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Bruins' Rask granted leave of absence 'relating to a personal matter'

Matt Kalman
November 09, 2018 - 2:01 pm
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Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is 4-4-0 with a 3.05 goals-against average and .901 save, and he’s ceded some playing time in the Boston crease to Jaroslav Halak through the first 15 games of this season.

Perhaps there’s been more to his struggles than just positioning and adjusting to the smaller goaltending equipment. Maybe he's been distracted by something off the ice.

The Bruins announced Friday that the 31-year-old was granted a leave of absence relating to a personal matter.

After the Bruins practiced without Rask at Warrior Ice Arena, general manager Don Sweeney offered scant details pertaining to the netminder.

“Tuukka’s going to take a few days to address a personal matter,” Sweeney said. “It is not health related, so I think it’s important for everybody just to respect his privacy and allow him to deal with it for the next few days.”

Sweeney reiterated later that the timeline for now is for Rask to be gone a “few days” but that is subject to change.

In an email exchange with WEEI.com, Rask’s agent Markus Lehto echoed Sweeney's comments, writing: “personal matter, no additional comments.”

The Bruins head into a difficult home back-to-back this weekend against the Toronto Maple Leafs (Saturday) and Vegas Golden Knights (Sunday) without one half of their goaltending tandem. Halak has been outstanding with a 4-1-2 record, 1.96 GAA and .936 save percentage, but those totals took a hit when he allowed five goals on 19 shots in the Bruins’ 8-5 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

Rask replaced Halak in the second period of that game and didn’t fare much better, allowing three goals on 14 shots.

The Bruins’ goaltending depth will be tested if Rask’s absence lingers beyond the next few days. Their goaltending prospects with Providence of the American Hockey League have struggled to start this season. Zane McIntyre, the Bruins’ sixth-round pick (165th) in 2010, is 2-4-0 with a 3.86 GAA and .826 save percentage to start his fourth full professional season. He hasn’t played in the NHL since the 2016-17 season and he was 0-4-1 with a 3.97 GAA and .858 save percentage in eight games during that stint. Daniel Vladar, the Bruins’ third-round pick (75th) in 2015, has never played in the NHL and he’s 1-3-1 with a 2.81 GAA and .899 save percentage in his second pro season

The P-Bruins host Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday. Sweeney said the Bruins would announce their call up after that game.

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