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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Is it Time to Pull the Plug on Tuukka Rask?

The Bruins have a terrific problem that a lot of teams would love to have: they have two goalies that can both be number one. However, the issue is that the goalie that is paid to be an elite starter, Tuukka Rask, has played more like a backup. At the same time, Jaroslav Halak, who is paid to be a backup, has been playing more like a starter. So, is it too early to start thinking about giving Halak a few more starts than Rask?
Since Rask’s Vezina Trophy year in 2013–2014, there has been a steady drop in his play. Although by a typical goalie’s standards he should be in his prime, he certainly has not shown it. In fact, Rask has not had a season save percentage over 0.917 since the 2014–2015 season. So far, in his first three starts of the season, Rask has put up an 0.881 save percentage and has a 4.07 goals against average, which is far from good.
Halak has been a number one goaltender for a long time in the NHL but had a bit of a rough go with his previous team, the New York Islanders. Halak’s best season came in the 2011–2012 season when he posted a 0.925 save percentage and had 26 wins. So far, in three appearances for the Bruins this season, Halak has a 0.961 save percentage and a 1.18 goals against average.
There have been many excuses made for Rask over the years. Some say he plays too much, so much so, he wears down by the end of the year, or that the defense in front of him is not good enough when he gets the start. Well, if this was the case, then he should have been well rested for the playoffs last year as Khudobin had a pretty large workload for a backup. Last season, Khudobin played in 31 games, yet Rask still almost cost the Bruins game seven against the Leafs. By the way, elite goaltenders are supposed to bail out teams who have bad nights defensively, but I sure have not seen that from Rask in a real long time.
If Halak can keep up his good play, then the Bruins might have to consider trading Rask after this season. Rask makes $7 million and is severely overpaid for his level of play. The Bruins have some big decisions to make this offseason regarding some of their young players who are in the final year of their rookie contracts. However, the hope is that Halak can push Rask to be the best that he can be, much like Anton Khudobin did a year ago. With that said, the Bruins cannot keep banking on Rask turning around his putrid play year after year.

About the Contributor
Jonathan Hopkins, Sports Editor