This one hits a little different. When Big Zee left it was a tough one, but he was still going to be out there on the sheet doing his thing. When Recchi left it was in the euphoric aftermath of a Stanley Cup and Rex got to ride into the sunset with a new ring. Even though Krejci went back to the Czech Republic, we’ve since kept a candle in the window for his return. When Tuukka Rask announced his retirement last week, (coming on the heels of a Patrice Bergeron injury and a Brad Marchand suspension) it felt like a seismic shift. The game vs. CAR was the first without any rostered players from the 2011 Stanley Cup. It had the feeling of a finale and Brownie no likey. Is it getting dusty in here?
Tuukka Rask will go down as the best goalie in the history of the Boston Bruins. There, your goddamn right I said it. You want proof? I’ll give it to you Dear Reader. His 308 career wins (all for the Boston Bruins) is number 1 all time and it’s not even close. In 2nd place is Tiny Thompson who played in the 1930’s and he trails Rask by 50 W’s. His career save percentage is .921% which is tied for 3rd all time. The only players ahead of him are Ken Dryden and Dominick Hasek: ever hear of them? As ridiculous as that save percentage is, Rask actually elevated it during the playoffs where he posted a .925% for his playoff career. He won the Vezina award in 2013 and somehow was the runner up in 2020 when he had a better GAA and Save% than the winner. More proof of the anti-Bruins bias at the NHL management level. Rask is a 2 time NHL All Star and won an Olympic bronze medal for his home country of Finland.
Rask is a Hall of Famer and we should see his number hang from the rafters of the TD Garden. Was his relationship with the Black and Gold Faithful complicated? Sure. But he was the best goddamn goalie any of them have ever seen. He didn’t take the game home with him and that bothered the couch experts here in the Hub of Hockey. He was the eternal cool cat manning the cage. He could shake off the game and move on. You have to have a short memory to play net, and Tuukka was a friggin’ goldfish when it came to that. You want someone to get in their own head and obsess over the last goal? Rask wasn’t your guy. He would say when he needed to play better, and he would say when the team needed to play better. It was pretty cut and dry with Rask. It’s the mark of an uneducated fan when they lay the blame solely on the goalie, especially in this case.
Tuukka Rask came back after a major surgery and gave it his all. When his game wasn’t up to the standard that he set for himself, he shut it down and made the difficult decision to hang them up. He leaves behind a legacy of greatness that the organization will be hard pressed to duplicate. Tuukka Rask didn’t get to leave the NHL on his own terms and he left games on the table. For that I’m sorry and I wish it didn’t end this way, but to be honest that’s me being selfish and wanting to see him back in the net flashing the leather and squared up to shooters. For Rask and his family, I’m glad that he’s able to spend the rest of his life doing whatever the hell he wants and is healthy and happy.
As always and forever: 2 U’s 2 K’s and “onnea ja jumalan siunausta”.