Is Tuukka Rask ready to be the Boston Bruins starting goaltender?

It’s officially Tuukka’s team–for now, anyways.

The Boston Bruins re-signed Tuukka Rask to a one-year, $3.5 million deal making him, officially, the team’s starting goaltender for the 2012-13 season. Rask, a restricted free agent, gets a significant raise from last season’s $1.5 million salary.

It’s a curious agreement, at first glance. Rask has been aptly-named the goaltender of the future for the Bruins since he was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Andrew Raycroft back on June 24, 2006. The once-highly touted prospect has had to deal with Tim Thomas’ brilliance in net as well as injuries over the past two seasons. Now that he’s healthy and Thomas is out of the picture, it seems as if the starter’s role is Rask’s to lose.

So, why the short-term deal?

Defining Tim Thomas’ legacy with the Boston Bruins

I didn’t want to write about Tim Thomas today. Or yesterday. Or even tomorrow.

But when Peter Chiarelli confirmed today that Thomas’ agent approached him in the beginning of May suggesting that the Bruins goaltender was considering sitting out the 2012-13 season, something had to be said.

Just a year ago, Thomas was the biggest story in hockey–maybe even one of the biggest stories in sports. He capped off an unbelievable 2010-11 season by winning the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe and the Vezina Trophy, all within a week of one another. Thomas was on top of the hockey world, and why not? The 38-year old, Michigan native had reached what would be the pinnacle of his career.

Only one place to go from there, you know.

Five free agent forwards that the Boston Bruins should target

The Boston Bruins’ breakup day came approximately six weeks earlier than it did the season before. During the day’s interviews and meetings, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli indicated that while he didn’t foresee any major changes, he would like to “add some pieces.” The Bruins will need bottom-six players with one or two to have the potential to move into the top-six group, if necessary. With the current situation as is for the Bruins, here’s a look at five free agent forwards that the Bruins should target.

Closing the book on the 2011-12 Boston Bruins

Last year, I drove from Boston to Rhode Island to watch both the Eastern Conference Final and the Stanley Cup Final Game 7s. I figured that if I had the chance to watch my favorite team growing up win a championship, I would want to witness it with my dad, the person who influenced me to fall in love with this crazy sport. Of course, the Bruins won both games and I watched it all in with my dad and younger brother right beside me. Somewhere amongst the celebrations, the hugs and the complete shock, I recall my dad telling me to take everything in that’s happening, because there will never be another run quite like the one we had just saw.

Think about it: a total of 25 games including three Game 7 victories, two series of coming back from a 0-2 deficit and a first round victory that was clinched without scoring any power play goals. The 2010-11 Boston Bruins weren’t just good, they were lucky and every single fan who watched any of those games could have told you that. It was magic.

On Wednesday night, Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Bruins and the Washington Capitals, that same mentality of thinking that the team was special, perhaps invincible, last year in the postseason ended up becoming the worse possible thing for every Bruins’ fan’s psyche.

With six games remaining, some important decisions looming for Claude Julien and the Boston Bruins

It might be safe to say that out of the six Eastern Conference teams still in the hunt for the playoffs, the Boston Bruins have the most difficult schedule of remaining regular season games. The Bruins will first host the 9th seed Washington Capitals, just two points out of playoff contention before heading to New York for back-to-back games against the all-but-eliminated Islanders and a Rangers team which they’re winless against this season. After that, the Bruins will come back home to play the streaking Pittsburgh Penguins, travel to Ottawa to face the team closest to catching them for the Northeast Division lead and close out the season back in Boston against the Buffalo Sabres who are 7-1-2 in their last ten games.

A bit daunting when you think about how inconsistent the Bruins have been at times during the season, eh?

The good news is that the Bruins could potentially clinch a playoff spot in their next game with a win or overtime loss against Washington on Thursday. The bad news is that the division, along with their potential first round opponent, is far from being decided. Pair that with some tough decisions that Boston coach Claude Julien will face regarding starting goaltending and resting key players and you have to think: this will not be an easy two weeks for the Boston Bruins.