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Sports

January 18, 2013

Rask takes torch from Thomas as Bruins return

(Continued)

Coach Claude Julien said he is going to try to use Rask and backup Anton Khudobin in the same way he used Rask as the backup for Thomas, trying to get the No. 1 guy frequent rest.

“Tuukka’s got an opportunity here to take over for Tim,” Julien said. “He certainly has to prove that he can, but I think he’s shown the ability to be a good goaltender in this league. Maybe he doesn’t have the number of games that Tim was getting, but he’ll be given that opportunity as well. And if there’s times where he needs a rest, we’ve got another goaltender that I think can do the job also.”

The Bruins head into the shortened season with nine players who found jobs in Europe during the lockout — among the most in the league — and others who were able to play in the minors. They’re hoping that gives them an edge after a one-week training camp that will leave the unprepared gasping for air.

Among them was Rask, who played in the Czech Republic.

“The start’s going to be important for us, as it is for everybody,” he said. “It’s going to be a challenge mentally and physically, for sure. Luckily we had a lot of guys who played overseas and are in midseason form. So we’ve just got to make sure we know our system, we play the way we can and take care of our bodies because it’s going to be a quick season, but it’s also going to be a grind.”

Defenseman Zdeno Chara said the number of players finding work overseas “showed the willingness of the guys to stay in shape and to sacrifice being with family and friends.”

But, he said, “It’s only an advantage if it works.”

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