In case you missed it over the weekend, Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was a surprise scratch for his team's Round Robin Series debut against the Philadelphia Flyers. Due to the NHL's rules around reporting injuries, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy wasn't at liberty to divulge Rask's status other than the say that he was deemed "unfit to play." But the thing is... no one has any idea what that actually means. Is he hurt? Does he have COVID-19? Well, today Rask finally spoke up.
So, what was the problem? Believe it or not Rask had a bit of a scratchy throat and that was enough for the NHL to remove him from the Bruins' lineup.
Check out this quote from Rask himself, courtesy of Bruins insider Joe Haggerty:
Tuukka Rask on his absence over the weekend: "I had a cough so I just clicked yes on the app and then all kinds of red lights started blinking...so I was quarantined for two days. They wanted to do two negative tests after that."
I have to say, while this sounds like a bit of overkill it's actually a smart move by the NHL. Imagine if it turned out that Rask did indeed have COVID-19 and was allowed to play on Sunday against the Flyers... it could have completely shut the league down. Take a look at what's happening in Major League Baseball right now and it's clear that the NHL made the right decision to operate in the way that they have. The MLB, by comparison, elected to conduct their season with NO bubble in place and without any real specific rules related to COVID-19. The NHL and the NBA for that matter have effectively quarantined their players in just two locales apiece. As a result the NHL hasn't had a positive COVID-19 case league-wide in nearly a month, certainly none since play officially resumed with exhibition schedules last week. For once, it seems, the NHL has done something right.
As for Rask, it's believed that he'll be back between the pipes as the Bruins' starting goaltender when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday evening. Jaroslav Halak will of course be relegated back to backup duty.