After trying to fan the flames on the retirement talk surrounding him earlier during the NHL pause, Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask took a fire extinguisher to any ideas floating around that he might hang em up when his current contract expires after next season. Speaking in a Zoom call with the media Monday morning, Rask made it clear he feels far from done. Dropping one from the Tom Brady playbook when asked how much longer he’d like to and thinks he could play, Rask, 33, left his NHL future open-ended but hinted he could play as long as the former Patriots quarterback has.
“I’ve never really thought about that — the age, number. … So far, I still have that passion to keep playing,” Rask said. “Maybe it’s 36, 37 — maybe I’ll be the goalie that plays until he’s 45, maybe not. I’ve never really thought of that really, the age number that I would play until. I think a lot of it has to do with how much you want to keep playing, is your body healthy, and do you have that passion for the game still? Those are the questions you try to think. It’s not necessarily 40 or 36 or whatever. You’ll play as long as you can and your body feels healthy and you want to keep doing it. But whenever that drive kind of slows down then you’ve got to rethink and revisit, hey is this something I want to do? And so far, I still have that passion of winning and playing, and that drives me. The winning drives me.”
Rask was 26-8-6 with a league-best 2.12 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. He posted a 36-save shutout in the Bruins’ 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers March 10, their final game before the NHL season paused due to Coronavirus. Clearly he’s proven he can still play at an elite level and a two-month pause was likely what his taxed body needed. As Rask pointed out though, it’s also served as the perfect time to do something he can hardly ever do during the grind of an NHL season and that’s to be with his family. Rask and his wife just welcomed a brand new baby girl into the family and that has pulled him away from even thinking about hockey, let alone retirement.
“Not really. I haven’t thought about retirement at all,” Rask replied when asked again about retiring. “It’s been such weird times that I’ve put full focus on my family at this time and just tried to enjoy that. But last summer was very short, the past two seasons have kind of combined together it felt like, so I’ve kind of used this time off just to get my mind off of hockey and focus on family. We travel a lot and it gets taxing mentally sometimes to be away from your family, so I just try to refocus my energy to the family and just be present here at home.”
The 2020-21 season will be Rask’s final season of a seven-year contract that carries a cap hit of $7 million. While he knows that’s something he’ll need to address soon, Rask is simply focused on the present.
“I know that this summer I can start talking to the Bruins about a possible extension, and when that day comes we’ll see what happens,” he said. “But I definitely haven’t put any thought into retirement or anything like that. We’ll see how this season plays out and then we’ll see if there are extension talks that happen.”
Rask is the all-time winningest goalie in Bruins history with a record of 291-158-64 in 536 NHL games with a 2.12 GAA and .929 save percentage. Rask has 50 career shutouts.