By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
It doesn't sound like the Bruins are planning to move on from Tuukka Rask this offseason.
Opting out of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs following Game 2 of the B's first-round series with the Hurricanes due to a family emergency, subsequent updates on Rask's situation have been few and far between. And while Bruins general manager Don Sweeney didn't have a further update (he noted that he hasn't talked to Rask since he got a positive update on his family upon his first check-in), he didn't sound like someone considering making any changes in net.
"I have zero reservations about where Tuukka will be both on and off the ice for us," Sweeney said. "We feel we’ve had strong goaltending the last couple years, we've done a good job of mapping out the health of both players and preserving when they're at their at their best. We continue to want to do that going forward and I think we're in a really good spot with our goaltending."
With Rask out, the Bruins were forced to lean on Jaroslav Halak (perhaps too much, especially on short rest) for the final eight games of their postseason run, with the 35-year-old delivering four wins and a .907 save percentage.
It highlighted or reinforced this team's need for Rask (or someone like Rask) to be the guy in net for the Black and Gold when it comes crunch-time, and Sweeney reinforced that he has 'zero reservations' about the 33-year-old being that guy moving forward.
"If you look at Tuukka’s actual play, he’s a Vezina finalist this year," said Sweeney. "For me, that pretty much dictates everything. Obviously, his own personal life, we all have matters that at times we have to deal with and he’s been given the opportunities in a couple instances to make sure he feels good on and off the ice.
"I think any player, any manger, any person involved in sport or in life would respect – has to respect -- that people have to tend to their own personal business. How he chooses to do that is his own decision and his alone. We provide resources for all of our players to work through any issues that they may or may not have on and off the ice and then provide support accordingly. And we’re not going to deviate from that. You have to respect his privacy and allow him the latitude to take care of it. And ultimately it hasn’t affected his play on the ice. We have good goaltending and we’ll continue to do so."
Rask, who compiled 26 wins and a .929 save percentage in 41 starts in the regular season, is entering the final year of a contract that comes with a $7 million cap hit.