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Tuukka Rask ready for No. 1 duty

Posted by Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff  August 2, 2012 05:10 PM

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Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, back from Finland for the first time since agreeing to a one-year, $3.5 millon contract extension, said Thursday he will return to the Boston net figuring that his good friend and teammate Tim Thomas is gone for good and will not be back to share the workload.

''Well, of course, that's what everyone wants,'' said Rask, speaking in the lobby of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, following an afternoon goodwill visit with some patients. ''You know, he takes a step back and thinks about his situation ... and if he comes back, he comes back. But I just try to do my job as good as I can, like always.''

For the first time in his career, Rask will report to training camp as Boston's presumptive No. 1 tender, likely with Russian Anton Khudobin as his backup. Not having Thomas in the dressing room, his equipment parked at the adjacent locker, will take some getting used to, said Rask.

''I wasn't expecting him to do that, obviously,'' said Rask, asked if he were surprised at Thomas' decision to back away from the game for a while. ''But I really appreciate what he's done and I appreciate his decision to want to be with the family and to take some time off hockey. It really didn't shock me that much, but it's more like I am sad to see him leave because we had a real good connection going on. But I am sure he is happy where he is and gets to spend time with his family.''

Rask, who will begin skating locally next week, acknowledged that many people were surprised that he signed only a one-year contract extension. But he said he felt it was the right deal for him and the club, while maintaining his goal one day to sign a much lengthier deal with the Bruins.

''Sometimes,'' he said, ''you have to roll the dice a bit and see what happens.''

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