WILMINGTON, Mass. — While the best remedy for whatever was preventing Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask from regaining his fine rookie-year form through the first half of his sophomore season probably was the type of performance he came up with Monday in Toronto, today he was able to get some additional therapy.
The Bruins practiced at Ristuccia Arena today after taking Tuesday off to rest after the longest road trip of the season. And back with the club was goaltending coach Bob Essensa, who typically spends just a couple weeks per month around the team and wasn’t on the Bruins’ 3-0-2 jaunt from Florida to Atlanta to Buffalo to Toronto.
Any supplemental encouragement or criticism Rask needed after his 36-save victory against the Maple Leafs, Essensa was on hand to commiserate with Rask in person rather than by text or phone.
“It helps a lot. We talk about things with Timmy (Thomas) a lot, and that’s another thing. And it’s always you have that extra pair of eyes upstairs who’s looking at your game and looking at you in practice and seeing what you’re doing wrong and what you’re not,” said Rask after practice. “It’s good. He comes here every now and then. Him being here every day would be, maybe, frustrating at times. But it’s good to have a guy like him around you.”
Rask said that it this stage in his career and in the season, most of his work with Essensa goes on above the shoulders than below.
“I think at this level it’s more mental preparation and talking about things,” he said. “Because every goalie in this league is pretty good technically and there’s nothing major you have to work on on that side. Just stay sharp mentally and figure things out mentally is the biggest thing.”
Rask didn’t get this far in his career without tons of faith in himself. However, it doesn’t hurt to have an extra voice with a goaltender’s perspective to pump him up or bring him down now and then.