The outlook of goaltender’s Tuukka Rask seemed unclear for a while in Boston after the netminder left the NHL bubble and decided against moving on with the team in the 2019-20 NHL playoffs. The important family reasons Rask left were understandable, but there were some who questioned his commitment to the team and the game of hockey and many who wondered if he’d be back.
Reports on Wednesday, and a story from CBS Sports report a conversation with Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy suggest there’s little to worry about on that front. At least that’s the case as far as the coach is concerned.
While rumors are still out there and there’s a bit of uncertainty surrounding Rask’s long-term NHL future, Cassidy says the team is “full steam ahead” with No. 40 in net. The article quotes Cassidy (via NHL.com):
“I think everything that happened in the bubble has been addressed, dealt with. We’re moving on, getting ready to win next year. That includes our goaltender.”
Cassidy notes that his understanding is that Rask is fully prepared to come back, be a part of the team and is ready to win.
Last season, Rask was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. It’s that player the Bruins are hoping to get back, especially considering the team lost Torey Krug in free agency, has some major injury concerns heading into next season and didn’t do a whole lot to add to the roster. Rask posted a 2.12 goals-against average and in 41 games, went 26-8-6 with a .929 save percentage.
Cassidy added, “I think Tuukka, he can speak for himself. But I think he just wants to get back in the net and play hockey and play well and give us a chance to win.” In other words, it would be nice to put all the drama of his leaving in the rear view mirror and get back to the business at hand.
Whatever happens after next season happens. Rask’s $7 million contract expires when the season comes to a close.