The Boston Bruins will be without Tuukka Rask for the remainder of their 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs run. The goaltender announced Saturday morning that he was opting out of the postseason bubble in Toronto to return home to be with his family.
"I want to be with my teammates competing, but at this moment there are things more important than hockey in my life, and that is being with my family," said Rask in a team release.
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney addressed the media after the decision was made public and said that he wasn't completely surprised by Rask's decision to opt out. Sweeney said that family had been weighing on the goaltender's mind, especially with a newborn at home.
Sweeney mentioned that Rask has a newborn at home, plus two other young children, and that put a mental strain on him.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 15, 2020
After the Bruins' Game 2 loss on Thursday, Rask made comments about the intensity of games in the playoff bubble that caused some to wonder if he was mentally checked out.
"To be honest with you, it doesn't really feel like playoff hockey out there," said Rask following the Bruins' 3-2 defeat to Carolina. "There are no fans, so it's kind of like playing an exhibition game."
Rask's absence has the potential to be a significant one for the Bruins. The 33-year-old is a Vezina finalist this season after posting a .929 save percentage in 41 games for the Presidents' Trophy-winning Bruins. He was also a major factor in Boston's run to the Stanley Cup Final last season, posting a .934 save percentage and two shutouts in 24 postseason games.
Halak has been one of the better backup goaltenders in the league over the past few seasons. This year, Rask and Halak combined to win the Jennings Trophy as the goaltending tandem that allowed the fewest goals in the NHL.