By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask has already talked about what happened back home that led to his exit from the Toronto bubble and 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs after just two games. By now, we know that Rask’s daughter was dealing with an emergency, and that Rask decided that it was necessary for him to go home.
But when Rask’s first media session of 2021 Bruins training camp came with more questions regarding the specifics of the incident Wednesday, Rask was happy to provide answers.
“I got a phone call the night before [Game 3] that our daughter really wasn’t doing so well and they had to call an ambulance,” Rask, who left after the club’s Game 2 loss to the Hurricanes in round one, revealed. “So, at that point, my mind is spinning and I’m like, ‘I need to get out of here.’ So then the next morning, I informed [Don Sweeney], we had a brief talk, and then I left.”
It’s as simple as that.
The problem, however, is that Sweeney didn’t make it clear that Rask’s family was dealing with an emergency. Perhaps that was Sweeney doing his part to be a good general manager and not reveal too much about Rask’s situation. Family’s family, and it’s nobody’s business ‘cept theirs.
Or perhaps the whole situation just put everybody in a no-win position.
“Everything happened so quickly, so I think [Sweeney] got caught by surprise, too,” said Rask.
Rask’s decision handed the keys to a deep playoff run off to Jaroslav Halak, and the Bruins were eliminated eight games later, but the 33-year-old stands by the decision. As any father would.
“It was a tough decision to leave, but then again it wasn’t because I knew it was more important for me to be home at that time,” Rask offered. “That was easy to live with.”
Watching the games, however, wasn’t nearly as easy.
“You’re kinda caught in this middle where your brain is spinning where you know you’re in the right place at home but then again you should be there to stop pucks,” said Rask.
But like he did then, and like he does now, Rask had the support of his teammates. He texted with Halak throughout the postseason, and had countless chats with teammates about life and more this past offseason.
Rask also said returning to the Boston locker room was no problem at all.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, meanwhile, remarked that he believes Rask is fine now that his family is OK.
“He feels good, practicing well, and has been here for an extended period of time now working out at the facility,” Cassidy said. “He’s ready to go. To my understanding, everything is great at home with his wife and girls, so that’s most important and usually puts you in a good place to work.”
Rask, who is entering the final year of his contract, finished last season with a 26-8-6 record, .929 save percentage, league-best 2.12 goals against average, and a second-place finish in Vezina Trophy voting.