When Tuukka Rask opted out of the NHL playoffs in the middle of the first round, one of the many talking points that emerged came when Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said he hadn't talked to Rask on the day his goalie decided to leave and that he found out from general manager Don Sweeney.
That seemed odd and led many to wonder if there was something more going on when it came to the coach-goalie relationship.
Cassidy joined Dale and Keefe Tuesday as part of WEEI's Giving Tuesday broadcast to benefit The Jimmy Fund (get more info and donate here) and clarified that there was nothing unusual about Rask going to Sweeney and president Cam Neely first.
"Well, Cam and Donny were there [in the bubble]. Those decisions typically, when a player asks for a leave of absence or whatever it is, it usually goes through the GM first anyway, and it did," Cassidy said. "The timing of it, of course I think it could’ve been better for [backup Jaroslav Halak's] sake. Would I have preferred it a little bit sooner than that? Yes. But I can’t control what happens with a player’s family and the timing of that, so for me to judge that too harshly would be incorrect."
Rask has since explained the medical situation involving his daughter that made him decide to leave and has made it through an offseason that featured his name popping up in trade rumors.
It's clearer than ever that Rask, who is entering the final year of his contract, will in fact be the Bruins' starting goalie this season, and Cassidy said he fully supports that plan.
"I’m 100% on board with it," he said. "Tuukka’s come out and made perfectly clear why he made the decision to leave the bubble in Toronto. … At the end of the day, we know what Tuukka’s capable of. I think all that the players are concerned about, honestly, is, is he going to help us win? Is he going to help get us to where we want to go?
"When Tuukka came out and said my family’s in a great place, I’m in a great place, I’m ready to play hockey, I think that’s all we needed to hear. Listen, we’re a family. We support Tuukka and we’re ready to go. I think the guys are confident that he’s back in there."