BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MAY 26: Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins speaks during Media Day ahead of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on May 26, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Ex-Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is looking like a worry-free man these days.
The routine is a simple one, really. He drives his daughters around, he golfs, play the drums, and puts on a jersey and shakes some hands every now and then as a team ambassador. It’s not the worst landing spot some four months and change after doctors told him that his hip wouldn’t be able to handle the rigors of pro hockey.
And Rask’s jump into life as a Boston resident and nothing more has also been a pleasant surprise.
,I’m just happy to interact with the fans without… the BS,” Rask, a lightning rod on both ends of the spectrum throughout his career, admitted. “You guys don’t have to chirp me [and] I don’t have to keep my guard up all the time. So it’s actually fun. The people are great. I’m looking forward to that: just being around and hanging out, and being part of the community.
Being part of that community includes participation in last Thursday’s Boston Pride Hockey (a LGBTQ+ non-profit) scrimmage at Warrior Ice Arena. (Rask had to borrow Patrice Bergeron’s skates and Charlie McAvoy’s stick to take part in the event.) It also includes enjoying a Metallica set at Boston Calling last month. And having a little fun with fans who spotted him at the US Open last week in Brookline, informing them to “tell Twitter” that he was coming back next season.
,[Boston’s] has been so welcoming to me. After my retirement, I mean, it was almost like overwhelming support,” said Rask.
As for hockey, it’s hit and miss.
Rask admitted that he’s hardly watched this year’s Stanley Cup Final. He measured his viewing experience at “a period and a half.” For the 35-year-old, who went to three Finals (two as a starter and another as a backup), he knows what’s going on in both the Lightning and Avalanche dressing rooms. He admits that knowing that takes a bit of the allure away from him.
He also got to experience some of the Black and Gold’s first-round series against the Hurricanes from the stands. He said it was an interesting experience to watch it that close without the direct attachment, and that it made him both miss and not at all. There’s not much time to sit around and wonder what to do next when there’s three daughters to attend at all times. And Rask admitted to me that once you flip that switch from playing to retirement, there’s really nowhere else to go.
And while the winningest goalie in team history was unable to go out the way he wanted to — Rask struggled to the tune of a 2-2-0 record, .844 save percentage, and 4.28 goals against average before the hip gave out on him and his comeback attempt — Rask was rewarded with an impossible-to-understand third-place All-Star team vote in the NHL’s end-of-season awards.
Something that came with a perfectly Rask reply when notified of that nod.
“Was it you? It wasn’t you? Maybe it was me,” Rask joked. “That’s good. Great season. Somebody told me the other day, ‘Hey, great season.’ And I was like, ‘Are you f–king kidding me? What?'”
Maybe the ‘BS’ hasn’t left at all.
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Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the PHWA since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.