Shawn Thornton Says Tuukka Rask is Ready

By Emma Harger

In a recent meeting with the press, Tuukka Rask seemed mostly ready to take on the role of Boston Bruins starting goalie. Mostly is the operative term here–he talked about the possibility of him doing badly and what the team would do in that case to get rid of him, but later added that he’s never performed very badly and he feels confident. (Rask can be hard on himself and his abilities sometimes.)

But Shawn Thornton, hosting his signature Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s charity golf tournament, said he feels his netminder is ready to assume the starting role.

“I’ve talked to Tuuks, he’s excited, he’s ready to go, he’s been waiting for this opportunity,” he said. “There’s a lot of trust in him, we’ve seen what he can do.”

He pointed out Rask’s past performances, which includes his standout 2009-10 season, a rookie campaign that saw him play 45 games, put up a 22-12-5 record with five shutouts and record a 1.97 goals against average, the lowest in the league. There were times during last season, too, when Rask was at or near the top of the league in some of the metrics used to measure goalie performance.

“His numbers kind of speak for themselves as far as his save percentage and his goals against, he’s always right up there in the tops of the league,” Thornton said. “He was I guess fortunate and unfortunate enough to be behind Timmy but I think he’s been quite capable to be a starter probably on other teams before this so we’re happy to have him.”

Thornton is also happy to have his Merlot Line mates, Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell, by his side again this season. Paille was among the players in the Putts and Punches tourney.

“Selfishly, I’m very happy that we have my two lineys back…We’ve definitely created a chemistry over the last couple years,” Thornton said. “We just know where each other are and we know certain things that communication doesn’t have to be verbal all the time, so you can kind of read off each other.”

He’s been training over the summer, although not really thinking about training camp just yet, but he did report that he’s stronger than he was at this time last year. That’s good, considering the Bruins have a big bad reputation to uphold and the rest of the division has been adding tougher players recently. Thornton will need to answer the bell when necessary.

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