By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Whatever personal issue Tuukka Rask was dealing with, it apparently only took three days to resolve. The Bruins goaltender returned on Tuesday and addressed his leave of absence with reporters after practice.
Here is Rask’s opening statement:
“First and foremost, I want to thank all the people who sent me messages and contacted me and supported me. Second of all, I want to thank the Boston Bruins for giving me the opportunity to take time off with my family. I’ve never been more proud to be a part of this family. We are a family and we take care of each other when times are tough. That being said, I have a job. My job is to be a hockey goalie for the Boston Bruins. And I also have another job title, and that’s a family man. This was a time that, deep inside my heart, I felt like I needed to take time to be with my family and make things right, so I can be back here and focus on my job. That took three days. I’m back here, I’m back to work, and I’m ready to battle with these guys. At the end of the day, I realize that a hockey career is a very short career, but life is much longer than that. So I appreciate that I got the privacy and the time I needed. I’m ready to move on now.”
Rask added a quick “yes” when asked if everything is OK with his family. But he did tacitly admit that his personal matter was at least tangentially related to having to spend time with his family for three days.
“Things happen in people’s lives, and you kind of do some soul-searching and try to seek the best answers,” said Rask. “Like I said, there was a time that, deep inside, this was my decision and my time to step to my family and make that call. I couldn’t be happier that I did it.”
When asked if he was contemplating retirement, Rask said that idea was “not that far off” but didn’t exactly sound like a player thinking of hanging up the skates any time soon.
Rask has simply not been good this season (.901 save percentage) and was mind-numbingly poor in a relief appearance against the Canucks last Thursday, the night before he had to take his leave of absence. He wouldn’t make the excuse that his personal life was affecting his play on the ice, but it’s pretty clear in hindsight that Rask wasn’t totally focused in recent games.
The hope, now, is that Rask has achieved the “clarity” he said he sought in the past three days. His next appearance in goal is not yet known, but it’s likely that he gets a start at some point on the Bruins’ upcoming road slate in Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, and Detroit.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.