Bruins’ goaltender Tuukka Rask returned to game action Thursday night for the second half of back-to-back games. Rask made his season debut in a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers after the team danced with the Montreal Canadiens the night before. Fans in Boston, for the most part, are happy to have their all-time winningest goaltender back. There are those who aren’t happy though, and I would like to address this in a civil manner.
Rask is Back and Jeremy Swayman is Back… With the P-Bruins
The first major point of tension for those who are less than thrilled with Rask’s return is the resulting move of Boston sending rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman back down to Providence. Swayman, 23, has played in 16 games for the Bruins this season. With a record of 8-6-2 and save percentage of .918, the rookie has shown flashes of strong play. Consistency is key however, especially for a team with serious playoff aspirations. The Bruins need to be able to compete with other playoff caliber teams just as much as they need to beat teams below them. Per Ty Anderson of 98.5 the Sports Hub, Swayman’s record against non-playoff teams is strong, however against current playoff positioned teams is 1-5-1 with a .903 save percentage to go along with it.
“Rask is blocking the future of this team”
Ask yourself, my fellow Bruins fans: “what is the future of this team?” Do you want this team to take another kick at the Lord Stanley’s can? The remaining core from the 2011 championship team is slowly but surely riding off into the sunset. Rask adds depth, Vezina caliber play and leadership all for the lowly cost of some bud lights. But seriously, people who hated him at $7 million per year should be satisfied with a prorated one year $1 million contract. Low risk, high reward.
Prior to the serious flare up of his hip injury in Game 5 of series against the Islanders, Rask led the playoffs last spring in save percentage and goals against average. Mind you, this is an injury he had been reportedly playing with since bubble hockey in Toronto back in 2020. The same year he was announced as a Vezina finalist. Now he is reportedly healthy and ready to compete.
The Bruins are gearing up for playoffs and Rask is depth they need
The added depth in net only helps this team as they gear up for another hopeful playoff run in the spring. I can also guarantee you this isn’t the last we have seen of Swayman this season. Between COVID-19 exposures and injuries, Swayman will certainly be back up with the big club. Hockey is a fast game; things can change in an instant. For now, he will be Providence’s ace and will get a lot of time in net, which will only help further his development.
(Image Source: boston.com)
-Josh Croteau (@_jcro on Twitter)
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