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Despite The Finnish-Swedish Rivalry, Rask Has Forgiven Bemstrom



Given the fact that Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is Finnish and Columbus Blue Jackets rookie forward Emil Bemstrom is Swedish, one couldn’t blame Rask if he doubted the Jackets rook was sincere when he said his headshot that sent the bewildered Finn to the darkroom 1:12 into a 3-0 Bruins loss January 14 was truly accidental.

“I don’t think he’s a guy who would go out and punch a goalie purposely. But was he Swedish? Then, yeah, he might have done it,” joked arguably the best Finnish goalie of the last decade.

“Well, he said it was an accident, so it was an accident,” Rask went on. “It looked bad but if he was trying to rip his hand off Carlo and then just did the motion … he said it was an accident.”

Rask didn’t indicate that he felt a response from his teammates on Bemstrom the next time the Blue Jackets and Bruins meet on March 16 was necessary. However, in light of the recent Battle of Alberta episode and the Zack Kassian-Matthew Tkachuk incident, he knows there is a code still. 

“That’s how it’s been, but the game’s changing so much so who knows what the new norm is,” Rask said. “These kinds of staged fights and what people call them, they want to cut them off and it’s all about concussions and people getting hurt, these are tough questions but I think that hockey has always got that code and that if the team sees that you’re doing something unnecessary then they’re going to take action and usually answer the bell. That’s always been the case and we’ll see where the game’s gonna go. 

All of that aside, Rask was a welcome sight in the Bruins dressing room post-practice Thursday just a year after suffering his last concussion. Rask (17-4-0-6, 2.27 GAA, .925 save percentage), did admit the after-effects from this most recent concussion were different than last season when he was barreled over by New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil

“I had very bad motion sickness for the first two days. That was different,” Rask said. “My headaches were never too bad, but I sat in a car and when walking, it was spinning a little bit. I figured that might have been because I got hit in the side of the head so it messed up my balance. But other than that I felt pretty good.”

Rask – who figured the unsuspecting hit to the side of the head versus seeing the hit coming like last season – was happy to just be able to enjoy the recent All-Star break and bye week with his family.

“They’re all different … but I didn’t have to sit in a dark room for many days in a row. I was able to live my life for the most part so that was good,” said Rask.

Rask said that as far as he knew, he wasn’t suspended even though just prior to the suffering the concussion, he announced he wouldn’t attend All-Star weekend in St. Louis (last weekend) and participate after he was selected to his second All-Star game.

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