Tuukka Rask left the Bruins for a “medical emergency” concerning one of his older daughters, according to a Boston radio host who said he spoke with the goaltender this week.
Greg Hill said on his WEEI radio show Tuesday that Rask told him a phone call from his wife spurred him to leave the NHL bubble in Toronto.
“I believe Tuukka Rask did what every parent would do and was obviously very concerned,” Hill said. “It was suggested they seek medical help.”
Rask and his wife, Jasmiina, have three daughters: Vivien, 6, Adelie, 4, and Livia, four months.
In discussing Rask’s decision to opt out this past Saturday, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was protective of the goaltender’s privacy. He did say, however, that Rask was not departing because of an emergency. He said Rask was leaving because it was “increasingly more and more difficult” for him to stay focused on the postseason.
“Fortunately his family is safe and healthy, but with a newborn and two other young girls, you know it’s been challenging for Tuukka,” Sweeney said Saturday. “They’re going to have their dad back to be around on a regular basis.”
Rask’s agent, Brett Peterson, told the Globe that Rask had no further comment.
On his radio show, Hill said Rask did tell him the nature of the medical situation.
“I can tell you that he got a phone call in the bubble from his wife, because there was a medical emergency with their daughter,” Hill said.
“As a father of two kids, I would be panicked and alarmed upon hearing that about a young kid. Again, without necessarily revealing what he would not want me to reveal, he did speak to his daughter, and his daughter did express something to him about where he was and what her situation was, which I think would lead any father — any parent, especially one who feels like that’s their most important job, parenting — to want to rush to be with their family at that time.
“Personally, I can’t imagine being away from your family, away from your young kids, hearing your daughter say what she said, and not being panicked.
“So he made the decision to come home, and I think he knew that there was no way while that was going on that he would be the best teammate, be the best goaltender for that team that is in the middle of the Stanley Cup playoffs.”
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said he last communicated with Rask on Sunday.
“I wanted to make sure his wife and daughters were doing well,” Cassidy said before Game 5 Wednesday. “It sounded like things were going better.”
David Pastrnak returned for Wednesday’s clincher against the Hurricanes in Game 5.
Pastrnak was “feeling much better,” Cassidy said, and tested his undisclosed injury in warm-ups. On the No. 1 line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, Pastrnak landed a game-high five shots on six attempts, in 20:34.
“Obviously felt better every shift,” Pastrnak said. “It was good to be back with the guys. Any time you’re watching the games from the stands, it’s tough. Really happy I was back and a great series.”
With Pastrnak returning, Anders Bjork was scratched. The third-year winger landed four shots and took three minor penalties in four games and is 0-0—0 for the playoffs. Jack Studnicka (team-low 9:37 in Game 5) remained in the lineup.
Setting the tone
Young defenseman Connor Clifton (team-high five hits) has given the Bruins three solid performances in a row, including a goal and an assist in Game 4. He was the team Corsi champ; when Clifton was on the ice in this series at five on five, the Bruins controlled shot attempts, 35-18, and shots, 20-9. He was not scored upon.
Before that, his only meaningful game action of 2020 was on March 10, the Bruins’ last game before the pandemic hit. Clifton played in last year’s Stanley Cup Final run, but had rust to shake after his Dec. 29 upper-body injury.
In praising Clifton for making the most of his chances, Cassidy noted how Bergeron and Zdeno Chara set the Bruins’ cultural tone. The coach also saluted John Moore.
Despite a 580-game résumé (including 48 in the playoffs), Moore, 29, is an eighth defenseman. He last played March 10, as Clifton (25) and Jeremy Lauzon (23) play ahead of him.
“Probably one of the ultimate professionals in his preparation, ready to play,” Cassidy said of Moore. “A veteran guy in this league. No maintenance. Just digs in every day, and I think when he does that, it’s pretty easy for the Cliftons and the Lauzons when they’re not in the lineup to follow suit. Especially with his résumé. It helps to have those guys on board, tremendously.”
At even strength, Carolina did not score on the Bergeron line, which mostly drew the Jordan Martinook-Sebastian Aho-Teuvo Teravainen trio … Ondrej Kase took a head shot from Martinook with 50 seconds left in the second period. As Kase was hunting the puck, Martinook ran him into the boards, head-first. Kase, who has a concussion history, was slow to get up. He remained in the game, skating 3:32 in the final period ... In the third period at five on five, the Bruins limited the Hurricanes to one shot … Commentator Mike Milbury said on NBCSN’s broadcast that one of his former Bruins teammates, Bobby Schmautz, had a “serious health issue. He was a terrific guy, terrific teammate, terrific goal scorer. We wish him the very best.”