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Cassidy And Players Don’t Judge Tuukka Rask

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Boston Bruins Tuukka Rask

If there is one thing that the Boston Bruins players want to make clear, it is that they fully support and respect Tuukka Rask’s decision to opt out of the Stanley Cup Finals.

“Obviously we’re supporting him,” said Patrice Bergeron. “We’re behind him and we understand. Family comes first. We’ve always said that. Obviously, we’re a tight group in this locker room. We’ve been together for a while and supporting each other. Obviously, we’re thinking about him and we’re supporting that decision. And like you said, this locker room, we’re – doesn’t matter who is being asked to step up, it seems like guys come in and do that every time. Jaro, it’s not an easy task and comes in and gives us a chance to win. He makes some huge saves, especially early on to keep us in the game. And I’m talking about him, but obviously the other guys that came in and played great for us.”

The news of Rask’s decision came prior to Saturday’s 3-1 Game 3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. But, Zdeno Chara said that the team did not find out until just before they left for the arena.

“I think that we found out shortly before departure of the bus,” said Chara. “Obviously our first concern is the health and safety of his family. That’s the most important thing we were all kind of thinking about and obviously we support Tuukka’s decision. There is nothing more important than your family. You know at this point we want to make sure that everybody else respects his privacy and you know I think we all just want to wish his family the best and that’s it.”

Charlie Coyle followed, saying that the team respects Rask’s decision.

“We all want Tuukks [Tuukka Rask] here, but we all want what’s best for his family and we obviously respect his decision,” said Coyle. “But yeah, Tuukks is such a huge part of this team. He is. We all know that. He has been for a long time. But we respect it. That’s how it is. That’s what’s done. From then on, we have to move forward and I guess Zee [Zdeno Chara] kind of touched on, we have to come together, band together and everybody has a little more responsibility on their shoulders – but we’re capable of that. But yeah, Tuukks is a hard guy to replace, he’s our goalie, but as he said again, we have full confidence in Jaro [Jaroslav Halak] and the other two that we have here as well. We just have to take more responsibility on each other, but that is something we can handle for sure.”

Bruce Cassidy commented that he and his team will find the right time to reach out to Rask to make sure he and his family are doing well.

“With Tuukka I was aware that I know he had his third daughter this spring and it was on his mind leaving here and he wanted to get some things settled at home, but after that it’s his business and I don’t get into unless you want to discuss it with me, which I think every player is a little bit different that way,” said Cassidy. “So I’ve certainly talked with Tuukka through training camp etc, but he made the decision to come, so I assumed everything was good at home.”

“But you know deep down that there may be a possibility as Donnie said,” Cassidy continued. “But you can’t dwell on that. We have a team to get ready. I know it sounds cold but the professional part of it is you got to get a team to get ready to play for the Stanley Cup and then still be there for Tuukka for whatever he needs. So that’s what we’re doing. Today we got a win, we need two more to win the series, and that will be our focus, and I will certainly find time to reach out to Tuukka at the appropriate time to make sure that he’s doing well and his family is doing well.”

Jaroslav Halak, who took over for Rask in net, said that he understands Rask’s decision.

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“Obviously, he’s my teammate and a great guy. I just support any decision he makes,” said Halak. “We are here as one team and as one family and we understand what’s going on.”

 

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