Just when it appeared that the Boston Bruins were going to be forced to ride out Tuukka Rask shaking the rust off, things are again turning for the Black and Gold. Rask is out of Friday night’s lineup with a lower body injury after he was initially set to serve as the back to Linus Ullmark against the Arizona Coyotes.
The Bruins have termed him day-to-day and haven’t ruled him out for this Sunday’s road finale in Dallas at this point.
“It’s lower body. He came out of his last start and felt a little something. We thought he’d be fine for the trip and that’s what he indicated to us, but it didn’t come around as much as he would have liked,” Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy following Friday night’s win. “We’ll see how he is [on Saturday]. If he doesn’t feel like he’s going to be available for Sunday or Tuesday then we’d obviously have to look at Swayman. At the end of the day Swayman is a guy that would deserve the opportunity. Weather issues may prevent that [on Saturday] but at the end of the day Swayman would be the guy if either goaltender went down for any reason.”
Instead, Troy Grosenick was added to the taxi squad presumably to play backup to Ullmark on Friday vs. Arizona, and there are whispers that rookie Jeremy Swayman will be meeting the team in Dallas this weekend for Sunday’s game against the Stars. Swayman has been excellent in Providence since being sent down and is obviously chomping at the bit for a return trip to the NHL after Rask’s signing caught him in a numbers game.
Grosenick is 8-2-1 with a .917 save percentage and a 2.28 goals against average this season with the P-Bruins and has four career NHL appearances under his belt.
This all comes after Rask has looked rusty in his first few games with the Bruins after signing a one-year deal following a 200-plus day layoff from last playing due to offseason hip surgery. Rask has struggled mightily with a 2-2-0 record along with a 4.28 goals against average and .844 save percentage in four appearances for the Bruins this season, and had allowed 12 goals in his last three appearances for the Black and Gold while looking mighty rusty.
The Boston Bruins said they were committed to giving Rask 7-8 starts to get into midseason shape and insisted he was 100 percent healthy physically as recently as this week’s Monday night loss to Anaheim, and even reinforced that when B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy was asked about it following today’s morning skate in Arizona.
“I think we’re going to see it through. [Rask] could have a change of heart in that regard, we won’t control that. But we went into this with [a plan], he put the time into rehab and we’ll give him X amount of starts to sort of find his game,” said Cassidy. “That’s a little tougher, obviously, in-season, but we were willing to do that because of his résumé, and we’re not there to the number of starts where we’re going to say, ‘OK listen, we’ve got to rethink it.’
“He’s going to get three or four more minimum and then let’s see where we are, where we’re at, who gives us the best chance to win every night as we go down this stretch, and then sort it out for April and May.”
Obviously, something changed in a matter of hours with Rask now unable to serve as the backup and changes potentially coming for the Black and Gold.