Tuukka Rask has become the sixth member of the Boston Bruins to find a European employer during the NHL lockout. Surprisingly, though, he will not be returning to his old team Ilves in Finland. He will be suiting up for HC Plzen of the Czech Extraliga, the highest-ranked league in the Czech Republic.
According to a Czech-language report run through Google Translate–which is especially bad with parsing grammar and syntax for the Czech language–Rask flew to the Czech Republic today but is not expected to play in tomorrow’s game against Bili Tygri Liberec. That’s because, in the badly-translated words of team coordinator Milan Tychy, he has “inverted time.” (That, by the way, may become my new favorite way to describe someone having jet lag.) Perhaps he could play on Sept. 28 against HC Vitkovice Steel, but that might be cutting it close too. It does, after all, take some time to recover from inverted time. Maybe Sept. 30′s game against HC Sparta Praha might be a more ideal debut for Rask.
Tychy said that he’d seen Rask in action during his junior years and in the NHL as well. He said that he immediately sprung into action to try to secure Rask when things looked bad for negotiations on this side of the Atlantic.
HC Plzen features no other Finns on the roster, but does have two Americans (Ryan Hollweg and Nick Johnson) as well as a Canadian (Nick St. Pierre). HC Plzen has been playing in the city of Plzen, also known as Pilsen, since 1929. Plzen is in the western part of the Czech Republic, is the fourth largest city in the country and is indeed the birthplace of Pilsner beer.
There is the possibility, when Andrew Ference makes his way to HC Mountfield Ceske Budejovice in October, that the two teammates could be pitted against one another on the wide European ice devoid of trapezoids.
In related CBA negotiation news, the two sides are slated to meet on Friday, although to discuss issues like pensions, health care and travel, not necessarily the CBA. Those issues will surely be part of future CBA discussions, though.