Tuukka Rask reflects on 09-10 season, tries to put playoff letdown behind him

raskissad.jpgWhen you consider how unproven he was going into the 2009-10 season, most people would probably look at Tuukka Rask’s rookie year as a resounding success. After all, he usurped Tim Thomas, the 2009 Vezina Trophy winner as the Boston Bruins managed to grind their way into a playoff berth.

Still, you also can’t blame Rask for lingering on the not-so-great ending. As you may remember, the Bruins squandered a 3-0 series lead, allowing the Philadelphia Flyers to make their way to the Eastern Conference finals. Rask was in net for all of those defeats and ESPN Boston’s James Murphy caught up with the Finnish goalie regarding his off-season.

“Obviously, it’s tough to end your season with four losses like that,” he said. “You don’t really feel bad for anybody because it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. It’s only hockey, and you can be mad and sad about what happened but you can’t think about it too much. You just need to be ready if that situation ever comes again. You need to be more prepared, and once you’ve been there, you never want to go back.

“I think that will help us as a team to be ready for the season and the playoffs.”

As far as preparation goes, Rask acknowledged that he could’ve been better prepared for the rigors of the playoffs, both mentally and physically.

“It is a different season when the playoffs start,” Rask said. “You cannot prepare yourself too good for that.”

There were some rumors that Rask was wearing down around playoff time, so perhaps this is his way of acknowledging those thoughts. He had a fantastic season in 09-10, but count me among those who wonder if he’ll be able to produce an encore performance at or around that level. After all, Tim Thomas was outstanding in 08-09 only to regress to “just above average” last season.

It’ll be interesting to see if Rask is a star in the making or just another one-year wonder. We’ll find out soon enough.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: All that’s been announced about Silfverberg is that he’s under evaluation and will not return.