Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told NHL.com’s Amalie Benjamin that his team is going into this season with the belief that it’s “full steam ahead” with goalie Tuukka Rask.
Rask left Toronto during the playoffs to be with his family, and he later revealed that he made the decision due to a medical emergency with his daughter. Cassidy said Rask is eager to get back on the ice and contribute once again.
“Probably nobody more excited on our team to [be] getting back in there,” Cassidy said to Benjamin. “I would assume that Tuukka would sort of say, ‘Hey, I’m still the goalie, I was last year and I’m ready to go. Family’s good, I’m good. Everyone’s in a good place. Let’s play hockey.'”
Rask, who was a Vezina Trophy finalist last season, led the National Hockey League with a 2.12 goals-against average and finished with a .929 save percentage in 41 games. He played four playoff games before heading home.
“I think everything that happened in the bubble has been addressed, dealt with,” Cassidy said Wednesday. “We’re moving on, getting ready to win next year. That includes our goaltender.”
Cassidy also provided the latest on forwards Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, noting that both remain on schedule – or potentially even better – after each had offseason surgery.
Marchand had sports hernia surgery Sept. 14 and was scheduled to be fully recovered in about four months and return in mid-January. Pastrnak, who tied Alex Ovechkin for an NHL-leading 48 goals last year, had a right hip arthroscopy and labral repair Sept. 16, and he was expected to be back in mid-February.
The season is currently slated to begin Jan. 1, and Cassidy believes both should be on the ice within a few months after that date, if not sooner.
“They may even be ahead of schedule, for all I know,” Cassidy told Benjamin. “I just know how hard those two guys work as well. … Guys that train hard will probably stay on schedule, or at least get a little bit ahead.”
In case you were worried, Bruce Cassidy told me this morning that both Marchand and Pastrnak appear to be on-target in their recoveries.
— Amalie Benjamin (@AmalieBenjamin) November 11, 2020
Cassidy said the Bruins are “optimistic” about their progress, but the major question mark is when the team will play its first game.
“Right now, we’re expecting to have them early in the season,” he said. “But I don’t know, until we get the schedules, it’s hard to say that they’ll miss this amount of time or that amount of time.”
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