BOSTON (CBS) — Physically, Tuukka Rask feels as though he can play 10 more years in the NHL. Mentally, he’s got some more contemplating to do.
Rask was a guest on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Friday morning, ahead of the Bruins’ second round playoff series against the Islanders. The 34-year-old — whose contract expires whenever the Bruins’ postseason run ends — was asked if he knows what he will be doing next year and beyond.READ MORE: Hurley: It Was A Great Run But ... It Feels Like The Red Sox Kind Of Blew It In ALCS
“Yeah, I mean, with my style, I could probably play 10 more years if I wanted to. It’s just a matter of how long you want to play and that’s the question I ask myself. You know, how long do I want to keep doing this? Because, you know, it takes a lot of time and effort every season to prepare yourself and go through that grind. So those are the questions I gotta ask. Because if you sign a contract and you play, you have to commit to it and you don’t want to be second-guessing yourself midway through the season, ‘Why did I keep playing?’ when you’re just like totally checked out.”
Rask added: “So I could play 10 more years with my style of hockey but I’m most likely or definitely not going to play that long. It’s just a matter of how long I’m gonna keep grinding it out.”
Rask shined for the Bruins in their first round series win over the Capitals, going 4-1 with a .941 save percentage and 1.81 goals-against average. He’s in the final season of the eight-year, $56 million deal he signed after the 2013 season, when he backstopped the Bruins with a .940 save percentage as the team made it to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Blackhawks.READ MORE: Red Sox Season Ends With 5-0 Loss In Game 6 Of ALCS In Houston
Rask missed several weeks during the 2021 regular season due to a back injury. He returned to make nine starts, going 7-1-0 with a .923 save percentage. He’s since played the five playoff games, but he said his health status right now is not exactly perfect.
“Health is OK. I’ve been playing, so that’s … that’s OK,” Rask said. “Not as good as I would want to be, but obviously I’ve been playing and practicing. So I’m out there. That’s all that matters.”
Given the emergence of young goaltender Jeremy Swayman this year, an ideal scenario for the Bruins may be to re-sign Rask for two or three more years, with Swayman getting 20-30 starts per season over the next few years before taking over in net. Rask’s answer made it seem like that could be a possibility, but seemingly just as easily could not be a possibility.
“There’s gonna be obviously some decisions to be made. And we’ll see. There’s no pressure about that. I’m sure we’re gonna have good talks and come to a conclusion that pleases everybody,” Rask said.MORE NEWS: Celtics Blown Out By Raptors In Boston's Home Opener, 115-83
With the odd COVID-adjusted schedule this year, clarity on Rask’s future will happen fairly quickly after the postseason run, one would assume. For now, Bruins management and Bruins fans will be hoping that Rask’s decision time is pushed off as long as possible.