Sean McDonough had the call of Friday’s Black Friday matinee between the Bruins and Rangers on ABC, and he had a fairly notable update to share.
McDonough revealed during the broadcast that he talked to Tuukka Rask on Thursday, and that Rask told him he hopes to return to playing in early January, and that he hopes it’s with the Bruins. He added that Rask told him he will be ramping up to skating five times a week beginning next week.
Rask has been skating and working out at Warrior Ice Arena as he works his way back from offseason hip surgery, using the Bruins’ facility and working with some staff. He has not signed a contract yet and remains a free agent.
Rask told The Greg Hill Show in August that he was aiming for Christmas or early January for a return, which was about a month earlier than initial reports on his timeline. There hadn’t really been any update on his timeline recently, but his comments to McDonough suggest he has remained on the same track he believed he was on in August.
Rask saying he still hopes his return will be with the Bruins is not surprising, as that’s what he has said all along, but it’s worth noting that it does come on the heels of a report that Rask might be willing to consider offers from other teams.
It seems like he would only consider those offers if the Bruins decide they don’t want him back. The Bruins have said all along that the door is open for Rask to return, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will definitely re-sign him when the time comes to make a decision.
The Bruins have gotten below-average goaltending on the whole from the tandem of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman. If that were to remain the case, bringing back Rask would seem like a no-brainer, even though it would create some complications in terms of making sure everyone is playing enough. They could choose to send Swayman down to Providence, as he doesn’t need to go through waivers.
The decision could become a little tougher if Swayman and Ullmark pick up their play over the next few weeks, or if Swayman is playing well and Ullmark is still struggling. The Bruins are limited in what they can do with Ullmark given his contract.