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Tuukka Rask faces hip surgery, only wants to play in Boston

A lengthy recovery lies ahead.

Boston Bruins Vs. New York Islanders At Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

He was the man everyone wanted to hear from on break-up day, and Tuukka Rask didn't disappoint.

In his last Zoom gathering prior to the off-season beginning, Rask revealed that he will need to have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip.

Rask added that he also dealt with a back injury that he thinks was related to the hip injury.

Still, he wasn't using it as an excuse.

"We definitely did everything we could to advance, and it just wasn’t enough," he said. "I can’t stand here and say, ‘It was because of my hip, I couldn’t play at my level.’ I felt like I played at a very good level. It was Game 5 that was a bad game I had and that would probably be the only bad game I had in the playoffs. It’s one of those things that happens, but I thought everybody should be proud of themselves and the way we battled."

Rask mentioned that he thinks he may have initially injured his hip back in the bubble, and that it progressed over time.

With surgery looming, he'll be unavailable for the first couple of months (at least) of next season.

That hasn't dampened his enthusiasm to play, however.

"Yes, I do," he said. "Mentally, I’m up for that. The physical aspect, hopefully everything goes well, like I said, then we’ll probably be looking at January or February return to hockey."

Rask also revealed that he doesn't really have much interest in playing for another NHL team.

"Like I said before, I’m not going to play for anyone else than the Bruins," he said. "This is our home. We have three kids. The kids enjoy it here. They have friends in school. We have friends. At this point of my life and my career, I don’t see any reason to go anywhere else."

Rask also said he'd likely be willing to accept a sort of hybrid understudy role to the heir apparent in Jeremy Swayman, which is good to hear.

"That’s what I’ve been talking about with [GM Don Sweeney] and the coaching staff to," he said. "I’ve played enough hockey. It’s getting to the point where anyway I can be helpful for these young guys, I want to do it. Who knows what the goaltending situation is going to look like when the season starts? I’m definitely up for helping out in any shape or form I can."

Rask's laid-back, frank demeanor sometimes rubs certain segments of the fanbase the wrong way, but it's hard to not feel good about what he's saying here.

He wants to keep playing, but acknowledges that it may be in more of a mentoring role, unless Swayman falters.

Swayman, for his part, had only good things to say about Rask.

"I couldn't have asked for anything better," he said. "He's a world-class goalie, a world-class person, so it's awesome to learn from him. He battled and I think everyone knows it. His compete level is unmatched, and he brings a fire every day, especially when it's a playoff atmosphere. It's awesome to see that in some of the games that he stole, especially in Washington."

For the Bruins, they'll need to decide what they want their goalie situation to look like at the start of next season.

Money shouldn't be an object with a Rask contract, as he'll almost certainly take less due to playing (at most) half a season.

Do you give Swayman the keys in October with Dan Vladar as his back-up?

Do you sign a veteran goalie on the cheap as a stop gap?

Time will tell.

As for Rask's legacy, he has a pretty rational take on it all.

"It’s unfortunate that we haven’t reached that goal yet and I haven’t won the Cup as a playing goalie, but I feel like I’ve played good hockey and given us a chance," he said. "It’s tough to win. There’s very few guys who win it. It’s not easy. We’ve definitely tried, and I just haven’t been able to close the deal and that’s the way it is. You just have to deal with it. Maybe it will happen. Who knows?"

Hopefully he gets a few more chances to give it a go.