Tuukka Rask is one of the most polarizing Bruins players in recent history.
There’s a very large segment of the Bruins fanbase that flat out dislikes Rask, blaming him for every loss and refusing to credit him for any win.
Why? It’s hard to say, really.
Rask has been an elite goalie for the Bruins for the better part of a decade. He won a Vezina trophy. He’s fourth in franchise history with 200 wins.
He’s not a malcontent. He doesn’t criticize the fans, or throw his teammates under the bus on a regular basis.
So what’s the deal?
Some fans have hilariously placed the blame for the 2013 Cup Final loss on Rask, and have never forgotten it.
Most just don’t like his contract, arguing that $7 million is too much to pay for a goalie (it isn’t).
Many have blamed the Bruins’ recent shortcomings solely on Rask, refusing to acknowledge that many other factors contributed to the failures.
Rask has become even more of a lightning rod this season, mainly due to his 2017 struggles.
His save percentage since January 1st has been below .900, which is bad. His GAA has been around 2.8 (note: this previously said 2.5, which was wrong due to bad data), which cheap jerseys nhl is also bad.
There’s no denying that Rask is in a bit of a funk, but the anti-Rask crowd rarely acknowledge that he’s also likely been playing at far less than 100%.
Rask had leg issues going into the season, was nearly ridden into the ground in the first three months of the year, then “popped his groin in February.” But it’s not “yeah, he may be hurt, so it makes sense that he’s not doing great.” It’s “see? he sucks!”
The Take-O-Meter went into overdrive over the past week, when everything was Rask’s fault. With baseball yet to really start, the Celtics cruising along and the Patriots in the offseason doldrums, the Rask takes should burn up the sports talk radio airwaves tomorrow.
However, the anti-Rask takes are, largely, bogus and bad.
I asked people on Twitter to help me collect the best ones, and will discuss and rate their level of trashitude here. One trash can is a kind of bad take, while five trash cans means your take should be Tweeted unironically under the heading “MY COLUMN.”
“He doesn’t care”
This is truly a terrible take. It’s completely baseless, and is a cop out in that the Taker knows that it can’t be disproven because it’s 100% opinion (and a bad one, at that).
The impetus for this is dubious, at best. Remember: prior to becoming a regular NHLer, Rask was most famous for throwing a milk crate on the ice in anger after a regular season loss. He often sets record-breaking times doing the angry sprint off the ice at the final horn.
So why does he not care?
It could be because he’s a very blunt speaker, and never really gets too high or too low. It could be because he’s European, and the “soft Europeans” stereotype is still perpetuated for some reason.
Or it could be because he doesn’t throw the frequent on-ice temper tantrums that Bruins fans came to expect from Tim Thomas. Those are equated with “caring,” instead of being equated with acting like a child.
When you have a player as talented as Karl-Anthony Towns, it’s easy to look ahead.
As the Timberwolves are working currently on an extension with Andrew Wiggins, owner Glen Taylor noted exactly what the franchise has in plan for Towns next summer.
Via The Star Tribune:
Taylor said that the Wolves’ plans involve extending Wiggins now and Karl-Anthony Towns next year.
“We are talking to [Wiggins’] agent right now about extending him out another five years, so we can cheap nba jerseys do that,” Taylor said. “Karl, we won’t do that until next year. Wiggins, we want to sign him to a long-term contract, we want to keep him here, and we’re negotiating with his agent. But we just started that negotiation, and we have quite some time to get that done.”
There was some speculation in recent weeks that Wiggins could be used as a trade chip if the organization had plans to go all-in in pursuit of Kyrie Irving. That does not seem to be an option now at all.
Towns is widely considered to be inevitably one of the elite centers of the future, and he is already there in some respects. It makes the decision easier for the Timberwolves as Towns is also nearly guaranteed a max extension when his time comes next summer.
Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times asked Lightning GM Steve Yzerman how captain Steven Stamkos’ recovery from knee surgery last November has progressed: “GM Steve Yzerman has told me he expects Stamkos to be ready to go for camp and the start of next season.” [Tampa Bay Times]
NBC has announced the games for their national broadcast dates for the Unites States. The Tampa Bay Lightning will be playing six times on national TV. “The Lightning are included in NBC’s exclusive Wednesday Night Rivalry Series as their November 29th tilt against Boston will be shown at 7:30pm on NBCSN.” [Raw Charge]
For the third day in a row, Andrei Vasilevskiy’s mask is a thing of beauty. 17-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning fan Tony Colton passed away Sunday night, after losing his 7-year battle cheap nhl jerseys authentic with cancer. “Colton was a fixture at Amalie Arena in recent seasons, and was an inspiration for Jon Cooper’s ‘Catch for Kids,’ which raised money for pediatric cancer.”
“Tony was a special kid. The courage and bravery he showed every day was truly inspiring.” – Ryan Callahan
“You will be greatly missed. So tough to hear. Tony was a true inspiration and friend. The amount of courage you showed is incredible. Tony, thank you for you being you.” – Tyler Johnson
Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Taylor Raddysh his Team Canada teammates are looking for redemption at the World Junior Championships this winter.
The Buffalo Sabres have signed recently acquired defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to a two year extention. “Beaulieu avoids arbitration by signing this deal, and his cap hit of $2.4 million per season is a raise over the $925,000 number he had last year, likely a sign of faith by the Sabres that they believe that the 24-year old blueliner will play a significant role in their plans over the next few years.”
Q: I really, really fear trading Justise Winslow. I don’t think Kyrie Irving is that much better than Goran Dragic and the upgrade wouldn’t be worth the cost of losing Winslow. That’s not to say Kyrie is overrated because he is certainly a superstar and among the five best scorers in the NBA. I believe that Dragic is better than he gets credit for and I’m also really high on Winslow. I believe he has All-Star potential. He’s 21 with only one real season of play. Shooting is something that can be fixed with proper form and repetition. I believe in Winslow’s work ethic and our coaching staff enough to know that the shot will come. Real quick: Look at Draymond Green, as he is the heart of soul of one of the best teams ever, but he shot 30 percent from 3 this past season. The Cavs almost sagged into the paint when guarding him in the Finals, but he stayed on the floor because his defense, rebounding, playmaking and intangibles which are all things Justise can bring right now. Trading Winslow would be a mistake. — Kevin.
A: And Draymond shot only 28 percent on 3-pointers in the NBA Finals and 35 percent from the floor during that series. So, yes, it can be about more than shooting. In fact, I like what Justise said last week about becoming a better finisher. I believe that it an offensive element that can compensate for an errant jumper. Is baseball, the ultimate prospects are five-tool players. Justise at the moment is a four-tool player, with his individual defense, team defense, playmaking and rebounding. That can take you far in the NBA, in the proper system. Just as Justise is still adjusting to the NBA game, so, too, must the staff come up with a game that accentuates his positives, as the Warriors have done with Draymond.
Q: Somebody from the Mavericks saw something in Gian Clavell. If the Heat had signed him and could somehow develop an extra gear in his first step, he would be better than Tyler Johnson. Time will tell. One slipped away. — William.
A: It might have looked like a case of one that got away, but the Heat clearly had plan when it came their development program, moving instead to Matt Williams Jr. and Derrick Walton Jr. These are intriguing times in the NBA, with the advent of the two-way contract and the $50,000 seeding of contracts wholesale nba jerseys for players to be directly assigned to developmental-league affiliates. You now are moving to a player at a rawer stage of their development, which means a far more disparate view of what eventually can emerge. It will be fascinating to see how such seed money will pay off across the league.
Q: Don’t you find it ironic that the last two NBA collective bargaining agreements were put in place to create more parity in the league, yet in realty it has done the exact opposite? I don’t think a weapons race is parity. — Stuart.
A: Which why the Cavaliers has practically become a petri dish for the future of super teams, and whether such chemistry can endure. For all the Warriors accomplished with Kevin Durant jumping aboard, it has only been one year with that mix. It will be interesting to see what will happen with Klay Thompson when he hits free agency in the 2019 offseason. Or, for that matter, how the James Harden-Chris Paul chemistry plays out in Houston, or what the injection of Gordon Hayward into Boston’s rotation does for the Celtics. In many ways, we’re still in the experimental phase with super teams, with even the Heat’s Big Three limited to two titles.
NASHVILLE — It was more than two hours after the triumphant Pittsburgh Penguins began celebrating on the Bridgestone Arena ice. In the Penguins’ dressing room that looked like a tornado had just blown through, Sidney Crosby was having almost a private moment with his mother, Trina.
The Penguins captain was still in his hockey pants and stockings, his skates at least replaced by sandals. Cradling hockey’s grandest prize for the third time in his career, he was wearing a Stanley Cup champions T-shirt, a ball cap bearing a similar message and a fatigued grin of complete satisfaction.
Countless beer cans and champagne bottles scattered on tables and the floor around them, with players and families milling noisily about, Crosby leaned close to his mother, looked her in the eye, exchanged a smile and said nothing at all.
Sometimes, silence is profoundly louder than words.
In a room across the hall sat the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to Crosby for the second straight year as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It looked almost lonely, its only company four empty beer cans while a computer monitor above cycled through the logos of 30 NHL teams.
Make no mistake, Crosby is fiercely proud of having repeated as winner of the trophy. Only Philadelphia Flyers goalie Bernie Parent, in 1974 and 1975, and Penguins legend and co-owner Mario Lemieux, in 1991 and 1992, have won it consecutively since it was introduced in 1965.
But it’s the Stanley Cup — the pursuit of it, the capture of it — that fuels Crosby.
In the midst of the madness, I found a private moment to speak with the Penguins captain about late Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Béliveau. Le Gros Bill, one of the greatest players and ambassadors hockey has known, won 10 Stanley Cup titles with the Canadiens from 1956-71, his second five as captain.
Crosby’s father, Troy, adored the Canadiens earlier in his life and was selected by Montreal as a goalie in the 1984 NHL Draft (No. 240), though he never played in the NHL.
Clearly, Sidney Crosby also admires and respects Béliveau for his play on the ice and his exemplary life off it.
“There’s still a big part of Jean Béliveau in my heart,” he said, emotion in his voice.
In a doorway across the hall, the Conn Smythe behind them, Crosby and his father squeezed tight for a photo with the Stanley Cup that still was in the player’s grasp.
On the ice two hours earlier, Troy Crosby tried to find the words for a father who had just seen his son write another remarkable chapter in his life and that of the only team for which he’s played.
“It doesn’t get old. It’s awesome,” he said, watching his son try to navigate a rink packed with players, coaches, management, families and media.
“I’ve seen Sid grow as a person and a player. I’ve seen him mature into a great leader. They’re all great,” Troy Crosby said, unwilling to rank the three victories. “There’s a little gap there after the first one (in 2009) with injuries and things, so it’s nice for him to come back and win again.
“He’s a competitor and a winner, that’s all. He always was, so what we’ve seen this series isn’t anything new to me.”
Winning the Cup isn’t anything new to Crosby; he’s done it three times in his 12 NHL seasons. But across the rink, beaming, was Penguins assistant Jacques Martin, who waited 30 years in professional hockey to win his first Stanley Cup championship last season. Now he’s won two in a span of 12 months.
“This one’s definitely sweeter,” Martin said. “When you look at our team this year, the injuries we had to go through, the character, the number of players who played hurt, it was outstanding. It was a difficult road when you look at the teams that cheap nhl jerseys we had to play — Columbus, fourth overall, played really well, then Washington was the No. 1 team overall and it takes us seven games against them. Then Ottawa, who played extremely well, and then Nashville. It was a difficult path but one that was very rewarding. The guys are really happy with the result. It just shows the character of our team.”
A career hockey man hugely respected for his teaching, Martin liberally spread the credit for the Penguins’ victory.
“It’s a lot of credit to the organization,” he said. “The acquisitions we made at the [NHL Trade Deadline] were key as is the leadership we have on this team. It’s one of the best leaderships I’ve been associated with.
“Our coaching staff has great chemistry, we work really well together. We bring different dimensions and I think that (coach) Mike Sullivan has done an outstanding job managing the players, getting the best out of our star players as well as some of our young kids.”
Though Penguins goalie Matt Murray will get the lion’s share of credit for his goaltending down the playoff stretch, his shutout of the Nashville Predators in Game 6 a bold exclamation mark, Martin pointed to Marc-André Fleury as a tremendously valuable member of the Penguins.
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to both of our goaltenders, this year it was really a team effort,” he said. “Marc-André really was a key cog in our first two series, allowing us to continue, then Matt came back in the third series and took it from there. To me it speaks highly of the people we have on this team.”
The Penguins partied deep into the wee hours, scheduling their charter back to Pittsburgh shortly before noon. The Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy would fly with them, a parade in the works, and the Cup will spend the summer traveling far and wide. Martin will again bring it to his hockey school outside of Montreal, and Crosby surely will celebrate for the second consecutive summer in his hometown of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia.
But those are plans for future celebrations. For now, it was time to enjoy what they had just accomplished.
The last I saw Crosby early Monday morning, going on three hours after the Penguins successfully defended their championship, he was still in his hockey pants. And as captain, in a labyrinth of celebration, he unquestionably was custodian of and tour guide for the Stanley Cup, anyone who took it off his hands making sure they returned it.