The Boston Bruins apparently don’t see Tuukka Rask’s abrupt exit from the Stanley Cup Playoff bubble as a long-term indicator of where the goalie stands.
Rask made the seemingly shocking decision to opt out of the playoffs midway through the Bruins’ first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes. The goalie needed to be with his family, he said, and the team voiced its public support for Rask.
Rask was a hot-button topic Wednesday in general manager Don Sweeney’s year-end media availability. Sweeney said he doesn’t expect Rask’s decision to leave the bubble to affect his buy-in moving forward.
“I have zero reservations (about his desire to play),” Cassidy told reporters on a video call. “If you look at Tuukka’s actual play — I do believe he’s a Vezina finalist this year. 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.”
Sweeney admitted he hasn’t spoken to Rask since the goalie left but the GM indicated the Bruins’ reports are that Rask and his family are doing well.
At the end of the day, Sweeney expects goaltending to be a strength of the Bruins moving forward.
“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 (Rask and Jaroslav Halak) and preserving when they’re at their at their best,” Sweeney said. “We continue to want to do that going forward and I think we’re in a really good spot with our goaltending.”
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