BOSTON — After a 15-year career in which he etched his name on the Stanley Cup and the Vezina Trophy, Tuukka Rask is focusing now on avoiding the rink.
“Don’t even go there. Not yet,” the retired Bruins goalie said Thursday night when asked if his daughters had taken up hockey. “They’re into dance and whatnot. If I have to go and spend my days at hockey rinks, so be it. But not really at the top of my list.”
A two-time All-Star, and the winner of the 2014 Vezina as the NHL’s top goalie, Rask announced his retirement last month after a setback in his attempt to come back from a torn labrum in his hip. The Bruins invited him back to drop the ceremonial first puck before Thursday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils, and again — perhaps for the last time — the chants of “Tuuuuk!” echoed through the TD Garden.
“It’s a good way for him to kind of say bye to the fans,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said after the 8-1 win over New Jersey. “I don’t think he really had that moment. He deserved to be honored for all that he did for this team and the city.”
Rask took the ice with his wife, and their three daughters dressed for a ballet class. He bumped fists with the players on the Bruins bench while both teams tapped their sticks on the ice to salute him.
“I don’t know what the future holds,” Rask told reporters beforehand, saying that he would be showing up at games and golf outings as a team ambassador. “Maybe I’ll get into coaching. Maybe not, but for now, I’ll be hanging out with sponsors.”
The franchise’s all-time leader in wins, Rask helped the Bruins allow the fewest goals in the NHL in the pandemic-interrupted 2019-20 season, when Boston finished with the most points in the league. He injured his hip during the 2021 playoffs and worked his way back to the team midway through this season.
But after just four starts, he aggravated his injury on Jan. 24 against the Anaheim Ducks. Two weeks later, he announced he was through.
“It was kind of time to be honest with yourself,” he said. “I just figured it was better for everybody to call it. I had a great career. No regrets.”
While his hip still has some good days, Rask said no one could talk him out of retirement. His immediate future will involve as much golf as he can squeeze in between shuttling his daughters to dance class and school.
He may need a hip replacement at some point.
“It was at a point where it affected my everyday life,” Rask said. “I’m a guy who makes pretty quick decisions, anyway. So I wasn’t dwelling on it too long.”
Rask was 308-165-66 with a 2.28 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in a franchise-leading 564 games. He was the backup goalie for the Bruins team that won it all in 2011, and he led the team to Stanley Cup Final appearances in 2013 and ’19.
Although coaching is not in his plans, Rask said he would be available if Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman wants him.
“I told him right after I retired: Tell me if you need anything,” Rask said. “Just make sure you don’t get too high or too low.”