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Reacting To Tuukka’s Opt Out

We’re a few days removed from Tuukka Rask’s departure from the Toronto Bubble. His decision comes a day after saying the games don’t feel real. It was a wild 24 hours on the internet for Bruins twitter- a place that is known for their rational and sound-minded takes.

Announcement of the Opt Out

Waking up to see that Tuukka opted out was more confusing than waking up and seeing Zayn left One Direction. Maybe it was the hangover but also, the timing of it seemed so suspicious. I jumped on the “Let Tuukka Take Care of Himself and His Family” train because I have a heart. Other people jumped on the, “He’s a coward and chickened out after playing like garbage” bandwagon. Seems kind of foolish to me but then again, I’ve never been one to blame another person for a serious decision like this.

Taking It All On

Like I said, dealing with a hangover and this sucky news was not the ideal start to my day. I planned on grubbing wings and watching the Bruins kick the Canes’ asses. No. In Typical Bruins fashion, they went on to frustrate me. People were ripping Tuukka a new one for wanting to be with his family. It was hard to see a lot of mental health advocates saying really negative things toward a man who was more than likely dealing with some heavy issues.

Mulling It All Over

After I cured the hangover and put the Bruins’ loss behind me, the reality of it set in. Regardless of Rask’s history of opting out or “quitting”, it’s hard to blame the guy for making a decision of this caliber. For those of you who don’t know, Tuukka Rask has three young daughters, including a four month old. Family time is important. No one can argue that.

The timing of his departure is suspicious. It comes a day after his comments criticizing the game and the atmosphere. He didn’t make these comments after the win, but somehow it impacted his ability during a loss. Make that make sense, Tuuks. He doesn’t owe anyone an explanation and the fans and media are not entitled to one.

Former WEEI writer, Matt Kalman sent out a tweet that set off alarm bells. People were blaming him for being a quitter and leaving his team during the playoffs. Critics felt the need to chime in on the fact that he had plenty of time to decide on leaving his family behind. Life happens. Being a rich athlete does not mean you are excluded from the curveballs life has to throw. Sometimes, there are things bigger than hockey.

My Suspicions

Tuukka Rask is one of my favorite hockey players. Yes, he struggles during the postseason and shaking the rust off every October. That doesn’t mean he’s Martin Jones. Please, use your brain.

I don’t have any suspicions or theories as to why Rask left. Whatever led him to that decision making is his and his family’s business. His struggles shouldn’t be our headlines and up for us to debate. Imagine if someone laid out your most vulnerable moments on the internet and a bunch of avi-less twitter users decided to pick them apart? I would be humiliated.

Sure, it does come with the territory and the least he could do for $7 million a year, would be to at least try at play. Under normal circumstances, I would be scratching my head a little more but right now we are in the middle of a pandemic and being away from our loved ones is ridiculously hard. Life doesn’t stop just because parts of the world does. The bills still roll on in and so does the bad news.

Best of luck to the Rask family.

-Jessica Belmosto

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