If Tuukka Rask is going to make a further impact for the Boston Bruins this season, it will likely be if Tim Thomas falters in the playoffs. Boston announced that Rask will miss anywhere between four and six weeks with a groin injury/abdominal strain suffered while making a save this weekend.
This development is an even bigger bummer than usual for both parties.
From the Bruins’ perspective, they’ll likely need to lean on Thomas more than they might like going down the stretch. Boston still has a three-point lead and three games in hand on the Ottawa Senators for the Northeast Division title, but that gap could close rapidly if they need to turn to Michael Hutchinson or some other green backup to keep their 37-year-old star fresh going into the playoffs.
Update: the Bruins decided to be proactive as far as Thomas’ freshness by signing Marty Turco, who will join the team as long as he clears waivers. Rask won’t have to look over his shoulder, either, because Turco wont be eligible for playoff play.
Rask’s loss isn’t just in the starts he would receive. As a pending restricted free agent going into this summer, he might not get a chance to boost his numbers that much more.
Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom tweaked his groin making a save early in last night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. It was already clear that it wouldn’t be an easy situation, but NHL.com’s Brian Hedger tracked down a more specific estimate. The Wild revealed that the issue will likely sideline him for two to four weeks.
Backstrom’s loss looks to be backup Josh Harding’s gain. A two week window could give him 6-7 starts while a month-long reading could provide as many as 15 opportunities.
Naturally, that would assume that Harding would play each game, which is far from a guarantee. That being said, head coach Mike Yeo points out that there aren’t many back-to-back games* so new backup Matt Hackett might not see much time.
The Wild currently sit at 12th place in the West, trailing the eighth-ranked Dallas Stars by five points (71 to 66). It certainly doesn’t look like a promising situation for Minnesota, although Harding could profoundly improve his value on the free agent market if he can help them turn things around.
* – The Wild have to back-to-back sets, to be exact:
- March 24 and 25 (at Buffalo, at Washington)
- March 31 and April 1 (vs. Los Angeles, at Chicago)
The rigors of an 82-game season often wear on an NHL roster, but coaches haven’t been immune to injuries in 2011-12 either.
San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan is the latest victim of this relative rash of bench boss bruising as he’ll miss his second game behind the bench tonight, according to Eric Gilmore of NHL.com.
On the bright side, the non-suit-wearing members of the team seem to be getting healthier. Dominic Moore looks to reacquaint himself with his new teammates after missing four games with a lower-body injury while Gilmore reports that young phenom Logan Couture is a game-time decision.
Considering the fact that they’ll be facing a team that’s on the tail-end of back-to-back games in the Buffalo Sabres, the Sharks have a great chance to win the second contest of their current four-game homestand – even if their bright coach won’t be there to help.