After a remarkable 15-year NHL career with the Boston Bruins, Tuukka Rask has reached the end: On Wednesday evening, the longtime Bruins goaltender announced his retirement from hockey after a brief comeback attempt following surgery to repair a torn hip labrum lasted just four games.
Rask, the No. 21 overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft and a member of the Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup-winning team, cited his physical and playing condition post-surgery in choosing to retire. Rask had appeared in just four games this season after signing a one-year contract with the Bruins in January, going 2-2 with a 4.28 goals against average.
"When I made the decision to have surgery on my hip last summer, I did so knowing that the road to recovery would be challenging. I also knew it was something I would have to do if I wanted to give myself a chance to play my best hockey again," read a statement by Rask. "The rehab, the workouts, the practices -- all of it was with the intention of getting back to where I needed to be to help my teammates win games and make another run at a Stanley Cup.
"Over these last few weeks, I've realized that my body is not responding the way it needs to for me to play at the level I expect of myself and that my teammates and Bruins fans deserve. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I announce my retirement from the game of hockey."
Originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Rask was traded to the Bruins before he ever played a regular-season NHL game, and he would become one of the franchise's most-prolific players of the last two decades. Rask helped the Bruins make the Stanley Cup playoffs in seven of his 15 seasons, and won a Stanley Cup as the backup to Tim Thomas before leading the Bruins to two more Finals appearances in 2013 and 2017.
Rask won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender for the 2013-14 season, which saw him go 36-15-6 with a 2.04 GAA and .930 save percentage. Rask's .9210 save percentage is second in Bruins history only to Thomas, and he is the franchise's all-time leader in games won at 308.
After the Bruins were eliminated in the second round of last year's Stanley Cup playoffs, Rask had revealed that he would need surgery on a hip labrum injury suffered earlier that season, and he would sit out the early portion of the 2021-22 season with the intention of playing for no team other than the Bruins. The team honored Rask's wishes, allowing him to return to practice in November and December before signing him to a one-year deal in January.