Bruins fans and sports radio talking heads were already abuzz with Tuukka Rask's comments comparing the postseason to the preseason.
And then came Saturday morning's bombshell. The Bruins' number one goalie is opting out of the rest of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“I want to be with my teammates competing, but at this moment there are things more important than hockey in my life, and that is being with my family," Rask said in a statement. "I want to thank the Bruins and my teammates for their support and wish them success.”
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There's no ideal time for a team's top goalie to step away, but the announcement came less than two hours before Game 3 of the team's first-round playoff series against the Hurricanes.
Reaction to Rask's decision was swift on social media, with takes ranging from anger to understanding.
The Tuukka Rask news is unbelievable.— Nicholas W. Goss (@NickGossNBCSB) August 15, 2020
You could kinda see this coming. Its clearly the right decision if he's not fully committed. https://t.co/RltUXo5UfB— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) August 15, 2020
Its one thing to opt out before you start playing. No problem with that. I fully understand guys want to choose family— Dan Lifshatz (@DanLifshatz) August 15, 2020
Its another to do it in the MIDDLE of a playoff series in a bubble with no positive COVID tests
Ship him out. I'm done
Um, that’s the job. https://t.co/BI5djlo0Bx— Jim Murray (@bigjimmurray) August 15, 2020
Let tuukka go in the offseason. This is tim thomas 2.0. Give halak the starting job next year. He opted out bc of what he said and the heat that came with it was too much. Dueces tuukka— Jacob DaSilva (@Jake_DaSilva) August 15, 2020
Let’s make a few things clear:— Dan Bradley (@MulletsVoxDB) August 15, 2020
1. Tuukka Rask has every right to opt out and return home to his family.
2. He doesn’t owe anyone an apology or explanation for his decision.
3. If you’re a Boston fan complaining about his decision on social media, you’re a terrible person.
Tuukka has 3 kids at home, go be with your family. 💯— J.P. Healey (@Jphealeywhat) August 15, 2020
Tuukka Rask should not be villainized for deciding to opt out. He’s making the best decision for him and his family, and that should be obvious to everyone.— Paul Ross (@RealPaulRoss) August 15, 2020
Do y'all really think Tuukka cares one bit about all you keyboard warriors trying to shame him for putting his own mental health and his family's needs first??— Alex (@bigbadbruins73) August 15, 2020
The fact people on here are mad at him is absolutely disgusting. You have no clue what these guys deal with in their personal lives. These aren’t just athletes, these are real people too. Have a little respect.— Cory (@CMello_16) August 15, 2020
With Rask done for the season, Jaroslav Halak is now Boston's top goalie -- and some were quick to pivot to that side of the story.
Jaroslav Halak an hour before Game 3: pic.twitter.com/apdCsLj8hT— Chris Mason (@ByChrisMason) August 15, 2020
Bruins fans are going to be worried about their chances without Tuukka, but fans of the Pens, Caps, and few other teams will reassure them that Halak can do the thing— Aaron Schuster (@retsuhcSnoraA) August 15, 2020
I’m sure Tuukka has his reasons - and it’s also his right to opt out, regardless of when.— WabbaPlays (@WabbaPlays) August 15, 2020
While it is surprising, support the goalie who got you the Presidents trophy and be happy our backup is a true NHL caliber goalie.
Let’s Go Halak