On if he feels he has something to prove:

“Yes and no. You always think it would be nice to play 82 games and have an awesome year. In that way you want to prove yourself, how good you can be on a daily basis, but I’ve proven myself, that I can play in this league.”

On if he was surprised by Tim Thomas‘ decision to take next year off:

“Well I was and I wasn’t. I wasn’t expecting him to do that obviously, but I really appreciate what he’s done and I appreciate his decision to be with his family and take some time off from hockey. It really didn’t shock me that much, but I’m more upset to see him leave because we had a really good connection and friendship going on. I’m sure he’s happy now where he is.”

On if he saw it coming:

“I mean, everybody knew he was a little tired because he played so much the last two years, but it didn’t seem like he was exhausted mentally.”

On if he’s viewing the situation as though Thomas won’t come back to the Bruins:

“Well, I mean, of course. That’s what everybody wants, but if he takes a step back and thinks about his situation and if he comes back, he comes back. I’ll just try to do my job as good as I can.”

On if he’ll miss Thomas as a teammate:

“He was a great guy. We had a great relationship and he was a good guy. It’s going to be a little weird to not see him sitting next to me anymore, but I have to get used to it.”

On what Thomas’ legacy in Boston should be:

“I don’t know. I can’t answer that. To me, I look at it a little differently because he’s a friend of mine, so I don’t really care what he says on the Facebook or whatever because I don’t read that stuff. He’s been good to me, and we’ve been good friends and usually don’t talk about that stuff, what he posts. All I know is he’s been a good teammate to me and a good friend.”

On being the Bruins’ starting goalie:

“All my life, pretty much, it’s been a goal. I played some games my first year here consistently, but the year after was a step back playing-time wise. [I've been] waiting for a few years now, so it’s going to be interesting to see how I handle it. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m always up for a challenge.”

On being in a more traditional situation with a starter and a backup:

“I played a lot down in Providence and back in Finland even, so that’s not going to be anything new. I don’t want to put too much worry on that because you know how coach is with playing time. I’m sure I’m going to get as much a chance as possible, but if I can’t get the job done, there’s going to be more guys coming in.”

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