The Boston Bruins' 2019-20 season ended sooner than many expected, after the team lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Tampa Bay Lightning. With Stanley Cup hopes and the Presidents' Trophy in hand, the stoppage from the coronavirus pandemic and missing key pieces of their team resulted in an early exit for the defending conference champions.
One of those missing pieces at the end of the season was goaltender Tuukka Rask, who made the decision to leave the playoff bubble due to personal reasons and a family matter.
Rumors of what Rask's future would look like with the team swirled, but coach Bruce Cassidy says the team is "full steam ahead" with No. 40 in net.
"I think everything that happened in the bubble has been addressed, dealt with. We're moving on, getting ready to win next year. That includes our goaltender."
Cassidy said from his perspective, Rask is ready to be back at work and ready to win.
"I think Tuukka, he can speak for himself. But I think he just wants to get back in the net and play hockey and play well and give us a chance to win. Probably nobody more excited on our team to [be] getting back in there," Boston's coach said. "I would assume that Tuukka would sort of say, 'Hey, I'm still the goalie I was last year and I'm ready to go. Family's good, I'm good. Everyone's in a good place. Let's play hockey.'"
Rask made his exit on August 15 and the role between the pipes fell to goalie Jaroslav Halak from the first round on.
The Bruins beat the Carolina Hurricanes in five games in round one, before losing in the same number of games to the eventual champion Lightning in the second round.
Last season, Rask was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy for best goalie in the league, and lead the NHL with a 2.12 goals-against average. In 41 games he went 26-8-6 with a .929 save percentage.