WILMINGTON, Mass. — The Bruins' announcement Wednesday morning that the club has entered a partnership with JYP Jyvaskyla of Finland's SM-League wasn't exactly a hot topic of conversation in the locker room after the second day of captain's practices at Ristuccia Arena, but it certainly caught the attention of Tuukka Rask.
"I heard about that," said Rask, a native of Savonlinna, Finland. "It's a really good organization. They won a championship a couple of years ago and it's in really good shape. They have a lot of good young guys there. I think it's a good thing for both of us."
JYP Jyvaskyla won its first title in 2009, two years after Rask wrapped up a three-year stint with SM-League rival Ilves Tampere.
Under the new agreement with the Bruins, the teams will be able to transfer players and have them train within the partner club's developmental system. Rask is the only Finnish player attending the Bruins training camp this season, but he hopes that this arrangement might lead to more Finns finding their way to Boston in future years.
"It's always fun to have some of your countrymen on the same team, so maybe in the future we'll have a few more," said Rask, who led the NHL in both goals-against average (1.97) and save percentage (.931) while taking over as Boston's No. 1 goalie as a rookie last season.
Rask has more immediate concerns on his mind though, like making sure he's in shape for the upcoming season. On Tuesday, Bruins goalie coach Bob Essensa noted that Rask had added some needed weight to his lanky frame, bulking up to 180 pounds. But Rask knows filling out his 6-foot-2 frame is still a work in progress.
"I spent a few weeks here working out with Whitey [Bruins strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides] and it seems good," said Rask. "We'll see when the training camp comes where I'm at. It's still a little ways away, so we'll see."
And while Rask is happy to look forward to the new season about to get under way, he has no interest in looking back at the one that ended in such disappointment with the playoff loss to Philadelphia this spring.
"That's behind me," said Rask. "It's a new year and a new start. We should be good."