Goalie Tuukka Rask said he broke a finger on his glove hand but it is healing well and he should be ready for Boston’s opener on Aug. 2. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

 

Tuukka Rask, who was seen wearing a splint on the ring and middle fingers of his glove hand on Friday’s Zoom call for Vezina Trophy finalists, revealed Tuesday that he had broken one of his fingers a couple of weeks ago while doing a box-jumping workout.

During left a practice last week and also missed Saturday’s practice for an undisclosed reason, though that was possibly because of something to do with coronavirus testing protocols.

Boston goalie Jaroslav Halak will be ready when needed, especially after Tuukka Rask revealed he has a broken finger. “I haven’t been told anything so I’m open-minded to pretty much anything,” Halak said. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

The goalie who led the Bruins to within one win of the Stanley Cup a year ago has been putting in his regular work the last two days at practice. He said he doesn’t expect it to be a problem, though he didn’t downplay it as much as Coach Bruce Cassidy, who joked it was due to “maybe too much drums.”

“It’s getting better and I’m not worried about it. It’ll be all set once we start playing,” said Rask. “I slammed my finger at the edge of the box and the ligament fractured my finger. It’s a small fracture, nothing major. But like you can imagine, not great to catch a puck with that … it’s one of those things that’ll linger a little bit. It’s been two or three weeks now and it already feels a lot better, so I’m optimistic that, within a week, I’ll have my normal glove on.”

As for backup Jaroslav Halak, he had some issues with his glove hand in Tuesday’s practice. He took a shot that seemed to bother it, then took another that brought him to his knees in pain before he skated to the bench and shattered his stick in anger. He eventually made his way back onto the ice and finished practice. Fortunately for Halak, there were no fractured appendages.

“I’m fine,” said Halak later on Zoom. “We had a goalie session before (practice) and the gloves were a little bit wet and I just got one of those stingers off the palm. Didn’t catch it quite in the pocket, so I just have to work on it.”

Maybe both goalies will be fine, but the presumably minor mishaps that have befallen Rask and Halak underscore how fragile any team’s goaltending situation can be. Throw in the vagaries of coronavirus testing and the protocols surrounding them that have already given the Bruins problems and it’s no surprise Cassidy said the club is leaning toward bringing both Maxime Lagace and Daniel Vladar to Toronto as well.

As for how he plans to use Rask and Halak once the games start, Cassidy is taking a wait-and-see approach.

“Jaro will play in the round robin. We have to get him ready as well as Tuukka. I don’t know how it will play out exactly, but he’ll get in there. We need him ready for the playoffs as well, both of them, and you need to see live action to do that,” said Cassidy. “I think Tuukka understands that part of it. How much and how do we divide it up? That’ll be (decided) when we get closer. Let’s get to Toronto first. Obviously the easiest way sometimes is to split the exhibition game. Is that going to prepare Tuukka the best to start on Sunday? (Aug. 2, the opening round-robin game against Philadelphia.) He has to answer that.

“We trust both our goaltenders. And they have to be honest with us with where they are in their game, how much (work) they need and what they don’t need.”

Halak led the Canadiens to a surprise run to the Eastern Conference Final in 2010, but he hasn’t played a playoff game since 2015. He’s preparing for anything.

“I haven’t been told anything so I’m open-minded to pretty much anything,” said Halak. “It’s going to be unique for everyone. Every team is in the same situation, every goalie and we all have to shift the focus right now from having, three, four months off to dial in again and start playing real games. I think it’s going to be fun, but it’s going to take a few games to get back in a rhythm. Whatever happens, happens. I always say we are here as a team and whether it’s me or Tuuks in nets, we want to win.”

Rask, who said on Friday that he thought he doubted you’d see any goalie play every minute of every game, said on Tuesday each goalie has to make the best of a difficult situation.

“You just try to practice well before that, then when the game happens, you just jump right in it and try to feel good about yourself,” said Rask. “It’ll just be very odd because you’re playing playoff games with no fans and you’re used to playoff games having fans out there and the electricity in the building and you’re feeding off that. Now it’s like going to practice, but you’re playing for your life. So it’s just something not just for goalies that every team has to adapt to quickly, knowing you’ll hear everything the other team is saying or chirping and the coaches yelling. It’ll just be a very different situation. Then again, it’s the same game for the goalie, you’re just trying to stop every puck that’s coming at you. It doesn’t matter if there are fans or not. But it’s definitely going to be odd.”

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