Tuukka Rask's comments after the Bruins' Game 2 loss to Carolina are the talk of the town and an invitation for more scrutiny and criticism of a player who already faces plenty of that every postseason.
"Considering I had four months off, so not in prime shape, but trying to get there," Rask said when asked how he felt after the game. "I’m just trying to have fun and play the game. I’m not stressing too much about results and whatnot. It’s August and I haven’t played hockey in forever. Just go out there and have fun and see what happens for me."
"To be honest with you, it doesn’t really feel like playoff hockey," Rask said later in his postgame press conference. "There’s no fans. It’s kind of like you’re playing an exhibition game. Obviously, there are some scrums after the whistle. ... But it’s definitely not a playoff atmosphere."
NESN analyst and former Bruins goalie Andrew Raycroft joined The Greg Hill Show Friday morning and weighed in on the comments from the player he was once traded for. Raycroft said that while he understands Rask's point about these games feeling different than normal playoff games, you just can't say you're "not stressing too much about results" in the middle of a playoff series.
"I understand it is difficult for a guy who’s played in 70 playoff games, 80 playoff games with crowds," Raycroft said "It’s a lot different than it is for the kid (Flyers goalie) Carter Hart who’s played one playoff game, and this is normal for him. Tuukka’s used to having 20,000 people screaming. So I do understand it’s different for him. I do understand there’s probably a lull and it might not feel the same, but you can’t talk about not caring about results and just trying to have fun at this point."
Another issue Raycroft had with Rask's comments is that now Rask's teammates are going to get dragged until this whole discussion and asked about it.
"You just wish he answered it a little bit differently," Raycroft said. "I think he was a little bit aggravated by the question, talking about his hip. You could see him kind of smirk before the answer, almost to the point where, ‘I know you guys aren’t going to like this answer, so I’m going to give it to you’ and no big deal. But I think at the same time, it just puts his teammates in a different situation, the coaches, because now they’re going to have to answer for that today. It went national. Everyone’s talking about it today. Unfortunately he might’ve just chose words that were a little too cavalier."
As for whether the rest of the Bruins will be upset with Rask or view him differently, Raycroft said he doesn't think so since Rask has been here so long and his teammates know who he is. He did say someone still might pull Rask aside for a talk, or at least bring it up in a half-joking, half-serious way that still makes it clear they don't agree.
"He’s been around a long time," Raycroft said. "And we’ve seen guys come through this organization that don’t give effort, don’t fit in with the culture of the Bruins, and they’re out of here very quickly. We could mention the guy who scored the game-winning goal (Dougie Hamilton) as one of those guys. Tuukka’s been here 10 years. The guys love him. The guys believe in him. I would imagine there’s a bit of a conversation. It might even be joking, like, 'How 'bout we not talk about having fun and not worrying about results in the middle of a playoff series?'"