Tuukka Rask said he has used the last two months to take his mind off hockey, be present at home, and enjoy the family time.
But his competitive fire still burns.
In February, Rask openly pondered his future in a chat with the Globe, wondering if his current deal, worth $7 million per annum through 2020-21, would be the last of his career.
Speaking to local reporters on a video call Monday, the Bruins goaltender sounded as though he might stick around a while, noting that he and the team can talk about an extension this summer.
Players on multiyear deals can begin speaking with their teams about contract extensions when their final year begins (normally, that would be July 1).
“When that day comes, we’ll see what happens,” Rask, 33, said from his Newton home. “But definitely haven’t put any thought into retirement or nothing like that. We’ll see how this season plays out and we’ll see if there’s extension talks happening.”
Does he have an end date in mind?
“I’ve never really thought of that, really — the age, number, that I would play until,” he said. “I think a lot of it has to do with how much you want to keep playing, is your body healthy, and do you have that passion for the game still?
"It’s not necessarily 40 or 36 or whatever. You’ll play as long as you can and your body feels healthy and you want to keep doing it.
“So far, I still have that passion of winning and playing. The winning drives me. I haven’t put a number into it, at what age it might be. But we’ll see. Maybe it’s 36, 37, maybe it’s 42. Z [Zdeno Chara] is still playing and he’s getting older. Maybe I’ll be the goalie who plays until he’s 45. Maybe not.”
Three weeks ago, Rask’s wife, Jasmiina, gave birth to their third daughter, Livia. Rask said his main role is handling older daughters Vivien, who recently turned 6, and Adelie, who turns 4 in July.
Rask, an avid tennis player and golfer in the offseason, said he hasn’t done anything to keep his reflexes sharp.
“I haven’t been too worried about that,” Rask said. “I know if and when we start practicing and skating again, there’s going to be a few weeks to get everything back to normal.”
Rask did not skate at all last offseason following Boston’s run to the Stanley Cup Final.
“The past two seasons kind of combined together, it felt like,” he said.
After a tremendous postseason in 2019, he submitted a Vezina-caliber season in 2019-20, ranking tops in goals-against average (2.12) and second in save percentage (.929) and shutouts (5) at the time of the pause. He’s confident he and the Bruins can recapture their league-best form (44-14-12, 100 points).
“Obviously it’ll be way different than what we’re used to, but I don’t think it’ll make a huge difference,” he said. “Once we get into small group workouts and get the ball rolling, I’m sure everybody starts feeling comfortable playing hockey again. Whatever kind of season we’ll have, it’ll be hockey like it used to be.”
Players schedule their offseasons with an end date in mind, building toward training camp and games. There is no such framework now.
“I haven’t stressed about that at all,” Rask said. “I like to stay active and keep somewhat of a routine daily. I’ve been going for walks and jogs and working out and waking up early. I think that helps.
"I haven’t thought of any date we can start playing, because nobody knows. For me, that just saves my energy. If you start worrying and thinking we might play then or then, you’re wasting energy. That’s not good, for me, at least.
“Having a few kids at home keeps you busy. It keeps your head outside of hockey pretty easily. I haven’t stressed about playing hockey at all. I’m just trying to stay mobile and keep myself in somewhat of a shape. If we start ramping things up, then I’ll be ready for it.”
He does still need to blow off steam.
“Luckily I have my drum set in the basement,” he said.
“It’s definitely challenging when you’re used to playing hockey at a competitive level and all of a sudden you have nothing, just diaper duty and babysitting. It’s not easy.
"We’ve managed the past couple months. At least now the golf courses are opening up and maybe you can play some tennis soon. That’ll help the cause.”
Rask also said he “couldn’t be happier” that Jaroslav Halak re-signed for another season. He feels the split workload of recent seasons has extended his career, and the two netminders “get along super well.”
In the meantime, others are worrying about the larger issues within the sporting world.
“I think the biggest question probably for everybody is if we are to resume play, how can we keep everybody safe?” Rask said. “That’s my question too, in my head.
"And on another note too, it doesn’t feel right to take guys away from their families at many, many months at a time. I don’t think that’s even an option now.
"Most importantly, the safety of the players: What happens if somebody gets infected or gets this disease, what’s going to happen then?
"I’m sure those are the questions they’re trying to find the answers to. Before that happens, I don’t think there’s any hockey, or any sports.”