BOSTON (CBS) — Just weeks away from his 33rd birthday, having played a whole lot of hockey in recent years (including a run through mid-June last season), Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is looking forward to getting some rest.
In order to get that rest, though, Rask will have to skip the upcoming NHL All-Star Game, and he’ll have to take the one-game suspension which the league mandates as an accompaniment to such a decision.
Rask spoke reporters in Philadelphia on Monday night and said that despite the honor of being named an All-Star for just the second time of his career, he’s opting for rest and recovery.
“First of all, it’s a great honor to be chosen, obviously. And these decisions are tough,” Rask said. “But I had to be kind of selfish, thinking how much hockey we played last year, and the short summer, and thinking of playing until June again. This [All-Star] game falling right basically in the middle of our bye week, so I wouldn’t be able to do anything with the family. So it was kind of a selfish decision to spend time with the family and go away and get your mind and body kind of rejuvenated and be ready for the last couple busy months of the season.”
Rask said he had the support of the Bruins with his decision.
“They were fine with it. I gave them a heads up,” he said. “I talked to Goalie Bob [goaltenders coach Bob Essensa] even way before the break, if there’s a possibility that I’m going that it might be more beneficial for me to sit somewhere else and take the break. But yeah, they were supportive. Very supportive.”
The Bruins’ final game before All-Star weekend will be on Jan. 21, a home date vs. Vegas on a Tuesday night. Instead of flying to St. Louis for the weekend and participating in the skills competition and the game itself, Rask and the non-All-Star Bruins will get a solid nine days of rest. They’ll return to game action on Friday, Jan. 31, in Winnipeg.
“Just because it falls in the middle of the bye week, you want that break, and you want to spend some time with your family. In this case, it relaly wouldn’t be a possibility,” Rask said. “Nobody really wants to make the league look bad or anything like that. It’s just, sometimes you have to be selfish and make those decisions, thinking of your family and the second part of the season.”
As for where he’ll spend that break?
“Going somewhere tropical,” he said when asked if he’ll be heading to his native Finland. “Not going to Finland, though. It’s too cold.”