Joseph Griswold – Anchor Staff
One of the most polarizing figures in all of Boston sports is Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. Throughout his career, Rask has shown periods of absolute dominance and complete disarray. The start to this season has been no different, as the Bruins net-minder has limped through the first month of the National Hockey League season with a 4-4 record and a dismal .901 save percentage.
Rask; however, has never had a true challenger behind him on the bench, until this year. This offseason, the Bruins went out and acquired veteran goaltender Jaroslav Halak. The former New York Islander ranks in the top 10 among active goaltenders in goals-against-average and shutouts. This season, Halak has gotten off to a sweltering start and has led the Bruins to a 5-1-2 record in his eight decisions, boasting a .941 save percentage and two shutouts. It is evident that Halak has been, by far, the superior goalie.
This is not the first time that the Bruins have faced a goalie controversy, it was just last year where young goaltender Anton Khudobin, lead the Bruins on a winning streak and prompted talks of a goalie controversy. However, Khudobin is not a definitive number one goaltender and Rask soon rounded back into form. However, after losing in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals to the Tampa Bay Lightning and a lackluster start, Rask seems to be on thin ice.
The only difference this year is the support of competition from Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, who time and time again last year dismissed any talks of a goalie controversy. This year Cassidy said, “If one separates himself from the other like every other position here then we’ll allow that to evolve.” Thus far, Halak has shown the ability to facilitate competition. Whether or not Halak will be able to continue to play at a high enough level to displace Rask remains to be seen. What is certain is that the Bruins believe that they are a championship caliber team and will do whatever is necessary to compete including bringing the end of Tuukka time in Boston.