After suffering a concussion in practice last week, the Boston goaltender gladly abides by the NHL’s new protocols.

As the potential for horrific, lifelong effects from concussions becomes better understood, most athletes are far more amenable to the cautious approach now being taken by teams’ medical staffs.

It was clear speaking to Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask that he’s happy to abide by the NHL’s new protocols after suffering a concussion when he was run over by rookie winger Andres Bjork in practice a week ago.

“It’s been a good few days,” said Rask, who returned to practice and could be available to play Thursday at home against San Jose. “I skated a little bit (Monday) and (Tuesday) I ramped it up a little more. ”

So does he expect to play Thursday?

“If I feel good, I’m on the roster, then why not?” he said. “I’ve just got to pass that test.”

In contrast to the good news on Rask, center David Krejci (back) remained off the ice. He’s termed day-to-day, but it seems improbable he’ll play Thursday. Defenseman Kevan Miller (right thumb) wore a red (no-contact) jersey in practice, but may be able face the Sharks.

The concussion baseline program in which Rask is involved begins by testing a player when fully healthy in the offseason. He’s asked a series of questions involving logic, reasoning, memory, etc. A comparable test is given post-concussion, and if the score is the same – indicating no loss in mental function – the athlete passes.

If he is still feeling the effects of the brain injury, he will not score as highly as he did on the baseline.

“I like it,” said Rask of the system. “A lot of times you could feel fine, but then you go out there and get a second hit and it’s two steps back. And worst-case scenario, you ruin the rest of your life.

“So I think it’s good that they’re careful even though you feel fine. Like, I felt fine a couple of days after, but there’s no reason to rush it, especially this early in the season. You’ve got to think about life outside of hockey. You don’t want to mess with your brain.”

And don’t get the idea that Rask was not feeling obvious symptoms after the Bjork hit.

“I didn’t lose consciousness or anything, so I think that helps,” he said. “The doctor says generally if you haven’t had too many and it happens at an older age, you tend to bounce back quicker. I turned the corner pretty quickly.

“I was seeing stars there for like 10 seconds, all kinds of lights. (I was) kind of wobbly walking afterwards. The first two days (I was) pretty foggy – minor headaches, sensitive to light and foggy.

“The first night I felt like my body clock was all messed up: I was kind of super tired (during the day) and then at night you’re not tired at all.”

The NHL has concussion spotters at each game and in the league office – qualified observers who have the authority to order a player removed from the game if they spot a troubling blow to the head. That hadn’t happened to many goalies, if any, before Los Angeles King Jonathan Quick was ordered out of a game Monday.

Quick insisted he was fine and was not happy to leave. He returned to the net quickly.

Rask was asked what would happen if a goalie were forced to leave a playoff game – bringing a cold and little-used backup into the game.

“Then, I guess you… just get up and act like nothing happened, if that is possible,” said Rask. “Sometimes it’s not possible. We’ll see if that happens (with concussion enforcement) in the league. The playoff rules tend to be a little bit different.”

RANGERS: New York reached the Eastern Conference semifinals last April, beating the Atlantic Division champion Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. Right now they’re at the bottom of the conference standings with two wins each.

New York, with its fewest points after 10 games since also starting 2-6-2 in the 1962-63 season, has given up 15 goals in the first period and allowed the first goal six times.

“It’s been going on way longer than we wanted it to,” forward Rick Nash said of the Rangers’ struggles. “It’s tough right now. You could say all the cliches you want. We have to stick together and keep it simple.”

Thursday, the winless Arizona Coyotes come to Madison Square Garden in Derek Stepan’s return for the first time since being dealt by New York in the offseason.


BLUE JACKETS 5, SABRES 1: Seth Jones had a goal and an assist as Columbus won at home.

Serge Bobrovsky stopped 34 of 35 shots to lead Columbus (6-3-0) to its fifth win in its last seven games.

Buffalo dropped to 3-6-2 in front of goalie Chad Johnson, who stopped 33 of 38 shots.

BLUES 5, FLAMES 2: Jaden Schwartz and Alex Pietrangelo scored second-period power-play goals and Jake Allen made 23 saves to help St. Louis beat visiting Calgary.

St. Louis has won 3 of 4, losing only to red-hot Las Vegas in overtime.

Calgary had won its first four road games this season. Mikael Backlund scored twice for the Flames.