After taking a few days off on personal leave, Tuukka Rask has rejoined the Boston Bruins. That means Dan Vladar’s time with the team has come to an end, as he is on his way back to the Providence Bruins. Making the trip the other way is Jakub Zboril, while the team announced that Jeremy Lauzon and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson will both stay on regular recall.
Rask did not explain the exact circumstances surrounding his absence, but did issue a heartfelt thank you to the Bruins organization and committed to being back and ready to work:
First and foremost I want to thank all the people who sent me messages and contacted me and supported me. Second of all I want to thank the Boston Bruins for giving me the opportunity to take time off with my family. I’ve never been more proud to be a part of this family, the Boston Bruins, because we talk a lot about how this is a family and we are a family and take care of each other when times are tough.
That being said, I have a job. My job is to be a hockey goalie for the Boston Bruins, and I also have another job title and that’s a family man. This was a time that deep inside my heart I felt like I needed to take time to be with my family, and make things right so I could be back here and focus on my job. That took three days. I’m back here, I’m back to work, and I’m ready to battle with these guys. At the end of the day, I realized that a hockey career is a very short career, but that your life is much longer than that. I appreciate that I got the privacy and time I needed, and I’m ready to move on now.
Even before Rask’s absence the Bruins were going through something of a goaltending controversy, given the outstanding play of backup Jaroslav Halak this season. The 33-year old Halak now has a .945 save percentage on the season and looks like he’s found the fountain of youth. His play has earned him even more playing time, especially with Rask’s struggles at times this season. Whether those struggles had to do with the personal issues is unclear, but if he’s put things behind him and can get back to the solid starting goaltender that he’s been for a decade, the Bruins should have one of the best tandems in the league.
As for Zboril, any playing time during this call-up would be the first of his NHL career. The 21-year old defenseman was infamously selected 13th overall in 2015, the first of three consecutive first round picks by the Bruins. Given the fact that Zboril and Zachary Senyshyn have still not made their NHL debuts—and Jake Debrusk, the other pick has only played 87 games—Boston has received quite a bit of criticism for passing on several other star players picked later in the round. Mathew Barzal (16th), Kyle Connor (17th), Thomas Chabot (18th), Brock Boeser (23rd) and Travis Konecny (24th) have all arguably found more success than the three Boston picks combined, something that Zboril will look to change if he gets into the lineup.