This is something I have been wondering for a very long time. The Boston Bruins have one of the best starting goaltenders in the entire National Hockey League in Tuukka Rask and yet, all fans seem to do is complain about him or find faults in his game.
Rask, 31, is consistent, is an elite netminder, and has won a ton of hockey games for the Bruins and yet, it does not seem to be enough for anyone. This is mind-boggling to me.
In looking at his win total, he has 238 career wins, which puts him second all-time and just four wins behind Tiny Thompson for the franchise lead. This is a franchise that has had some terrific goaltenders like Gerry Cheevers, Eddie Johnston, Andy Moog, Frank Brimsek, Gilles Gilbert, Tim Thomas, etc. In my opinion, Rask is better than all of them.
Rask’s stats are also incredible. He has a career GAA of 2.26, a career save percentage of .922 and 41 career shutouts. He is second in Bruins’ franchise history in goals against, first in save percentage, and second in shutouts. These are elite numbers and he’s been that way ever since he became a starting goaltender for the B’s back during the 2009-10 season.
Rask also turned in one of the most dominant seasons in goal in 2013-14. He won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top masked man with 36 wins, a 2.04 GAA, .930 save percentage, and 7 shutouts. Not many goaltenders can say they’ve had a season like that and yet, Rask is one who can.
All you naysayers out there will point out that he does not have a Cup. While that is completely true, you cannot put that on just him. If I remember correctly, there have been plenty of times in the playoffs when the team in front of him didn’t show up the way they should have.
These folks may also point out that Thomas was a better goaltender. While Thomas did win the Cup as the starting goaltender in 2011-12 as well as Two Vezina’s and a Conn Smythe Trophy, I still do not think that is the case.
I know that Rask is off to a tough start this season and has sub-par numbers (1-1 with, 5.52 GAA, .840 save percentage). With that said, fans need to give him a break.
When Rask is done, both the Bruins and their fans are going to miss him. The time is now for them to root for him and stick by him.
The Bruins have a good enough team to win the Cup this year. If that is going to happen, it is going to be done with Rask between the pipes.
People need to get used to it and just leave him alone.
Photo: Boston Herald