Boston Bruins President Cam Neely confirmed, in a media Zoom call, a Boston Hockey Now report that Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask left the NHL Bubble and his team due to a family emergency and that the Boston Bruins organization fully supports Rask and his family. He also stressed that the team is focused on moving forward, as witnessed by beating the Carolina Hurricanes in five games with a 2-1 win in Toronto Wednesday.
“I have not spoken to Tuukka the last few days,” the Bruins hall of famer said of Tuukka Rask. “Obviously, as you know, as Don [Sweeney] mentioned, he came to us and spoke to us the morning of game three, where he said he had to go home and deal with a family emergency, so we respected that. Now it’s about the guys that are here and the team that we have here that we have to focus.”
Neely was impressed but not surprised by the way the Bruins leadership core and Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy reacted to Rask’s departure. Neely alluded to the family atmosphere in the dressing room that’s all-inclusive whether with younger or older veterans like captain Zdeno Chara and alternate captains Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Krejci. That core supports Tuukka Rask but they’ve got Halak’s back too.
“We’ve never really made things easy around here. Like I said earlier, the guys are focused on who’s here and what we have to do to play well and to give ourselves a chance to win,” Neely said. “It’s really about the group here and our players really focus on that. They talk a lot about it. They’re really a close group to begin with, both young and older players really get along well. Have a lot of fun together. They’re tight both on and off the ice, which I think helps make a successful club.”
A key part of the success for the Bruins since Rask departed has been the play of their new No.1 goalie Jaro Halak who went 3-0 from Games 3 to 5 and rebounded from an average start in the Bruins 4-3 win in Game 4 with 23 saves in the Game 5 clincher.
“He’s a competitor. Both on and off the ice,” Neely said. “He’s well-focused. I think obviously a little surprising to get the call when he did. As a backup goaltender, you have to be prepared to come in at any time. I thought he stepped in and did a good job for us. He’s very intense, but he’s got a great sense of humor.”