This might be Tuukka Rask's final season in Boston, but the Bruins still have his back.
The veteran goaltender is entering the last season of his contract and will be in the spotlight after he opted out of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs in August.
Rask's decision to leave the team -- and to share that decision with Bruins president Cam Neely and general manager Don Sweeney before telling Bruce Cassidy -- prompted speculation about the goalie's relationship with his head coach.
Cassidy quelled that speculation Tuesday, telling WEEI's "Dale & Keefe" he doesn't begrudge Rask for how the situation played out.
"Well, Cam and Donny were there [in the bubble]," Cassidy said, via WEEI.com. "When a player asks for a leave of absence or whatever it is, it usually goes through the GM first anyway, and it did.
"The timing of it, of course I think it could’ve been better for [backup Jaroslav Halak's] sake. Would I have preferred it a little bit sooner than that? Yes. But I can’t control what happens with a player’s family and the timing of that, so for me to judge that too harshly would be incorrect."
While Rask has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason, Cassidy said he's "100 percent on board" with having the 33-year-old as his starting goaltender.
"We know what Tuukka’s capable of," Cassidy said. "I think all that the players are concerned about, honestly, is, is he going to help us win? Is he going to help get us to where we want to go?
"When Tuukka came out and said, 'My family’s in a great place, I’m in a great place, I’m ready to play hockey,' I think that’s all we needed to hear.
"Listen, we’re a family. We support Tuukka and we’re ready to go. I think the guys are confident that he’s back in there."
There's good reason for the Bruins' confidence: Rask posted an NHL-best 2.12 goals against average last season and finished second in the Vezina Trophy award voting.