Tuukka Rask of the Bruins played with a torn hip labrum and could miss the start of next season in the NHL
NHL players tend to eliminate injuries during the playoffs, but what Tuukka Rask played during the Bruins’ playoffs is absurd.
As Rask confirmed to reporters in Friday morning exit interviews, he suffered a torn hip labrum during the playoffs. He will need surgery to fix the problem.
“I have a torn labrum on my hip. I’m going to have an operation,” Rask said, by Nick Goss of NBC Sports Boston. “I just don’t know what the exact date is, probably in a month. I’ll start the recovery process and then we’ll see what the future holds. I hope the recovery goes well and I’m ready to go. play hockey at some point next year.
It was clear in the last two games of the Bruins series against Islanders that Rask wasn’t quite himself. He only played two periods against New York in Game 5, giving up four goals on 16 shots, before retiring. Boston coach Bruce Cassidy has confirmed that Rask has “some maintenance to do” in the final period of the game.
In Game 6, Rask saved 23 of 27 shots but didn’t look 100%. He wasn’t moving as well as he had earlier in the series. After the Bruins were eliminated, Cassidy hinted that Rask needed surgery.
Now we know why. That Rask was able to stay on the ice with a torn hip labrum is impressive. However, playing despite the injury could cost him playing time next season.
Rask has said he wants to play in Boston again next year, but won’t be able to return until January at the earliest.
“I want it (I want to play next year). Mentally, I’m ready for this,” Rask said. “The physical aspect, I hope everything goes well. We would probably consider a return to hockey in January or February. That’s kind of the plan, and hopefully it will work. “
Admittedly, if Boston wants Rask (a free agent) to return, leaving him on the sidelines to start the season isn’t ideal.
A question also follows; Did Boston really have to start Rask at less than 100%?
The Bruins have a lot of talent for goaltending. Their replacement, Jeremy Swayman, posted a 7-3-0 record, a .945 save percentage and a 1.50 goals-against average in 10 regular season starts. And veteran Jaroslav Halak (9-6-4 record, 0.905 SV percentage, 2.53 GAA) was also available.
Of course, doing either one over with Rask would have been a risk. Swayman is an inexperienced rookie and allowed a goal on three shots against the Islanders relieving Rask in Game 5. Halak struggled towards the end of the season after dropping off the COVID list and saw Swayman pass him on the depth board.
But both had an advantage over Rask: they were presumably in good health.