by Patrick Hoffman on 09/01/12 at 01:02 PM ET
For the Boston Bruins, it has certainly been a strange past two seasons, especially when it comes to netminding.
When the 2010-11 season began, many folks in the media and fans alike felt that Bruins' netminder Tuukka Rask would be the starting goaltender for the team. This was mostly based upon the fact that Rask was terrific in 2009-10 when he went 22-12-5 with a 1.97 goals against average, a .931 save percentage and 5 shutouts.
Unfortunately for Rask, he got off to a slow start in 2010-11 and the starting goaltender position went back to Tim Thomas, who ended up having a season to remember for his hockey club. In the regular season, Thomas went 35-11-9 with a 2.00 goals against average, a .938 save percentage, and 9 shutouts en route to winning the Vezina Trophy as the league's best netminder in the regular season.
Of course, Thomas then had a postseason to remember. Thomas led the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league's most valuable player in the postseason.
For Rask, this meant a lot of time riding the bench and playing every once in awhile. When he did play last season, Rask was solid in winning 11 games, posting a 2.05 goals against average, stopped .929 of the shotes he faced and picked up 3 shutouts.
With Thomas deciding take a year off, this now means that the net is once again Rask's to lose. While Rask started 45 games in 2009-10, he comes into this season knowing for a fact that he is the starting goaltender, something he has never had to deal with before.
Rask enters this season having signed a one-year contract extension. While some probably questioned the signing considering that he probably could have gotten more, it is not the worst idea considering this is really Rask's first time as the starting netminder.
This season represents a chance for Rask to once again show that he really is the goaltender of the future for the Bruins and that even without a solid netminder like Thomas around, Rask can be the guy for the Bruins.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
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