SUN Hockey Pool

NHL notes: Rask says groin injury 'not serious'

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is scored on by Winnipeg Jets' Alexander Burmistrov during the...

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is scored on by Winnipeg Jets' Alexander Burmistrov during the second period of their NHL hockey game in Winnipeg February 17, 2012. (REUTERS)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:21 PM ET

Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is playing down a recurring groin problem, saying his most recent injury isn't severe.

Rask, who has been playing for HC Plzen of the Czech league during the NHL lockout, was pulled from a game Tuesday after one period.

"I slightly pulled my groin, it is not serious," Rask told a Czech TV station. "I had groin problems last year so I took a little rest just for precaution."

Rask injured his groin March 3 and missed the rest of the 2011-12 season.

The 25-year-old has been tabbed as the Bruins' No. 1 goalie with former first-stringer Tim Thomas taking a year off.

Rask has a 1.85 goals-against average in eight games with Plzen.

TORTORELLA WORRIED

New York Rangers coach John Tortorella is worried.

Not about the season being washed out. No, he's concerned his team, which advanced to the Eastern Conference final last season, won't have any momentum when the lockout ends and the puck finally drops.

"To be quite honest, it worries me," Tortorella told the New York Post. "When our guys report to camp in September under normal circumstances, they have a physical and mental edge from preparing for our testing that's extremely important to the way we go about our business as a hockey club.

"I know the guys are trying their best to stay at it, but it worries me that they've lost that mindset."

Only three Rangers are playing during the lockout -- Rick Nash, Carl Hagelin and Ryan McDonagh. The rest of the roster hasn't played since losing to the New Jersey Devils in late May.

KREJCI CLEARS AIR

Boston Bruins forward David Krejci has backed off his recent suggestion that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman treats the players "like animals."

The 26-year-old Czech made the comments during an interview in his native language last week, saying that Bettman is a "shame for the entire hockey world" and thinks the game is all about him.

But Krejci cleared the air with an email to CSNNE.com.

"I regret my recent comments about the lockout which were made flippantly in the locker room after our last game. I did not intend for them to be recorded," Krejci said. "Specifically, I have been treated very well by the Boston Bruins and wish to confirm that my comments should not reflect on my club in any way. I regret any inference to the contrary."

Krejci has been playing for HC Pardubice during the lockout.

SALZBURG LURES CLARKSON

New Jersey Devils forward David Clarkson joined EC Red Bull Salzburg of the Austrian league on Wednesday.

"I'm still a little tired after the long flight, but I'm looking forward to this new chapter in my career and to playing in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga," Clarkson told Redbull.com after arriving in Salzburg.

The 28-year-old forward had 30 goals and 16 assists in 80 games with the Devils last season.

The team signed the Winnipeg Jets defenceman Tobias Enstrom earlier this week.

YAK BACK IN CANADA

Nail Yakupov, the first overall pick in last summer's NHL draft, will play for Russia in the Subway Super Series next month.

Yakupov, drafted first by the Edmonton Oilers but playing for Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik of the KHL during the lockout, will play all six games in the series against Canadian Hockey League players. Four other NHL draft picks, including Tampa Bay Lightning first-rounder Andrei Vasilevski, will play for the Russian squad.

Yakupov played 107 games over two seasons with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL, recording 80 goals and 90 assists.

Seven Russian-born CHL players, led by Buffalo Sabres first-round pick Mikhail Grigorenko, will also take part.

The series gets under way Nov. 5 in Blainville-Boisbriand, Que. Other games will be played in Val d'Or, Que. (Nov. 7), Guelph, Ont. (Nov. 8), Sarnia (Nov. 12), Vancouver (Nov. 14) and Victoria, B.C. (Nov. 15).

BRIEFLY

If the lockout doesn't end Thursday, Phoenix Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata said he would sign with Lada Boleslav of the Czech league, the Arizona Republic reported. Vrbata, 31, had 35 goals and 27 assists in 62 games with Phoenix last season ... Another Coyotes forward, Martin Hanzal, on Wednesday rejoined HC Mountfield in a 3-0 loss to Litvinov in a Czech league game. Hanzal, 25, had eight goals and 26 assists in 64 games with Phoenix in 2011-12 ... A video goal judge in the KHL has been "relieved of his duties for the remainder of the 2012-13 season," the league said Wednesday. The unidentified official incorrectly ruled that at puck crossed the goal line during a game between Amur and Salavat Yulaev ... Anaheim Ducks defenceman Mathieu Carle, who is playing for Dinamo Riga of the KHL during the lockout, was suspended two games after picking up a match penalty Monday. Carle got the match for abuse of officials during the game against Magnitogorsk ... Red Wings general manager Ken Holland was named Detroit's executive of the year. The award, from the Detroit Executives Association, will be presented Nov. 8.


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