Tuukka Rask receives more criticism than just about any athlete in Boston.
The Bruins goalie has enjoyed a fantastic career with the Original Six franchise, but the lack of a Stanley Cup title (as the No. 1 netminder) on his résumé is tough to ignore.
Of course, Rask isn't the only reason why the Bruins haven't won a championship since he became the No. 1 goalie at the beginning of the 2012-13 campaign. In fact, one of the primary reasons why the B's got so close to winning in 2013 and 2019 was because of Rask's performance.
Fair or not, the criticism hurled at Rask isn't going to end anytime soon after the Bruins were eliminated from the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs by the New York Islanders earlier this week. Rask didn't play great in the six-game second-round series versus the Islanders, but neither did the team in front of him, especially in Game 6. Rask also was playing with a torn labrum in his hip that will be repaired surgically.
During his season-ending media availability Friday, Rask was asked about the criticism he receives.
"There’s a reason I don’t read social media, or the news, really," Rask said. "Because when you get caught up in that, it might be mentally tough. But it really doesn’t affect me because I don’t hear that noise. Like I’ve said it many times before, people have opinions, they have the right to say whatever they want to say as long as it’s within good limits. I respect that.
"It doesn’t affect my game. I feel like every time I go out on the town or whatever, people have been really supportive. It’s not like I go to the grocery store and people are throwing eggs at me or yelling at me. That might suck."
Boston fans expect the best, and anything less is often going to be met with criticism. That's just the way it is here. Conference championships are nice, but Stanley Cup titles are what's expected from the Bruins, especially given the talent on their roster over the last decade. Unfortunately for Rask, the B's have come up just a little short in his tenure here.
"The Patriots definitely haven’t helped anybody in that regard, because they won championships every year it seemed like," Rask said. "This city only recognizes champions as their heroes. Obviously, as an athlete, you want to have a chance to win every year, and I think we’ve been very close a few times.
"It’s unfortunate that we haven’t reached that goal yet and I haven’t won the Cup as a playing goalie. But I feel like I’ve played good hockey and given us a chance. It’s tough to win. Very few guys can win it. It’s not easy. We’ve definitely tried. I just haven’t been able to close the deal, and that’s the way it is. You just have to deal with it. Maybe it’ll happen, who knows."
For the Bruins to win a Cup with Rask, they'll need to re-sign him because he's an unrestricted free agent this summer. Rask noted Friday that he only wants to play for the Bruins and doesn't intend to test free agency.