October 17, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask opts out of Stanley Cup Playoffs, states relatives is ‘more important’ at this instant

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask opts out of Stanley Cup Playoffs, says family is 'more important' at this moment

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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. 

The announcement came a few hours before the Bruins were set to take on the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3 of their opening round series. 

“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.

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. 

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With Rask exiting the bubble, the Bruins will hand over the reigns to Jaroslav Halak, who 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.

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