Two of the league’s best young goalies are going head-to-head today as Boston’s Tuukka Rask and Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky engage in a matinee at Nationwide Arena.
Prior to, the Rask had some complimentary things to say about his counterpart.
“[Bobrovsky’s] not the typical Russian goalie,” Rask told the Boston Herald. “Most of the Russians who come out now are pretty technical. He’s a butterfly goalie, but he’s also pretty athletic.
“He can make that amazing save when needed.”
Both goalies have been remarkably stingy this year. Rask is 2-1-0 with a 1.01 GAA and .966 save percentage; Bobrovsky is also 2-1-0, with 2.27 GAA and .920 save percentage.
In terms of bragging rights, each has something to bring to the table.
Bobrovsky’s the reigning Vezina winner and, in keeping with the theme of this post, the first-ever Russian to capture the award. But Rask’s got plenty on his resume as well, including a trip to last year’s Stanley Cup Final and a new $56 million contract extension, making him one of the NHL’s highest-paid netminders.
Rask appears to be a real student of the game, especially when it comes to fellow members of the goalie’s union. He sounds like someone that’s thoroughly studied Bobrovsky’s game, and likes what he sees.
“Goalies have to be athletic and in good shape, especially the way (the NHL is) cutting down our gear every year. It seems to get smaller every year,” he told the Herald. So you have to be athletic and be more of a hybrid than just trying to cut your angles and be big.
“Bobrovsky is very good at both.”
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.