Saturday, June 08, 2013

Scandinavians Are Supposed to Have Low Blood Pressure, Right?

When a hockey team gives up only two goals in a four-game playoff, the goalie must've done a pretty good job. The stats say few goalies ever have done a better playoff job than Tuukka Rask has this year.

And yet, thinking back on the Bruins' sweep of the Penguins, I am hard pressed to remember occasions where Rask appeared to be hard pressed. He made superior saves, of course, but by and large they were one-offs. A Penguin would, very occasionally, get by the Bruins defense and thwack away at Rask, usually from a fair distance. He'd make the stop, glove it, and that would be that.

Pressure off of faceoffs near Rask? Not much. Coordinated danger from the power play? Might've been some, as I didn't get to see every minute of the series, but it's not coming to mind. Every time I saw the Penguins' offense, it reminded of John Calipari's Kentucky offense on a bad night. Three-point shots and nothing else -- and you don't get extra for shots like that in hockey.

This is not to take anything away from Rask. He's an excellent goalie who's playing at his best and with obvious self-confidence, the most vital ingredient of his profession. I merely wish to suggest that the team in front of him gave him every reason to be confident against the Penguins.


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