Tuukka Rask to Blame for Bruins Struggles?

By: Mike Grinnell

Follow @MikeGrinnell_ on Twitter

The Bruins are off to a tough start this season with a record of 2-4. With trade rumors surrounding core players and coach Claude Julien on the hot seat, the question is starting to be asked, is Tuukka Rask to blame for the Bruins problems?

No, he isn’t. Plain and simple.

Tuukka Rask is off to a slow start this season, allowing 19 goals at home this season, and 22 in total. The Bruins are 1-3 with Tuukka Rask in net and all signs point to the goalie being at fault for the team’s unsuccessful start, that isn’t the case at all.

“I just think Tuukka has to stop the puck. There’s nothing that’s different, and there may be mistakes, but that’s why you have a goaltender, to stop those.” Julien told reporters after Wednesday nights loss to the Flyers. “we need to be better as a group, from the goaltender on out, and our D’s didn’t close quick. They had a lot of time to make plays, and we were soft in battles, and they were hungrier than we were, and that’s the reality of the situation here. That’s why we didn’t win tonight.”

It doesn’t sound like Coach Julien is 100% behind his goalie after the slow start, but he knows the problem isn’t Tuukka, he knows it’s the defense.

The defense has struggled immensely this season without Dennis Seidenberg, who will be out until Thanksgiving due to back surgery. Don Sweeney put all his eggs in one basket by relying on Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman to see serious ice time this season. Morrow is -3 this season in three games played and Trotman is -2 in only one game.

The Bruins are rolling with Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller has their number 1 D-pairing. Kevan Miller, in no way, shape, or form, should ever be considered a number 1 defensemen. Miller is a great fit here in Boston with his physical play and his all around grit, but Miller will get tourched against most teams first or second lines. Krug and McQuaid are the Bruins second pair. While Krug has limited his defensive mistakes and is slowly making the transition to a top 4 defensemen, Adam McQuaid looked just as Adam McQuaid has looked in years past, slow and lost.

One of the long bright spots on the Bruins defense is Colin Miller. Miller has looked good in the 5 games he’s skated in this season and is started to see it pay off. Miller has averaged over 15 minutes per game this season and has season time on both the power play and penalty kill.

The best move going forward would be to make a move for a defensemen. Adam Larsson of the win-less Columbus Blue Jacket’s could become available. The 22-year-old defensemen is in his 5th year in the NHL and has molded his game into a solid 2-way-defensemen. Some other Dmen who could potentially be available at the deadline due to their contracts being up at the end of the year include, Alex Goligoski of the Dallas Stars, Dustin Byfuglien of the Winnipeg Jets, Keith Yandle of the New York Rangers. If the Rangers are contenders, chances are they will be, I don’t see the rangers parting ways with Yandle until after the season.

The Bruins need to make a move, a move that shouldn’t involve their former Vezina Trophy winner, Tuukka Rask and should involve bolstering up their Defense.

Rask is clearly struggling this season, but is he the problem? No but Is he helping the problem? Also no.

For the best coverage of the NHL and the Boston Bruins Follow @MikeGrinnell_ and check out his blog on ESPNNHRadio.com. Also tune into the ESPN New Hampshire Bruins Pregame Show an hour before game time. 

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