Well, the secret is finally out: Tuukka Rask played through a torn hip labrum.
Rask believes he suffered the injury in the team’s first round series with the Hurricanes in 2020 when he felt on a pop in his hip on a quick stretch. The Bruins and Rask attempted to manage the injury throughout the 2021 season, too, and Rask’s attempts to overcompensate for the wonky hip led to a back injury in March. At its worst, Rask couldn’t walk for a week. Still, and despite repeated comments that he was not 100 percent, Rask finished strong and was ready to go for the postseason and was excellent through his first nine starts, with a league-best .936 save percentage as a 2-2 series made its way back to Boston.
But as the wheels fell off in Games 5 and 6 — and with Rask certainly among the Bruins who did not deliver on the expectations set through the first round and a half of the 2021 playoffs — it didn’t take long for the narrative to flip towards Rask’s desire and commitment to play through his injury as being a “selfish decision” that hurt the team.
So, let me make sure I’m understanding this correctly: The same group that’s spent almost half a decade screaming about Rask tapping out to illness for Finland in the 2014 Olympics and the B’s in 2016’s Game 82, and opting out of the 2020 bubble due to a family emergency, is now saying he should’ve tapped out of a must-win game for the Bruins?
We’ve all been doing this for far too long to think that would’ve gone over well.
We can sit here and argue whether or not the Bruins should’ve had an honest conversation with Rask before and/or after Game 5. Now that we know the severity of the ailment, that’s a legitimate second guess, even if the Bruins didn’t want to hear it at the time. But to question Rask’s decision to try and gut it out? Or to say that he was the one who made the mistake or was being selfish when this kind of mettle is what his biggest detractors have screamed for since he took over? No chance.
It’s simply more disingenuous goal-post moving, and it’s the most exhausting yet.
I’ve dealt with sub-par save percentages being thrown my way as undeniable proof by the same people who ignore strong save percentages in the name of “numbers don’t matter unless [insert insane reason here].” I’ve seen ‘big games’ suddenly, in the blink of an eye, brushed off unimportant so long as it was a Rask victory — sorry, a team victory that Rask coasted through. Last week, a Sports Hub caller went as far to say that Rask has “never won a game” for the Black and Gold. Imagine waiting on hold for, like, 50 minutes to say something so insane and for the entire world to hear?! It’s all more than enough to make you wanna throw everything you own into an ocean and start anew.
Yet, all of that pales in comparison to the belief that Rask’s decision should play through pain deserves scorn, not praise.
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.