Tukka Rask, a goaltender for the Boston Bruins, took another brave step in the race for Caveman (and Cavewoman) equality. Rask, whose Cavelandic name can be traced back to the earliest settlers of the Americas, became the first Caveperson to play in an NHL game last night. It is also believed to be the first time a Caveperson has competed in professional sports (unless you count John Kruk). In his debut, Rask stopped 30 shots en route to his first NHL win, although it should be noted that Maple Leaf shots are easier to stop than the average shot.
Things have not always been so easy for Rask. In June 2006, the Maple Leafs traded Rask to Boston for Andrew Raycroft. Many analysts believe that the Leafs were in search of a goaltender who could step in and take the starting role immediately, but accusations of Caveism directed at Rask were abound.
"It was during the biggest midsummer party in Cavelandia," Rask said in a recent interview. "It was 2 a.m. and [Leafs GM John Ferguson] was drunk off his ass, so you can imagine how I felt when he called me. Next day after I had sobered up, I knew what had really happened. It was blatant Caveism. They traded me because of my heritage."
Rask and other Cavepersons like him have had dozens of experiences that mirror Rask's time with the Maple Leafs. Although political correctness, the 1988 Human-Caveperson Accords and many other factors have contributed to a great reduction in Caveism during recent times, Caveism still exists in many parts of the world.
Caveism wasn't the only issue that Rask faced upon entering the NHL. Ever since the Leafs selected Rask 21st overall in the 2005 NHL Draft, he was expected to live up to enormous expectations on the ice from Leaf fans while also carrying the hopes and dreams of his ilk off the ice. When he was taken with the 21st pick, Rask became the highest drafted Caveperson ever. Previously, no Caveperson had ever been taken in the first four rounds of the draft.
In Massachusetts, a state where marriage between Cavepersons and Humans is recognized by state law, Rask has been given the opportunity to flourish on the ice while not having to worry about what people think of him off the ice. When asked about Rask, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli had nothing but good things to say.
"It doesn't matter who or what he is, Tukka is a hell of a player," Chiarelli said. "Caveperson, human, whatever. It doesn't matter who you are, all that matters is whether or not you can play hockey. If a monkey could captain a power play, it would be given a fair chance. That gives me an idea..."