At the end of game one, somewhere after 1:00am eastern time, the Bruins players were conducting their post-game interviews with the media regarding the triple overtime loss they just experienced. There were the obligatory questions and answers regarding how the game went, how the players were feeling, what they needed to do in the next game etc., but one player in particular, the irascible (at times in the past) goaltender for the hometown six answered one question that, well, maybe he should have thought out before speaking.
Although i am unsure as to who asked the question, I can tell you with 100% certainty who answered it, and how. Tuukka was summing up the game in front of his locker when he clearly stated that “We had the game.” This was fine, no issues, but then Rask keeps spewing off at the mouth…”We were up 3-1 in the third, then a terrible turnover leads to a second goal and then a tough bounce leads to the tying goal. We just gave it away.”
WHAT? Did I just hear him correctly? Did the starting goaltender for the Boston Bruins, after a game one loss, a game which went to 3 overtimes, with players exhausted and giving every ounce of themselves, throw a teammate under the proverbial bus? Now, to his defense, the net-minder did not mention any names, but the mere mention of the exact incident is enough to cause consternation among those of us listening to him.
Tuukka is a very good goaltender, and I’m sure he has been playing hockey since he was a young child. So, somewhere along the line I’m almost certain he must have heard from a coach that ice hockey is a team sport. All of the time honored speeches must still linger somewhere in his brain, that you play as a team, you win and lose as a team, and if you have an issue with one of your team mates, you speak to that person in private, that you don’t throw it out in the open for the whole world to hear or read. Having played and coached various team sports (granted none above the high school level). I would never have let my players start blaming each other after a loss. Everyone carried the responsibility, everyone could have done something different that could have affected the outcome of the game or match. And sometimes, even if you played your best, you still lost.
Surely Torey Krug feels terrible about what happened, but their are decisions players make, typically spur of the moment, that are going to have consequences good or bad. Had Torey had a split second longer, he could have looked for a teammate to pass to, or he could have sent the puck along the boards, but time is a valuable thing while skating around and he had to make a quick decision. Torey doesn’t need his ‘tender making him out to be public enemy number one in front of the press.
And while on the subject of laying blame, I have not heard nor read that Tuukka took responsibility for allowing the first goal of the game, a goal that, had he read the “book” on himself, he might have been able to stop with a quicker glove hand. Not once did it come up, and his team mates on the ice and on the bench never once said, “you know, that terrible first goal that went in right over his glove hand really set the tone for the rest of the period.”
It would seem that Tuukka needs to re-learn what is important to him on the ice…primarily that the friends he has on the blue line in front of him, the ones that, on those rare occasions commit a “terrible” turnover, are also the ones that save his bacon, such as his captain did in the closing seconds of game 4 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. A moment where Rask was “terribly” out of position, but no one said a word, just came over to him at the end and congratulated him on the win.