When 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.