Tim Thomas or Tuukka Rask? The Boston Bruins Have a Goalie Controversy

Ryan PickardCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2009

BOSTON - DECEMBER 02: Tim Thomas #30 (L) and Tuukka Rask #40 (R) of the Boston Bruins leaves the ice after their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the TD Bank Garden on December 2, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Boston Bruins now have what so many other NHL teams would love to have on their team: They have two goalies who could both be the No. 1 starter.

Both Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask have played very well, but this was not expected when training camp started.

For the first time since Thomas arrived in Boston, he was the No. 1 starter from the outset of camp this past training camp. After having won the Vezina the year before and with the departure of backup Manny Fernandez, Thomas was expected to handle most of the goaltending duties this year while his backup Rask played some games but for the most part would learn from Timmy.

Things went pretty much according to plan for the first part of the season until a game against the New Jersey Devils in late November. Thomas, after making a save, appeared to injure his hand and was removed from the game. The Bruins would go on to lose in a shootout as Rask replaced Thomas.

With Timmy injured, Rask got the majority of the starts in net and didn't disappoint. He has started 13 games so far this season with a record of 9-2-2. His goals against average is an impressive 1.97, and he has posted a .932 save percentage. Did I mention this kid is only 22 years old?

Meanwhile Thomas has posted good numbers as well. After getting off to a rough start, Timmy has rebounded and has a 7-7-3 record with a 2.48 goals against average and a .914 save percentage.

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The Bruins faced a similar situation last year. Before the season began the No. 1 spot was being contested between Thomas and Fernandez. Thomas would win the spot but split many starts between himself and Fernandez.

The two combined to give up the fewest goals against in the league, and Thomas won the Vezina Trophy for best goalie. Fernandez did give Thomas a challenge for the No. 1 spot at the beginning of the year, but as the season went along he became injured and couldn't compete with Thomas. This isn't going to happen with Rask.

Rask was the top-ranked European goaltender in the 2005 NHL Draft. After being selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2005 draft, he was traded to the Bruins for Andrew Raycroft. Raycroft had won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year but had since been a disappointment.

This is great for the Bruins since they now have two goalies who could be the No. 1 starter, but there are some big downsides.

Thomas signed a four-year extension in April paying him an average of $5 million a year. Not a lot of teams can afford to have their backup goalie making that much money when he doesn't even play that much.

So what are the Bruins supposed to do? For now it looks like they will split starts 50/50. If one gets the upper hand on the other, then expect that person to start to get more starts.

The way things are going though, it appears that Tuukka Rask will be getting the starts and might just be in the running for the Calder Trophy.

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