April 9, 2012

Rask pleased after first practice since injury

By Jesse Connolly

WILMINGTON – For the first time since suffering an abdominal injury on March 3, Tuukka Rask participated in his first full-squad with the Bruins on Monday morning. 

Tuukka Rask finished the regular season with an 11-8-3 record and 2.05 goals-against average. (Getty)

The netminder skated before the session began before sticking around and getting in some work that he’s long been looking forward to.

“It’s not easy, obviously,” Rask said of being sidelined. “It’s been a tough five weeks. To stay out and not be able to go out with the guys and go on the road and stuff, it’s tough to not be pushing it too much.”

The 25-year-old goaltender was pleased with how he felt facing shots for the first time since going down in a game against the Islanders over a month ago, but he certainly recognizes that overdoing it in his first day back would’ve been foolish.

“You don’t want to go out there and hurt it again, obviously,” said Rask. “It’s the first practice. I practiced everything I wanted to, so it was a good day.”

Above all else, Rask is just glad that the layoff is over and his return to the Bruins’ lineup – which likely won’t come until after Boston opens their playoff series with the Capitals – is imminent.

“I’ve had plenty of time to do different exercises, for sure,” said Rask. “It’s not too much you can do because you’re not skating. You’re trying to keep your head in it, knowing you’re going to be back but also it’s just about getting better and making that day closer when you can come back.”

Boychuk progressing, McQuaid ‘up in the air’

Much like Rask, Johnny Boychuk skated before practice got underway and took part in drills for the entirety of the session.

Coach Claude Julien said the defenseman is day-to-day, but sounded hopeful he’ll be ready for Thursday’s series opener against Washington.

Adam McQuaid, meanwhile, who lasted only a period-plus in his return from the apparent head injury he suffered on a hit from – ironically enough – Capitals forward Jason Chimera, remains a bit of a mystery.

“His situation is up in the air,” coach Claude Julien said. “It could be resolved soon or later and right now, as I told you guys the other day, we’re just being cautious. He’s day-to-day and cautious is the approach we’ve taken.”

Julien didn’t budge when asked if the team was treating McQuaid’s injury as a concussion.

“Well, listen guys, Peter (Chiarelli) addressed that yesterday and every day we keep going back to the same guys,” the coach said. “It’s day-to-day, and it’s playoff time, and it’s day-to-day so that’s all I’m going to say about it. It’s day-to-day. It’s upper body if you really want to ask the question. It’s upper body.”