(Photo Credits: Claus Andersen/Getty Images North America)
By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88
The countdown is on, the new season is thisclose to starting and familiar faces that embody the Boston Bruins team are more than ready to hit the ice with fresh legs. With the NHL European Media Tour under their belt, a few of the Bruins players are currently in Chicago attending the 2019 NHL/NHLPA North American Player Media Tour. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and defenseman Torey Krug are this year’s attendees where they partook in a day filled with photos, videos and interviews:
The annual event takes place before the start of each season and features many players that represent their respected teams. It’s also an opportunity for those participating to be exposed to the national media and offers a chance to meet other elite players. From past events, the best of the best are invited to the Media Tour and this year, two of the Bruins’ best were invited. Both Krug and Rask are coming off a tough Stanley Cup Series that saw the team fall one-short shy of winning the cup. The loss still resonates with many on the team and will undoubtedly serve as the push they’ll need this new season. For Torey Krug, (who will be one of the top defenseman in the market when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer) this last season “was big for me and my development and my growth. I feel like I’m just hitting my prime.”
Krug ended his regular season with a career-high of 47 assists in 64 games played. He also garnered 53 points-his second best of his career. Last season he ended with 59 points. Last postseason, the 28-year-old had 18 points with 16 assists and netted two goals during the Playoff run.
32-year-old Tuukka Rask is coming off of having one of his best seasons, even earning top marks in the NHL Network’s Top Players list, coming in at number five on the top goalie rankings. Rask also landed on number 44 on the the top 50 players list. He ended his regular season with a 27-13-5 record with a 2.48 goals-against-average and a .912 save percentage. Postseason, the Bruins goaltender was stellar, boasting an average of .934 saving-percentage with a 2.02 goals-against-average in 24 games.
As NHL Network analyst Darren Pang noted on Rask:
“I think every year he gets better…He seems to be under the heat so often and the criticism comes at him, but I watch Tuukka Rask and [he’s] fundamentally good, his demeanor is calm, he makes glove saves now where he just makes it look easy. Pucks coming into his body and he doesn’t even go down…He’s got really nice patience in the net.”
Much like Krug and the rest of the team, the Game Seven loss still stings a bit. In speaking with WEEI’s Matt Kalman, Rask reflected on last season and looking ahead :
“I don’t think you ever get over that, still getting flashbacks. But you know you got to realize it’s only sports, and it is what it is…I think the mental aspect is the biggest thing, especially if it’s a disappointing loss like that. You have to just kind of unwind and try to forget about hockey as much as you can. But then again you only have two ½, three months until the next season starts and you’ve got to take a month for your body to recover.”
“But I think mentally, it’s just such a grind, hockey season, you know you play 82 games plus 25 possibly, so mentally it’s very draining. And the fresher mentally you can be, the better off you are I think.”
September 12th marks the start of Training Camp and with Rask and Krug going through the media gauntlet during the Player’s Tour, here’s hoping the trip to the windy city helps them unwind as they return to face the grueling 82-game schedule.