By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Bruins Senior Staff Writer
Let’s face it, it takes pretty stubborn jackass not to admit that they were wrong about a long-held opinion that has been disproven to such a degree that they lose any shred of credibility they have left if they refuse to recognize the error of their ways.
And while the words “stubborn” and “jackass” have been associated with my name more times than I would care to admit, I have to come clean when it comes to Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask.
I’m not the only one that has questioned his heart, his head, and his intestinal fortitude at times – anyone who ever questioned his skill clearly doesn’t know which end of a hockey stick you are supposed to hold in your hands – but his performance this postseason has put those questions for me in the distant past.
As for anyone who still holds on to those beliefs? Well, you are just a stubborn jackass.
The only reason that the Bruins have the chance to win a Stanley Cup Final Game 7 in Boston since their inception in 1924, is due to the guy in Black and Gold that sports the number 40 on his back and does most of his work on his knees.
Rask has been unflappable during the B’s run for their first Cup since he watched from the bench in a baseball cap in 2011. Not only has he posted 15 wins in the 23 games that his team has played in the toughest professional championship tournament to win in the eastern hemisphere, but he also has a minuscule goals against average of 1.93, while posting an insane save percentage of .938 this spring.
Even if the Bruins aren’t the team skating around TD Garden with the most cherished trophy in hockey on Wednesday night, it will be hard to convince me that there is anyone more deserving of the Conn Smythe Trophy for the otherworldly performance he has consistently has given night after night when the games matter most.
Twitter stat geek – and gift from the hockey gods for a guy like me who has to remove his shoes when having to count over 10 – @bostonsportsinf’s tweet on Sunday night shortly after the Bruins won Game 6 against the Blues in St. Louis offers the most stunning proof that Rask has coolly and collectively flashed a heartfelt double bird to those of us who long believed that his will would never come close to equaling his talent during his record setting playoff run.
Tuukka Rask in elimination or close-out games in the 2018-19 playoffs
5 games – (5-0)
GAA – 0.80
Save % – .973
Shutouts – 2
On the road
4 games – (4-0)
GAA – 0.75
Save % – .974
Shutouts – 2
Tuukka is getting close to holding all the cards
— Boston Sports Info (@bostonsportsinf) June 10, 2019
Yet, faced with these indisputable facts – and their lying eyes – should the Bruins come up short in Game 7 at TD Garden on Wednesday – or worse yet fall victim to a bad bounce due to the slushy sheet on Causeway Street that beats Rask – they likely will continue to bang the broken drum that I took several swipes at before I no longer could find a reason to swing at it anymore.
While it is true that I may still be a jackass – you don’t have to look too far in your search to find several who will agree with that – even a meathead like me couldn’t claim that Tuukka Rask did the most a goaltender could do to carry his team to a Stanley Cup Championship this spring.
Mea culpa, Mr. Rask. Here’s hoping you get to carry two trophies following Game 7 Wednesday night.