WILMINGTON, Mass. — Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask has had a pretty heavy workload this season, and there’s nothing that says things will lighten up any time soon. In fact, they’re about to get even more hectic. Now he and the rest of his teammates have to figure out a way to deal with that.
The B’s goalie made his 36th appearance on Saturday night in San Jose, as he started the third and final game of a three-game West Coast road trip. Rask started all three games of that grueling trip against three of the league’s toughest home teams. The Bruins returned home after that win over the Sharks to get ready for a Tuesday date with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Then they’ll head back out on the road for a game Thursday in Dallas and Sunday in Chicago all before returning home again to take on Los Angeles next Monday.
It’s dizzying, to say the least, and for Rask especially, there’s no let-up in the near future. That’s thanks in large part to the fact that Rask was selected as one of the goaltenders for Finland at the upcoming Olympics in Russia. To say there’s a lot on Rask’s plate right now would be a drastic understatement.
“I think everybody’s feeling the schedule being too heavy,” Rask said after practice Monday. “I haven’t felt too tired. It’s draining mentally when you travel a lot and play every other day pretty much for weeks, so it can be draining. But I think we can keep things light when necessary and that helps a lot for us.”
Limiting work both in games and practices will continue moving forward, but some members of the Bruins won’t be afforded that opportunity. Rask is among five Bruins selected to their respective Olympic teams, and head coach Claude Julien will be a member of the Canadian coaching staff. That group of players and coach will begin Olympic play in just about a month, and for the Bruins, the schedule will only intensify when the NHL season resumes. Boston has 17 games scheduled for March, the club’s busiest month of the year.
“It’s not going to get easier,” Rask said. “I’ve thought about it, but then again, what can you do? You just try to adjust and be as good as you can be. I look at the schedule and the March schedule is crazy … It will be busy, but what can you do? You just have to keep plugging away.”
That fatigued feeling is nothing new for Rask at this point, though. He spearheaded the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup Final last season, as he made 36 appearances in the abbreviated regular season before leading the team on its run to the Final. So this isn’t unfamiliar.
“I pretty much always feel like [expletive],” he joked.
“It will be tough. I heard that there’s a charter flight back from the Olympics after quarterfinals and then another after the finals. It will be different. Not too many days off after that. … I think we’re gonna be tired, but then again, it’s going to be springtime and the playoffs will be coming, so that lightens up the mood. “