Is there something strange going on in the Bruins locker room?
On Saturday the Boston Bruins shocked the hockey community when they published a statement from goaltender Tuukka Rask that made it clear that the Bruins number one netminder would no longer be participating in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was a stunning announcement that floored the Bruins fan base as it came completely out of left field, but it sounds like there is now concern that Rask may not be the only player in the Bruins locker room who feels this way and furthermore may not be the only one who wishes to leave.
To be clear we have not heard any rumblings regarding any other members of the Bruins roster leaving the bubble as of yet, however Bruins general manager Don Sweeney himself acknowledged on Saturday that there was concern that the departure of Rask could have an impact on the locker room at large. Specifically Sweeney admitted that he was concerned about a potential domino effect that could occur as a result of the team's star goaltender making the decision to up and quit in the middle of the playoffs.
“You never know if there’s a domino effect in these situations...we’ll try and do our best to communicate with players,” admitted Sweeney on Saturday.
That would be very bad for the Bruins given that not only did Rask quit on the team, he also has clearly not been very invested in the National Hockey League's Return to Play. After suffering a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in their first round playoff series this week, Rask was quick to make excuses for the loss and also indicated himself that he simply was not feeling the playoff vibe in an empty arena that had no fans in attendance.
"It doesn’t really feel like playoff hockey right now. There’s no fans.It feels like an exhibition game," said Rask of the format following the loss.
Rask was, rightfully in my opinion, called out for those comments but they do speak to his mindset inside the bubble. If that negativity has spread among the Bruins that could be a huge problem for a team that entered the tournament as one of the favorites.