Amid one of the Finnish goaltender’s worst beginnings to a season in recent memory, Tuukka Rask has taken a personal “leave of absence” from the Boston Bruins.
Rask is 4-4-0 this season in eight appearances with a .901 SV% and 3.05 GAA. These numbers are not up to Tukkaa’s standards and although some fans and media members believe he is an overrated goaltender, Rask has shown us enough over the years to know he is much better than this.
Rask had a bad start last season as well, leading to his eventual benching in favor of backup Anton Khudobin. The benching by Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy worked wonders as it awoke the stud goaltender from his slumber.
Rask finished the year with a 34-14-5 record, 917 SV%, and a 2.36 GAA.
There has been controversy this year surrounding both Tuukka and Jaroslav Halak, the newly acquired goaltender from the New York Islanders. Halak has been stellar so far this year with a 4-1-2 record, .936 SV%, and 1.96 GAA. Both Halak’s SV% and GAA are rank top five in the league among all qualified goalies.
Now, whatever the personal reason for Tuukka’s absence, I think we can certainly understand that whatever has been bothering him has been affecting his play. He’s either having his personal life affect his goaltending or his goaltending affect his personal self so much that he needs to take a break.
Coach Cassidy has already elaborated that he is not taking a break due to health concerns, so we can probably take the coach’s word and rule that out.
Whatever Rask is going through, I think it’s safe to say that it is serious and hopefully he can receive help and get through whatever issue he is battling. I have been firmly in Tuukka’s camp since he joined the Bruins and although he’s had more ups and downs than the Tower of Terror, one can only imagine that if he can overcome these odds, he will come back stronger and better than ever.
The timeframe for Rask’s absence from the team is unknown, but it can be assumed he will not be a factor for the remainder of the Bruins’ homestand and the foreseeable future.
Tuukka has a lifetime record of 242-141-53 with a .922 SV% and 2.27 GAA.
In Rask’s place, Zane McIntyre will be called up from the Providence Bruins to serve as the backup to Jaroslav Halak.
With the Bruins getting decimated by the Vancouver Canucks last night, which included five goals against the supposedly superior Halak, it might be best for Rask to have his focus directed elsewhere until he is back to 100% mentally, physically, etc.
We should see more details emerge within the upcoming days and weeks with several rumors surely to breakout about what specifically is ailing him, but for now, hopefully, Tuukka can get right in his own life before coming back and trying to get the Bruins right.