Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask has opted out of returning to play for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The decision was announced less than a few hours before his team faced off against the Carolina Hurricanes for Game Three of their Eastern Conference First Round series. The best-of-seven is tied up at a game apiece.
Jaroslav Halak got the Game Three start, his first playoff start since April of 2015.
“I want to be with my team competing, but at this moment there are things more important than hockey in my life, and that is being with my family,” Rask said. “I want to thank the Bruins and my teammates for their support and wish them the best.”
“We understand completely where Tuukka’s coming from,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said. “I don’t think it’s any big surprise to us, to be honest with you. We’re privy to information maybe before the rest of the public is. And this has been a difficult decision for Tuukka, but the Boston Bruins are in full support of why he made this decision.”
Rask was in goal for Game One and Game Two against the Hurricanes, plus he played in two round robin games.
“[For] all of our players, we knew this would be a mental challenge, especially players with families. In Tuukka’s case, he has a newborn at home with two other young girls, and he just felt that he needs to be home with them at this particular time,” Sweeney said.
Rask, together with Halak, secured the William M. Jennings Trophy in the regular season ahead of the COVID-19 pause in March. He posted a .929 save percentage.
Halak will be the man for the Bruins going forward, with Rask leaving the bubble.
Rask went 1-3 in the bubble, posting a 2.57 goals against average and a .904 save percentage. He’s got a lot of playoff experience, going 51-42 in the post-season with a 2.20 goals against average and a .926 save percentage. He was backup to Tim Thomas when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and was between the pipes when Boston got within a win of taking it all last season.