WILMINGTON — Tuukka Rask skated in his final practice at Ristuccia Center in preparation for the Bruins game against the Senators at TD Garden Saturday afternoon.
Once that game is finished, Rask will turn his attention to the Sochi Olympics and playing goalie for Team Finland.
Before that, though, in looking back at the Bruins recent play, Rask said he’s heartened by the development of the young defensemen.
“The depth has come [into] play,’’ Rask said. “We’ve needed to get some younger D on the roster and they’ve stepped up really nice, so I think we’re in a good spot.’’
The Bruins return to action Feb. 26 at Buffalo and crunch time really begins March 1, when the team plays 17 games in the first 30 days of the month.
“You’re going in the home stretch there, and March, it’s going to be a crazy month again with so many games,’’ said Rask. “There is always the possibility of injuries and you need some guys to be able to step up and have that depth in your team in case of those injuries. I think it’s good we have this break and guys can get a mental break and heal whatever injuries they might have and be ready for that last stretch.’’
Rask said he’s excited about the Olympics and termed it a win-win situation.
“I’m looking forward to going there,’’ he said. “I’ve heard that despite all the pictures and that it’s not as nice as it should be, I’ve heard it’s good at least for the athletes, so I’m looking forward to it. It’s a great honor, obviously, playing for your country and with your countrymen. It’s something I’ve never done in my adulthood. I was at the World Juniors with the national team so it’s going to be a new experience for me and I’m really looking forward to it.’’
One photo making the rounds on Twitter and websites are the rooms with twin beds and other less-than-posh trimmings for everyone in Sochi but Rask said he wasn’t concerned about it.
“I heard they just put a futon on the end of the bed and that’s it [for taller athletes],’’ said Rask. “What can you do? You’ve just got to deal with it.’’
Rask said hockey players tend to be lower maintenance, so temporary roommates won’t be a problem.
“Hockey guys are pretty low key,’’ said Rask. “We don’t really care if it’s a one-star hotel or a five-star hotel. It doesn’t really matter. It’s going to be different but I think it’s going to be fun. Thank goodness it’s only two weeks and not like a year.’’
Rask said the Stanley Cup run and its associated pressures can help with the competition at the Olympics, particularly in the latter stages.
“In a tournament like that, when you go past the round robin, it’s always a Game 7 type of thing, it’s do or die,’’ he said. “It’s fun but it’s really competitive. I guess the playoffs here help to prepare for that. The best players in the world are competing against each other — you’ve got Russia, the US, Canada, all those great teams.
Then, you’re Finland, you’re not that great and you’re a Finnish goalie and everybody expects you to play really good. So it’s a great challenge. I remember the last time, watching the Vancouver Olympics, it was a great time. It was really good hockey, and I wouldn’t expect anything less this year.’’
In for repairs
Winger Loui Eriksson missed practice because he had a date in the dentist’s chair after taking a high stick to the mouth during the overtime loss in St. Louis Thursday night. Coach Claude Julien expects Eriksson to be in the lineup Saturday and travel to Sochi with the other Bruins competing in the Olympics via charter flight from Newark Sunday along with Julien, who will serve as an associate coach under Mike Babcock with Team Canada . . . Defenseman Adam McQuaid will continue to take treatment on his injured leg during the Olympic break although only for part of the time, as the collective-bargaining agreement dictates, he will be on his own. “He will continue to get the treatments and all that stuff that he needs and hopefully by the time we get back, he’ll be ready to jump in with us, if not then, then very soon.’’ said Julien . . . In a minor league deal announced late Friday afternoon, the Bruins acquired defenseman Blake Parlett from the Blue Jackets for forward Carter Camper. Parlett has played 37 games for the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League and has four goals and 14 assists.