The Boston Bruins fan base was left stunned when star goaltender Tuukka Rask made the decision to leave the National Hockey League's Return to Play bubble, effectively taking himself out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the process. It sounds though like it wasn't just the fans who were surprised however, as the Bruins players seemed to learn of the news at the last minute as well.
According to Bruins captain they were only made aware of the decision from Rask as they were about to head to the arena and face the Hurricanes. Chara said that they only knew "shortly before the departure of the bus."
In spite of the absence of Rask the Bruins were able to triumph in Game 3 over the Carolina Hurricanes, giving them a 2 - 1 series lead, and as you would expect several members of the Bruins leadership were asked about the sudden departure of their goaltender following the game. The Bruins however appeared to all be on the same page when it comes to Rask, at least publicly, with all of them echoing that they were fully behind Rask in one way or another. Bruins veteran Patrice Bergeron, who himself also has young children at home, stated flatly that he would not judge any man that made the decision Rask had made today.
"It’s obviously not easy," said Bergeron. "Thank God for technology and FaceTime and having the support of your teammates.I don't judge anyone for that decision. We're behind him 100 percent."
Charlie Coyle, who was arguably the biggest factor in Game 3, indicated that he felt it was every Bruins' responsibility to step up in the absence of their star goalie and he certainly set an example of that himself in Game 3.
"We need to come together...band together," said Coyle. "Everybody has to put a little bit more on our shoulders, but I think everybody here is capable of doing that."
The man who replaced Rask in Game 3 and the man who will no doubt replace him for the remainder of the playoffs Jaroslav Halak had a similar message, stating that there were simply some things that had to come before hockey.
"We are here as one family. There are obviously more important things than hockey in life," said Halak.
The Bruins were all on the same page in Game 3 and it sounds like their locker room is indeed banding together despite losing their starting goaltender.