It’s time to consider Tuukka Rask as the Bruins’ starting netminder
I wrote about this in my overview of the Bruins’ month ahead in January–that perhaps the Bruins should consider transferring more of the load to back-up Tuukka Rask. While it’s perhaps cruel to to seek to underscore that point again after just one mediocre performance by Tim Thomas last night against Tampa, I will: it’s Tuukka time. And the time, it’s now.
Tuukka’s stat line reads like this, as of today, January 18th:
Both Rask and Thomas are arguably the top two goalies in the league right now, certainly the top tandem. While Rask has had fewer starts, and many against weaker foes, I am going to posit that he has done everything humanly possible to attempt to usurp the role of starting goalie in the play he’s demonstrated during those games. It’s been a fact that the Bruins don’t bring their A-game when they play team like the Canes and the Islanders, games Tuukka often starts in net for. Frequently, Tuukka assumes more of the burden than Thomas ever would. Tuukka is poised in shootouts and during overtime, just as he was against the Panthers two nights ago. Thomas, though perhaps we expected him to be shutdown every night, has not delivered similar performances.
Thomas has put together some stellar games, this is undoubted. In last night’s tilt against Tampa, he had some paddle-saves few netminders could dream of. But he has also allowed in more Downie-soft goals, like that of Dominic Moore’s game-winner last night. Thomas played the puck way outside the crease and behind on the net on a half dozen occasions in which he shouldn’t have. The first goal against from Lecavalier was a chaotic one, but Thomas was on his stomach. I won’t argue Thomas’s game or his strategy, his technique or any of that: that’s not changing, nor should it. But his game right now is too imperfect to work.
It is time for Tuukka to take the reins. All said, the team is playing remarkably well, and with Marchand and Peverley, perhaps last night’s game would have ended differently. Still, I would contend that Tuukka Rask must head 1A for the time being.