It never takes long for Tuukka Rask to contemplate any decision he makes.
Perhaps it’s because his position as the Boston Bruins’ primary goaltender for the better part of the decade required more reactions than thinking with every shot he faced. Or maybe his Joe Cool-like demeanor keeps him content without holding any regrets.
Rask’s approach guided him to return to the Bruins after rehabbing from off-season hip surgery. He used that philosophy again after his hip issues flared up again following his final career start against the Anaheim Ducks on Jan. 24.
Instead of grinding out the rest of the year at less than 100 percent, Rask figured it was time to continue the era of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark between the pipes. With no regrets, the franchise’s all-time winningest netminder officially hung up the skates on Feb. 9.
“Playing that Anaheim game, I kind of stretched my groin and hip a bit, but then it just kept aggravating even more,” Rask said of his decision-making process. “And then it was kind of time to be honest with yourself. I figured I could’ve kept pushing, but what’s the benefit for me playing at 60 percent and kind of taking time off here, two weeks off there, and taking a spot away from Sway [Swayman]. So I figured it was beneficial for everyone to call it. I had a great career, and I have no regrets.”
Rask’s hip prevented him from establishing any rhythm in his brief comeback bid. After a brief stint in Providence to make room for Rask, Swayman picked up where he left off upon his return trip up I-95.
The Bruins found their groove a couple of weeks after Rask’s retirement. Even after a recent tough outing against the Maple Leafs, the Swayman-Ullmark tandem provided a significant development during their recent 24-game stretch as the Bruins compiled a 17-5-2 mark over that span.
Rask witnessed Swayman rise up the ranks during the COVID shortened 2021 campaign. He watched Swayman’s chemistry with Ullmark up close during his rehab. Now he looks forward to watching that chemistry between Ullmark and Swayman grow even further with each postgame victory hug.
“It’s great to have that chemistry,” Rask said before dropping the puck as part of the pregame ceremony honoring the Finn. “From what I understand it just kind of happened by accident, and [Swayman and Ullmark] kind of just kept doing it. So it’s good. Those are the fun stories that happen during the season, and they stuck with it. And hopefully, they get to do it very often.”
Despite the outspoken critics, the Bruins witnessed Rask develop into a top-tier goalie after acquiring him from Toronto for Andrew Raycroft in the 2006 Draft. Over his 12 years in Boston, Rask became ingrained in the tight-knit culture, rising up the ranks with Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara and David Krejci to name a few.
Rask will always consider Boston home. He can now enjoy the perks of retirement, like golfing and raising a family without any distractions.
“It’s great. Just a lot of family time. Driving kids to school, dance classes, couple rounds of golf, couple trips here and there,” Rask said of his post hockey life. “Easy living, not a whole lot.”
Father life and tee times aren’t Rask’s only transitions following retirement. Instead of manning the crease, Rask can now find comfort with his new brand ambassador role.
“I’m gonna be like a corporate sponsorship, whatever you want to call me. I’ll be hanging out with sponsors and golfing, shaking hands in suites and whatnot,” Rask said of his new day-to-day duties. “I’ve always been intrigued about the business side of things anyways. I don’t know what the future holds. Maybe I’ll get into coaching, maybe not, but for now I’ll be hanging out with sponsors.”
One other perk of Rask’s new position? He is rooting his team on in the stands with a passionate fanbase.
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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