If you are a fan of the Boston Bruins and you listen to any analysis of the team on the television or on 98.5 The Sports Hub you can’t help but to hear about this subject. Who should the Goaltender be for the Boston Bruins? Should it be the veteran Tim Thomas the defending Trophy winner or the young upstart rookie Tuukka Rask. I remember watching Tuukka in Providence last year saying this guy will eventually be the goalie of the future and will be a great talent for the Bruins. However I never thought the future would even come close to being right now. I had no problem with Tuukka coming in and playing when Timmy got hurt, and when Timmy was healthy and Rask was still hot I still thought Rask should play until he cooled down. I always said that when Rask cooled down Thomas should get his chance to get his job back and I still think that the starting job should still belong to him.
When you listen to “analysts” discuss this topic you inevitably will hear the term “Tuukka Time” or you will hear of the mistake of giving Thomas a 4 year contract or you will hear that the team should have traded him at the trade deadline because he doesn’t “have it” anymore. Well if you take a good look at the stats you might be surprised at what you might find… By looking at the basic stats you would think that Tuukka is by far the better goalie right now. Tim Thomas 15-16-8 W-L-OTL .916 SV% 2.51 GAA 4 SO Tuukka Rask 14-8-4 W-L-OTL .926% SV% 2.14 GAA 3 SO. If you take a deeper look into the Bruins season you will see that a lot of the goaltenders stats can be a little deceiving. The average Goals scored per goalie Thomas in net 2.23 Rask in net 2.6. Therefore Rask happens to be getting better support which helps the Goalie’s win loss record. Also during a 5 game stretch oct. 29- nov 12 Thomas 8 Goals allowed and only 1 win to show for it. Rask has yet to have a stretch like that when the team was unable to score any goals which helps his stats.
Don’t get me wrong I like Tuukka, I think he will be a great goalie for the Bruins for years to come however I still think that this should be Tim Thomas’ time to shine. I do get more scared as a fan seeing Thomas in a shootout due to his unorthodox style and Tuukka is a better goalie in those situation however I still believe Thomas has played well enough to earn more minutes in this final stretch run. My other concern is the Bruins track record of destroying great goaltender prospects. Do the names Raycroft, and Toivonen ring a bell. Both were considered to be goaltenders with bright futures with the Bruins. Both were phenomenal AHL goalies, and both took over the Bruins starting goaltender job (ironically enough Toivonen took it from Raycroft). What else do these 2 goalies have in common?? They were both traded right after taking the starting job and never reached their full potential. Neither goaltenders are starters on NHL teams (Raycroft is the backup in Vancouver Toivonen just got traded to Chicago and is still in the AHL). Now i know what you are thinking do I honestly think this would be Tuukka’s fate? No i don’t think so however I think he would benefit from being brought along slowly and learning from Thomas.
I just wish that instead of trying to run Timmy out of town we could just enjoy the fact that we have two great goaltenders that can both win big games. There are plenty of teams that would love to have one good goalies and if the Bruins could score goals consistantly we would be discussing how great both goalies have been and the Bruins would be the Stanley Cup contenders that they should be!!