By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is not a fan of Stanley Cup Playoff life in the bubble.
And no, believe it or not, it has nothing to do with being quarantined after reporting a cough.
Speaking with reporters after a Game 2 losing effort that saw Rask stop 23 of the 26 shots thrown his way, Rask admitted that it’s been tough to truly get into these games from an emotional standpoint.
“To be honest with you, it doesn’t really feel like playoff hockey because there, there’s no fans. It’s kind of like you’re playing an exhibition game,” Rask said. “Obviously, there are some scrums after the whistle. I haven’t noticed that they would be targeting me or what not. Things happen, people falling on you and what not. But it’s definitely not a playoff atmosphere.”
Regardless of his performance, that’s probably not what you want to hear after a loss. Maybe not after a win, even.
Asked about the atmosphere a second time, Rask doubled down on the ‘exhibition’ vibes of Scotiabank Arena’s setup.
“It just feels like an exhibition game,” Rask said. “You’re trying to play as hard as you can. Obviously, you’re playing a best of seven series so there’s going to be some battles going on and what not. But when you play at your home rink, you play at an away rink, and there’s fans cheering for you or against you and that creates another buzz around the series. There’s none of that, so it just feels dull at times. There’re moments that [are like] ‘OK, there’s little scrums and what not.’ But then there might be five minutes and its just coast to coast hockey and there is no atmosphere.”
Again, probably not what you want to hear from a player already considered a lightning rod for criticism. Even if it’s a valid point. (I have to admit I’ve found myself longing for fans now that these games are real. There’s just a different energy when talking about a mobbed TD Garden versus an empty arena with some piped in noise that sounds like a dull roar.)
And if that didn’t fire up the Hot Take Machine, Rask’s comments about playing back-to-backs surely will.
“I’m just trying to have fun and play the game,” Rask offered. “I’m not stressing too much about results and what not. It’s August and I haven’t played hockey in forever. Just go out there, have fun, and see what happens.”
There are facts peppered in there (it is August and the Bruins haven’t played in forever), and goalies are weirdos to begin with, but that’s not going to cut it to just about everybody with a vested interest in this team. I mean, that’s also the case for every other team vying for the 2020 Stanley Cup. This was the hand dealt to the Bruins, and the league has a whole for that matter, and the results are all that’ll matter.
But nothin’ like some Rask discourse two games into the 2020 postseason to make it feel like things are returning to normal.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.