VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- After being the starting goaltender last season and leading the Bruins to within one game of the Eastern Conference finals, Tuukka Rask has found himself in a much different role this season -- as a backup to a Vezina Trophy candidate Tim Thomas. Rask has been a good soldier through it all; instead of sulking about playing time, he has done his best to stay positive and use this season and the team’s playoff run as a learning experience.
“He's handled it great,” Thomas said of Rask. “He's been a great partner for me, supportive the whole way. I respect that. I was trying to do the same thing myself last year. It's not always easy because you want to be the guy who's playing. We wouldn't have got to this level if that wasn't the case. But he's just been awesome. We've had a good relationship since we first met each other like six years ago. That's still carrying on.”
Rask is trying to enjoy the experience of the team’s playoff success and stay ready while doing so.
“It’s been fun following the games, and obviously not being part of the action is different but you’re part of the group and you try to feel good about yourself and the guys help me do that,” Rask said. “You try to be ready physically and mentally all the time. But you also try to soak it all in and have fun watching the games too. I feel good. Obviously I won’t know for sure until I’m out there playing but I feel good and ready if they ever need me. I feel sharp in practices and good about my game, so no rust as far as I can feel.”
“Having these guys and the veteran leadership we have on this team, like Rex [Recchi] and Timmy and then Bergy, who won a gold medal in the Olympics, has been great,” Rask said. “They have taught us to drink it in, learn from it, and enjoy it. So I think it’s valuable to me because I’ll remember the situation and the environment when I have to carry the team again. It’s definitely been a great experience.”
Rask said he is proud of what his teammates have accomplished and that he believes they can bounce back in Game 2.
“I’m really proud of the team,” Rask said. “The guys have done a great job of always bouncing back when we have a bad game or bad period and that will help now.”