In this edition of Boston Bruins News & Rumors, goaltender Tuukka Rask was spotted on the ice in full gear on Monday. Meanwhile, defenceman Derek Forbort was called out by head coach Bruce Cassidy to the media after an abysmal performance against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. In other news, Nick Foligno is closing in on a return as he was able to re join his team for practice on Friday. Last but not least, the Bruins are considering moving Jack Studnicka to the wing as they are beginning to get healthier.
Rask Continuing to Progress in Recovery
When the Bruins signed Linus Ullmark to a four-year, $20 million deal this offseason, they insisted it didn’t rule out a potential Rask return. The 34-year-old goaltender remains an unrestricted free agent as he is continuing to recover from offseason hip surgery. On Monday, he was spotted skating with a team staff member prior to the Bruins practice.
This is fantastic news for Bruins fans, as Rask seemed unsure about whether or not he wanted to continue his playing career at one point. He did always say however that if he were to return, he would play for no team other than the Bruins. If he is able to return and is the same goalie as he was before his surgery, this team could very well turn into a Stanley Cup contender once again.
Cassidy Reams Out Forbort
Forbort is just nine games into his tenure with the Bruins after signing a three-year, $9 million deal this offseason. To give him that type of term, the organization had to have had high thoughts on him. So far, however, he has not been able to be the player they were expecting, and instead is getting on his head coach’s nerves.
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“The entry was just soft in the middle of the ice. I mean, one hand on the stick?” Cassidy said, describing a questionable decision made by Forbort. “You just can’t do that. You gotta be hard in those areas. A lot of talent on the other side – and any team you play against – you can’t clear pucks with one hand on your stick. That’s on us.”
It is very rare to hear a head coach single out a player to the media, but Cassidy wasn’t done there either, as he continued to voice his displeasure with Forbort.
“100 percent (he needs to be harder to go against),” Cassidy said. “That’s what he’s here for, right? He’s here to be a hard defender and be physical and make a good first pass. On that one, he just has to be harder.”
Clearly, it hasn’t been a great start to his Bruins career, though he has plenty of time to turn things around. For the time being however, he is very much in Cassidy’s doghouse.
Foligno Nearing Return
Foligno is another player who joined the Bruins this offseason, as he signed a two-year, $7.6 million deal this summer. Unfortunately it hasn’t been the start he was hoping for, as he has been limited to just two games due to an upper-body injury, which caused him to be placed on the injured reserve. Thankfully it sounds as though he is very close to returning.
Foligno is listed as unlikely for Tuesday nights contest versus the Ottawa Senators, but is expected back on Thursday versus the red-hot Edmonton Oilers. He will likely begin on the team’s third line, but could be placed into the top six shortly after depending on his play. In his only two games this season he was able to record a lone assist.
Studnicka May Be Moving to the Wing
With the Bruins slowly beginning to get back to health, the coaching staff is considering moving Studnicka from center to the wing.
“We’re considering it,” Cassidy told reporters regarding moving him in the lineup. “That’s what we looked at today in practice. We’ll make a decision [on Tuesday] morning. That line, offensively, has had some looks, hasn’t finished. Maybe a different flavour there and [Curtis Lazar] back where he started [on the fourth line].
“I think [Karson Kuhlman] has done a nice job, what we’ve asked, on that line. But sometimes a different type of player may help the line get going.”
It has been a tumultuous 2021-22 season early on for Studnicka. Many expected him to start the season as the teams second line center in hopes of replacing David Krejci, but he was instead assigned to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League. Due to the previously mentioned injuries with the big club, he was called back up, but has notched just one assist in three games so far. Hopefully this move can get him going, as the skill level is clearly there.
Up Next for the Bruins
The Bruins will look to rebound from a 5-2 loss to the Maple Leafs on Saturday night with a game on Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators. They then play the Oilers two nights later, and finish their week off with a game on Saturday against the New Jersey Devils. Perhaps this will be the week to get them going, as through their first nine games of the season they have an average at best 5-4-0 record.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.