Boston Bruins star goaltender Tuukka Rask simply walked away from his team on Saturday when he opted out of the National Hockey League's Return to Play and left the bubble in Toronto. It was a stunning move from Rask and one that both fans and teammates will not likely soon forget, but one veteran Bruins reporter thinks it may be the last chance that Rask will ever get to disappoint his team.
In a recent article for the Boston Globe, Bruins reporter Kevin Paul Dupont stated flatly that he believes Rask's time as a member of the Bruins roster has come to an end. Dupont cited the fact that the Bruins number one netminder has simply displayed too many times that he cannot be relied upon, indicating that he believes this alone will push Bruins general manager Don Sweeney to make what would admittedly be a very tough decision.
New NHL or not, some things never go out of date. One of those is the need for the GM and coach to know who can be counted on during good times, bad times, and especially playoff time.
From here, it looks like Rask’s time is finished.
Although I noticed many journalists rushing to defend Rask on social media today you simply can not deny the fact that Rask has left the other members of the Bruins roster hanging high and dry. Of course if a man wants to put his family first he should feel free to do so and should even be commended for going down that path, but when a group of people working towards a common goal for the better part of a year suddenly find themselves short handed due to the personal decisions of one individual it is also perfectly normal to feel slighted. What makes this worse for the Bruins is that they have seen this behavior from Rask before, although admittedly the timing of Rask's decision this time around has made it considerably more egregious of an offence.
Back in 2018 during the early stages of the Bruins regular season the veteran netminder asked for a leave of absence and was granted one by the team, resulting in Rask leaving the team to go home to his family. At that time it was Jaroslav Halak who picked up the slack like he did on Saturday and at that time Rask was back in the Bruins lineup just a few short days later, not a particularly big deal. The fact that Rask's family dynamics, whatever they may be, have now come between him and the Bruins a second time and at the most crucial time of the season is enough for Dupont to believe that the Bruins will look for someone more reliable in the offseason.
Again from the Globe:
All of which points to Rask not being here whenever — if ever — the 2020-21 season starts. It’s time for both sides to shake hands, recall the many good memories, and move on to situations that are better, more predictable fits for both.
Rask will go down as one of the greatest Bruins goaltender of all time regardless of what happens from here on out, perhaps even the greatest, but I wouldn't blame the Bruins one bit for moving on from a guy they clearly can not count on. I also don't blame writers like Dupont for thinking that this latest decision from Rask will simply prove to be too tough a pill for the Bruins and their fan base to swallow.