BRIGHTON -- The Bruins started Friday’s practice 20 plus minutes after the scheduled 11:30 a.m. start time, and there was no sign of Tuukka Rask on the ice when they did finally get going close to noontime. Coach Bruce Cassidy had a long conversation with Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara before the practice finally did get started, and that’s when things began clearing up as to Rask’s status.
The Bruins shortly thereafter released a statement saying that the Vezina Trophy-winning goalie has “been granted a personal leave of absence relating to a personal matter” and offered zero detail beyond that. General manager Don Sweeney addressed the media following Friday’s practice and said the expectation is that the leave of absence will only be for a few days, and said it wasn’t any kind of health-related issue with the longtime B’s goalie.
Aside from that, Sweeney was sticking to the script.
“Tuukka is going to take a few days to address a personal matter,” said Sweeney. “It is not health-related. So I think it’s important for everybody to respect his privacy and let him deal with it for the next few days.”
This all comes about less than 24 hours after Rask allowed three goals on 14 shots in a blowout 8-5 loss in relief of Jaroslav Halak, and then was utilizing some dry humor postgame when asked about giving up eight goals as a team for the first time in a while.
“I was just trying to keep it under 10 [goals allowed] -- that’s what I was worried about," said Rask, who now has a 3.05 goals against average and a .901 save percentage. "But yeah, you know, like I said, a loss is a loss, it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. It was kind of a crazy game both ways. A lot of goals scored and at the end it looked like everyone was napping in the crowd. It was just one of those games where there wasn’t a whole lot of action on either end -- low shots and all of a sudden it’s 5-3, 8-5 whatever.
"Yeah, weird game. But that’s entertainment and we’re just providing it.”
Cassidy indicated that Halak will get the start against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, and was most likely to start both ends of the weekend back-to-back with the B’s also scheduled to host the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday night. What lies beyond for the Bruins goaltending situation is anybody’s guess and depends on how quickly Rask can attend to his personal matter, and then get back with the team begin righting a season that’s gone very wrong for him thus far.
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