What led Tuukka Rask to abruptly leave the Boston Bruins during the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs?
In his first video conference with reporters ahead of the 2021 season, the Bruins goaltender spoke candidly about the family emergency that prompted him to opt out of the NHL bubble in Toronto before Game 3 of Boston's series with the Carolina Hurricanes.
"Everything happened so quickly," Rask said Wednesday. " ... I got a phone call the night before (Game 3) that our daughter wasn't doing so well at that point. They had to call an ambulance and everything. So obviously at that point, my mind is spinning and I'm like, 'I need to get out of here.' "
Rask left Toronto the following day after informing the team. And while it may have been difficult watching the B's fall in the second round to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the 33-year-old has zero regrets about his decision.
"It was a tough decision to leave, but then again, it wasn't because I knew that it was more important to be home at that time. So, that was easy to live with," Rask said.
"But also on the other hand, you're home knowing that you could be there, you should be there playing hockey. So, it's tough to watch the games. You're kind of caught in this middle. You're brain is kind of spinning at that point, knowing that you're in the right place but then again you should be there to stop pucks."
Rask credited fellow goaltender Jaroslav Halak and other Bruins teammates for supporting his decision and insisted there have been "no issues" since he rejoined the team.
The veteran netminder is entering the final year of his contract, and it's possible he could sign elsewhere or even retire after the 2021 season. But for this season at least, it sounds like Rask is on stable footing in Boston.