The NHL’s hardened Canadian bubble has helped hockey skate circles around the coronavirus. But it requires a major sacrifice from the players, one that some of them may not be able to make indefinitely.
Case in point: Bruins goalie Tukka Rask has opted out for the remainder of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.
“I want to be with my teammates competing, but at this moment there are things more important than hockey in my life, and that’s being with my family,” Rask said in a statement, via ESPN.com. “I want to thank the Bruins and my teammates for their support and wish them success.”
The Bruins support Rask’s decision.
“We understand completely where Tuukka is coming from,” Bruins G.M. Don Sweeney said. “I don’t think it’s any big surprise to us, to be honest. We were privy to some information before the rest of the public. This has been a difficult decision for Tuukka. But the Boston Bruins are in full support of why he made this decision.
“His family is safe and healthy. But with a newborn and two other young girls it’s been challenging. It’s nothing specific. Fortunately, his family is healthy. To have their dad back to be around on a regular basis is exactly what Tuukka needs to do at this point in time.”
The NFL could face a similar situation, if the league converts the current trend toward “voluntary” local bubbles into something less voluntary — and if the NFL Players Association secures in return for a hardened team-by-team bubble the ability of players to tap out at any time.