In a surprising announcement that was revealed on social media this morning, the Boston Bruins announced that Tuukka Rask has opted out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Rask decided that his family was more important than participating in the unique postseason that’s being played in a bubble.
This is a choice for every athlete involved in sports. We’ve seen it more with baseball, football and even basketball. That it’s a star player who’s up for the Vezina on a very good team is newsworthy. It’s definitely a big deal. Will any other players follow suit like Rask?
His decision comes two days after some interesting commentary. Following the 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes in Game Two, he spoke about the lack of playoff atmosphere and how it felt like exhibition. Rask also pointed out that there are other things to be enjoyed. That probably was a sign that he wasn’t all there when it came to the playoffs. He has a young family with two girls and a baby. Maybe that’s what he was referring to.
It isn’t shocking that he decided to put his family first before the playoffs. Especially given the very candid statements the other day. If a player isn’t fully committed, then it’s probably for the best that Rask opted out. From a mental aspect, you want your players not to waver. However, sports aren’t life. That much is certain these days due to the pandemic.
To their credit, the Bruins are extremely supportive of Rask’s tough decision. GM Don Sweeney understood what his number one goalie was going through.
With Rask out, it now is veteran Jaro Halak’s time to shine in net. One of the best backups in the NHL who has playoff experience including taking the Canadiens to a Conference Final, the 35-year old will assume the role as starter for Boston. It’ll be interesting to see if the former Islander, who’s done a good job since moving to Beantown, will be up to the challenge.
They’re playing Game Three now against the Canes. It’s all tied up with each of the first two games decided by a goal. We’ll see what happens.