After some comments after Game 2 about the atmosphere in Toronto not feeling like playoff hockey, which caused a stir among both Bruins fans and hockey fans in general, the Bruins announced today that Tuukka Rask has opted to leave the bubble and remove himself from the NHL’s Return to Play.
#NHLBruins goalie Tuukka Rask has opted out of the NHL's Return to Play: pic.twitter.com/r3c7wjaTwR— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) August 15, 2020
It goes without saying that Jaroslav Halak will be the starter going forward. The team will have a press conference shortly, so we'll update this post.
If you remember, Rask took a leave of absence from the team last season due to personal issues, though he excelled when he returned.
It's also worth noting that Rask's wife gave birth to their third child back in April.
It's hard to fault any player for wanting to be with his family, so hopefully everything is OK.
Rask has been open about his struggles with trying to balance hockey and family in the past. In an article by Matt Porter of the Boston Globe back in March, Rask had this to say about what he'd do after his playing days were up:
“Just be home,” he said. “The wear and tear of the travel with two, almost three kids now, makes you think. I love to do it. But it’s tough.”
In a press conference this morning, Don Sweeney offered some insight, without giving away too much information, as expected.
"Tuukka has decided to leave the NHL playoffs, the bubble, and head to be back with his family," said Sweenry. "We understand completely where Tuukka is coming from. I don’t think it’s any big surprise to us to be honest with you. We’re privy to information maybe before the rest of the public is, and this has been a difficult decision for Tuukka, but the Boston Bruins are in full support of why he made this decision."
"All of our players, we knew this would be a mental challenge, especially players with families," Sweeney continued. "In Tuukka’s case he has a newborn at home with two other young girls, and he just felt that he needs to be home with them at this particular time. You can’t control the timeline of when the playoffs resumed. Give Tuukka a hell of a lot of credit for trying to persevere through this and initiate the process to come up and be with his teammates because first and foremost that’s what he wants to do, but the priorities are in the right order and this is what he has to do at this time."
The speculation machine will continue in overdrive, but this is the latest:
Dale Arnold on the NESN pre game said Rask left due to a family emergency.— James Stewart (@IAmJamesStewart) August 15, 2020
For those who don’t know, Dale is working on a second book and has direct contact with Rask.
He was reading from his phone. Power move on tv that I respect.