The Boston Bruins were heading into todays Noon EST game 3 vs the Carolina Hurricanes, already with a few major uncertainties. David Pastrnak was a surprise ommission in game 2 with an upper body injury that could also keep him out of game 3, according tho coach Bruce Cassidy.
“Pasta did not skate today (Friday), so I would say he could still possibly play (on Saturday) But with a 12 o’clock game, no real opportunity to test it in a morning skate…..would make it difficult.”
Not ideal. AND NOW this morning another HUGE surprise. The Bruins top goalie and Vezina nominee Tuukka Rask has opted out of the remainder of the playoffs for personal/family reasons. This statement appeared on the Bruins website this morning.
“I want to be with my teammates competing, but at this moment there are things more important than hockey in my life, and that is being with my family,” Rask said in a statement. “I want to thank the Bruins and my teammates for their support and wish them success.”
The hits just keep on coming. You can certainly question the timing of the decision, and even perhaps scrutinize Rask’s desire to play, after his media comments Friday about “the non-playoff atmosphere”. It comes at the worst possible time with the Bruins in a dog fight with a very good Hurricanes team and fighting for a return to the Stanley Cup Finals. It is 2020, and these are unusual times though, and you have to respect a players decision to put family first in what has to be challenging times. It is what it is, and it is the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Next man up. Fortunately for the Bruins, that next man is Jaroslav Halak, who along with Rask held the best team GAA this season in the NHL. Obviously replacing Rask is impossible, but with Halak the step down is small and the Bruins should be able to be at ease between the pipes. He chance for Halak to step up and cease this opportunity right now in game 3.
Outside of the goalie situation , coach cassidy indicated there would be other changes, both on defence and offence, regardless if Pastrnak can go or not. Expect Connor Clifton to slot in Jeremy Lauzons spot in the 3rd D pairing to add some jump over grit. Where to moves will come up front is anybodies guess with so many young (albeit unproven) forwards in the bubble. I would like to see Jack Studnicka get his chance as he can fill in on both the top and 3rd line with his skill set (please leave the 2nd line alone!). Kuhlman brings more experience and pose, but the Bruins may need a different look, especially if Pasta is a no go.
So what was already going to be a fantastic start to the hockey weekend just got WAY more intriguing. Get your popcorn ready and your lucky jersey. LETS GO BRUINS!