By: Maria From Watertown | Follow Me On Twitter @mariaofh2otown
The NHL and the PA have presumably agreed to move forward with completing the 2019-2020 so that a 2020 Stanley Cup Champion can be crowned. Obviously, a good number of logistics will need to be worked out, but the vote by the NHLPA is a significant step in the right direction. For the Boston Bruins, the motivation should be fierce to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals again, if not to avenge the disappointing finish to the 2019 Cup Finals, but perhaps more importantly, to cement the legacy of a number of the core veteran players on the team, particularly Tuukka Rask. While Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Brad Marchand have seemingly secured their places in Boston Bruins history as members of a team that brought the Stanley Cup back to Boston after 39 years, Tuukka’s lasting legacy may hinge on whether he can “carry” the Bruins to a Stanley Cup before he hangs up his goalie skates.
Once Tuukka took over as the Bruins number one franchise goalie, fairly or unfairly, he became a lightning rod for criticism by Bruins fans. Many held Tuukka responsible for the game 7 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Cup finals, as well as the two-minute meltdown in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals against the Blackhawks and we all know how that ended.
Adding fuel to this fire, Tuukka did not play in the Bruins final regular-season game on April 11, 2016, due to a stomach bug. The Bruins ultimately lost that game, and it cost that team an opportunity for a playoff spot.
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) April 12, 2016
There is no arguing that Tuukka is an elite goalie in the NHL. Tuukka currently leads the league with a 2.12 GAA; he is second in the league with a .929 SV%. Tuukka’s career stats are noteworthy as well – 2.26 GGA and 9.22 SV%. In 2019, Tuukka became the winningest goalie in Bruin’s history.
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) February 3, 2019
Why let these statistics get in the way of those who consistently lay blame at the feet of Tuukka when the Bruins have faltered in big moments. Last time I checked, there are always 5 skaters and a goalie out on the ice most of the time.
Much has been made over the years about the contract Tuukka signed in 2013 (8-year extension at $7 million per year), with fans and some in the media criticizing either the term, the money, or both. Ask Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers fans how they feel about the contracts for their franchise goalies.
Whether Tuukka hears this noise or not, the only way he will likely silence these critics and cement his legacy as a Boston Bruin is to lead the Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship. With only one year remaining on his current contract, the window is getting smaller. If Tuukka can accomplish what to date has eluded him and become the franchise goalie who brings another Stanley Cup to Boston, he will most certainly be talked about in the same conversations as Tiny Thompson, Eddie Johnston, Gerry Cheevers, and Tim Thomas. Legacy accomplished