Bruins goaltender Rask ends comeback, announces retirement





FILE – Boston Bruins forward Tuukka Rask (40) plays during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabers, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Buffalo, NY Rask signs a $1 million prorated contract for the remainder of the season with the Boston Bruins, according to a person with knowledge of the move. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, as the deal had not been announced. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

BOSTON (AP) — The winningest goaltender in Boston Bruins history calls it a career.

Citing his body’s inability to react after his recent return to the ice following offseason hip surgery, Tuukka Rask announced his retirement from the NHL on Wednesday.

“Today is a day that I hoped would never come. But now that it’s here, I feel I owe it to everyone to hear it from me,” the 34-year-old said. in a statement tweeted by the team. “Over the past few weeks, I’ve realized that my body isn’t reacting the way it needs to for me to play at the level I expected and that my teammates and Bruins fans deserve.

“Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I announce my retirement from the game of hockey.”

Rask ends his career with a career-high 308 wins and 14,345 saves. His .921 save percentage and 2.28 goals-against average are also the best among former Bruins goaltenders with at least 30 starts.

A two-time star player, he won the 2013-14 Vezina Trophy and the 2019-20 Jennings Trophy and was also the No. 2 goaltender on the 2010-11 Boston team that won the Stanley Cup.


Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) heads for the crease during a warm-up before the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday January 13, 2022, in Boston.  The Bruins signed Rask for the remainder of the season on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, bringing back the winningest goaltender in franchise history after recovering from hip surgery in the offseason.  (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) heads for the crease during a warm-up before the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday January 13, 2022, in Boston. The Bruins signed Rask for the remainder of the season on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, bringing back the winningest goaltender in franchise history after recovering from hip surgery in the offseason. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

But he played just 24 games last season as the team managed their workload while battling hip and back injuries. After a second-round loss to the New York Islanders, he revealed he needed hip surgery.

Rask was a free agent this summer and remained unsigned as he recovered from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. He agreed last month to a one-year prorated $1 million deal that was to pay him $545,000 for the rest of the season.

“When I made the decision to have hip surgery last summer, I did so knowing the road to recovery would be difficult,” he said in his statement. “I also knew it was something I had to do if I wanted to give myself a chance to play my best hockey again.”

In the end, Rask’s comeback only lasted four games.

He started skating with the Bruins again this winter and finally signed a pro tryout deal with Providence last month. But the AHL team played two games that were supposed to serve as their rehab starts because of COVID-19 protocols.

He decided to return to the NHL without the tune-ups and allowed two goals and stopped 25 shots on his season debut in Boston’s 3-2 win over Philadelphia on Jan. 14. But the Bruins have dropped in two of his next three starts with Rask allowing 12 goals. In his four games, he allowed 14 goals and made 76 saves.

Rask said last month that he never really considered retiring this offseason and that the motivation to return was to make one more run at a Stanley Cup and finish his career alongside his longtime teammates. date Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

“The most important point for me was that if I felt good, I wanted to try to come back,” he said. “The only thing I want to do at this point is try to help. I’m not looking for a big contract like I said before. I just want to come and help the guys and do my bit that way. ”

Instead, he leaves a Bruins team that is 27-15-3 and currently holds the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. Boston is also facing a period without two of its best players.

Bergeron skated cautiously to the bench after tangling with Sidney Crosby and crashing into the boards hard midway through the third period of Boston’s 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. He was ruled out for Thursday’s game against Carolina with a head injury.

Marchand was suspended for six games Wednesday night due to rough and high batting by Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry late in the third period the previous night. This is his eighth career suspension and his second this season.

Marchand received a match penalty with 25 seconds left after he punched Jarry in the head and pricked the goalie’s mask with his stick as a linesman escorted him away from the scrum. Marchand sat out three games for knocking down a Vancouver player in late November.

As for Rask, he said he left the ice with no regrets.

“Through all the ups and downs, I’m so grateful for all the support this team and the people of Boston have given me. I will miss everything that comes with representing the Boston Bruins,” Rask said in his statement. “I’m so proud to have worn the Spoked-B for my entire career and I wouldn’t have done it any other way.”

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