Tuukka Rask was never 100% for the Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup Playoff run, which ended Wednesday at Nassau Coliseum in a Game 6 loss to the New York Islanders.
Head coach Bruce Cassidy said surgery could be an option for the veteran goaltender to address an injury that's plagued him for much of the season.
"There may be surgery, there may not," Cassidy said. "So that’ll be his decision and the medical staff’s decision."
Rask played in just 24 of a possible 56 games this season and missed extended time in March and early April. He started in every postseason game for the Bruins and posted a .941 save percentage in Boston's first-round victory over the Washington Capitals but admitted after the series that his health is "not where I want it to be."
Rask declined to discuss his injury status after Wednesday's loss, in which he allowed four goals on 29 Islanders shots.
"I don’t want to get into that right now," Rask said. "We’re gonna have to release an injury report in a couple of days, we’re gonna have our exit meetings, so we can talk about it then. I promise I’ll give you a full lowdown. I don’t think that needs to be the headline though."
Rask's future in Boston will be a headline this offseason, though. The 34-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent, and the Bruins need to determine whether to re-sign their longtime starter or hand the net over to promising rookie Jeremy Swayman.
It's also possible Rask decides to retire if his injury is serious enough. Regardless of what happens -- and despite Boston's early playoff exit, Rask's teammates still have his back.
"He’s always been stepping up and battling through things," team captain Patrice Bergeron said in a video press conference after Wednesday's game. "I think it speaks volumes on him. It wasn’t always easy at times for him for what he was dealing with, but kudos for him for being there for us."