After watching Tuukka Rask every single game since he became the full-time starter for the Bruins during the 2012-2013 lockout season, I’ve come to the conclusion that not only is Rask the most overrated net minder in the NHL by far, he is not even good enough to win the Bruins a Stanley Cup. While this statement may seem absurd on the surface, the more you delve into his playing style and track record its easy to see.
For starters Tuukka is frail, not just physically but mentally as well. Over the past three seasons Tuukka has made 70, 64, and 65 starts and each of those seasons he has faded in March and April, and two of those years it cost his team a playoff spot. Most notably in the 2015-2016 season when he posted a .874 save percentage and a 3.48 goals allowed average, and didn’t even start the final game of the season at home against Ottawa because he had stomach pain. Really the flu is gonna keep you out of the biggest game of the season, I don’t care how you slice it that’s a really weak look.
It’s not a coincidence that the one year Rask won the Vezina he only started 58 games. He can’t go over 60 games or he turns into a shell of himself. Along with the fact that he can’t start on back to back nights due to fatigue, and a lot of the times the Bruins just end up conceding games to rest Rask. If you’re a championship caliber goalie you start every single time your team needs you no matter if your sick or tired. Tuukka doesn’t.
In sports especially hockey it doesn’t matter if you have the best team, or the best record. All you have to do is make the playoffs and you have a chance if your goalie gets hot. Unless you’re the Bruins, because Tuukka is incapable of carrying his team. Why Rask is considered a top ten goalie in the NHL? Well its quite simple on top of the fact that he will get worn down in a deep playoff run ( as he did when he let up two goals in 17 seconds to the Blackhawk’s in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals) he doesn’t have that it factor that goalies like Murray, Quick, and Crawford have displayed over the past couple seasons.
Last year Tuukka showed the world why he is overrated when he allowed Craig “Average” Anderson to outplay him. In that series the Bruins lost three overtime games to the Senators, and Game 6 was all on Rask. How do you allow your team to lose those games if your clutch? You don’t period end of story. It doesn’t matter if you face one or one hundred shots you stop them because that’s what elite goalies do, win games that their team doesn’t deserve to win. Instead Rask gave up one of the worst goals I’ve ever seen to send the Bruins home once again empty-handed.
Tuukka is a conservative systematic goalie, who doesn’t make his defense better. If you take a closer look he actually makes them worse, at least offensively. Rask loves to stay back in his crease track the puck and play the angles. All in all that’s what you want your goalie to do. But that isn’t gonna win a Stanley Cup. On top of that Rask isn’t that good at reading the shooters release.
How many times did Rask get beat both high short side, and high glove side last year? I can remember at least 15 of the top of my head, for a goalie that loves his angles he gets beat way to often. One that is embedded in my memory is when Tuukka Rask got beat by a Jonathan Drouin slapper from the left circle, in an eventual 6-3 loss in late March. The reason this should stick out to you is because at the time the Bruins were not a lock for the playoffs and that was a crucial game. Rask had a clean look at it and yet got beat under his left arm.
This is the exact reason Rask is a liability because allowing goals like that shakes your defencemen confidence. Next time they won’t pinch down the wall or skate the puck through the neutral zone because in the back of their heads they know Rask won’t bail them out.
Julian’s system made Rask a Vezina candidate and without it last year he ranked 23rd in the NHL in save percentage, and was the reason the Bruins season ended the way it did.
It’s clear that the focus in Bean town right now is to develop the young talent and allowed them to mature. Along with that comes mistakes and Rask isn’t good enough to cover them up, and could potentially shake the confidence of Carlo, or McCavoy. If the Bruins want to win a Cup in the near future they need to move on from Tuukka.
While two U’s and two K’s may equal two points, it has led to zero titles and will continue to do so.