It was not all that of an unexpected blow to the Presidents’ Trophy winning Bruins Saturday morning when number one goaltender and Vezina finalist Tuukka Rask chose to opt out of the NHL postseason as his team looks to take control of their first round match-up with Carolina.
In a statement released by the team, Rask who has three young children, said:
“I want to be with my teammates competing, but at this moment there are things more important than hockey in my life, and that is being with my family. I want to thank the Bruins and my teammates for their support and wish them success.”
This decision comes mere days after his bizarre comments following Boston’s 3-2 game two loss, where he was quoted as saying that the games didn’t feel like playoff hockey, and that he was “not stressing too much about results and whatnot”.
Following a 26-8-6 regular season where he posted a 2.12 goals against average and a .929 save percentage, Rask’s numbers saw a significant drop in four starts in the bubble, notching a 2.57 and .904 respectively.
Not all is lost however, as here to save the day is league mainstay Jaroslav Halak, who split time with Rask this season, starting 31 games and recording a 2.39 gaa and a .919 sv%. This postseason comes exactly 10 seasons after the magical playoff run Halak went on with Montreal in 2010, shutting down the likes of Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby en route to the Canadiens’ first Conference Finals berth since they won it all over 15 years previous.
This was such a spectacular performance, in fact, that it left fans of the team in disbelief when they chose to deal Halak rather than former 5th overall pick and future league MVP Carey Price in the off-season.
If the Bruins are to go on a run this year and not become yet another victim of the infamous Presidents’ Trophy curse, they’re certainly going to need some of that vintage wizardry from the former ninth round pick out of Czechoslovakia.
Whether he will provide it or not, only time will tell.
Photo: NBC Sports