After undergoing offseason hip replacement surgery, Claude Julien was back at his TD Garden office on Monday and spoke with BostonBruins.com about — who else? — Tim Thomas.
With his star goalie set to sit out the upcoming campaign, Julien focused on the ‘tenders he has available to him — Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin.
“Well I think, you know, Tim has made his decision and as a coach my philosophy doesn’t change, and it’s about dealing with the players that you have in front of you,” said Julien. “We all know that Tuukka is a very capable goaltender. He’s proven it time-after-time. We got an opportunity to see Khudobin in action in Ottawa one of the last games of the season, and he handled that game extremely well — he was phenomenal.
“So we still feel confident that we have some great goaltenders. Tim has been a great goaltender for us, and what he’s done will certainly never be forgotten, but at the same time it’s important for me to take the news and move forward with it. I’m looking forward to working with some of these other goaltenders.”
Julien noted the biggest challenge will be for Rask to carry the No. 1 gig for an entire season. He’s never opened the year as Boston’s starting goalie — even during the 2009-10 season when he appeared in a career-high 45 games and played every minute in the playoffs, Rask was Thomas’ backup to begin the campaign.
“Tuukka has not been exposed to being a number one goaltender from the start of the season on,” Julien said.”That’s the challenge that Tuukka has.”
It’ll be very interesting to see if Boston does indeed roll with the young duo of Rask (25 years old) and Khudobin (26). Teams often prefer to have at least one veteran presence in the mix — Boston could conceivably have a tandem with just 52 career wins combined.
That’s a far cry from Thomas, who had 70 wins for Boston over the last two seasons.