BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins will be without Tuukka Rask for an undetermined amount of time.
The team announced Friday that Rask has been granted a leave of absence from the team. The Bruins offered no further details, aside from saying the leave of absence relates “to a personal matter.”
General manager Don Sweeney spoke shortly after the announcement and said that Rask’s absence is not health related.
Team captain Zdeno Chara spoke to the media later in the day, saying that Rask made a decision to step away and hoping that the matter gets “solved” quickly.
“We respect that. It’s obviously very important and we support his decision and hopefully it’s going to be solved soon and he’s going to be back with us,” Chara said. “Obviously we miss him. He’s our teammate, he’s our brother, he’s been here for a long time. But, like I said, we all understand and respect his privacy. In his absence, we support him and think of him. And we have to obviously play without him. Like I said, we’re looking forward to have him back.”
Alternate captain Patrice Bergeron also expressed support for Rask.
“Obviously I’m not going to go into any details, because I don’t know them, just like you guys. It’s a personal issue, and right here, we’re behind him and supporting him 100 percent,” Bergeron said. “So that’s all I can say. He’s a great friend and we’re all here for him.”
Rask, 31, replaced Jaroslav Halak during Thursday night’s 8-4 loss to Vancouver. Rask allowed three goals on the 14 shots he faced, after Halak had allowed five goals on 19 shots.
“I was just trying to keep it under 10 [goals allowed] — that’s what I was worried about,” Rask said after Thursday’s loss. “But yeah, you know, like I said, a loss is a loss, it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. It was kind of a crazy game both ways. You know, a lot of goals scored and there was – at the end it looked like everyone was napping in the crowd. It was just one of those games where there wasn’t a whole lot of action on either end – low shots and you know all of a sudden it’s 5-3, 8-5 whatever. So yeah, weird game but that’s entertainment and we’re just providing it.”
Rask has started seven games this season, posting a 4-4-0 record with a 3.05 GAA and .901 save percentage.
“Yeah, long season,” he also said Thursday. “Sometimes you let in more goals than other nights. Today … more than I would have liked, probably more than Jar would have liked. Moving on. That’s it.”
The Bruins next play on Saturday night, at home against Toronto, before hosting the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday night. After that, the Bruins hit the road for a four-game swing through Colorado (on Wednesday), Dallas (on Friday), Arizona (on Saturday) and Detroit (on Nov. 21).
Rask is currently in the fifth season of an eight-year, $56 million contract.