Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/22/13
BOSTON — Tuukka Rask has made a habit of winning hockey games during his NHL tenure but when it comes to shootouts, he’s far from perfect. The young goaltender doesn’t have an awful record in shootouts, but with the Bruins’ win over the Jets on Monday, he raises his record in the game-ending showdowns to 9-7 for his career. It’s not a very well-kept secret that many hockey purists — players included — aren’t too high on the idea of the shootout, which was brought into the game following the 2004-05 lockout in an attempt to drum up fan interest. Apparently Rask is one of those who wouldn’t mind seeing the shootout sent to the chopping block. “I don’t think nobody enjoys them,” the Bruins goalie said after the game Monday. Then, after quickly rethinking what he had said, Rask changed gears just a little. “I mean, it’s all right. Emotion-wise, you win, it’s great — greatest thing ever — and then you lose, you feel like you lost the Stanley Cup Finals. It’s a roller coaster with the emotions, but it’s great for the fans. “And I like to watch them on TV, too.” The shootout can be particularly tough on the goalies. They are left on an island with some of the game’s best playmakers, snipers and scorers barreling down on them, with seemingly two goals in mind. The first objective, of course, is to score. The second, it would seem in many cases, is to embarrass the goalie in the process. That’s why it’s important for goalies to stay prepared for shootouts, even if they only come around every couple of weeks or so. Rask thinks that it really comes back to simplifying things for the goalie. Like many things in sports, the tendency to overthink a situation can oftentimes end up hurting you. “It doesn’t really matter whether you watch [shootout film] or not,” Rask said. “You just try to stay patient and wait the guy out. I [watched film] in my first year, maybe a little bit more, but now I haven’t done it.” In fact, extra information can sometimes become a detriment. “Yeah, maybe certain guys only have one move, and then you try to cheat on that and blame the goalie coach if it goes in,” Rask said of studying video. “I think it’s better if you just try to wing it.” Rask was out there winging it on Monday, and he made just enough saves to help the B’s come out on top. For one day at least, the shootouts which supposedly nobody likes became the “greatest thing ever.”

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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