NBC analyst Mike Milbury criticized Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask for his decision to opt out of the Stanley Cup playoffs to be with his family.
Rask announced Saturday he would be leaving the team amidst the Bruins' quarterfinal series with the Carolina Hurricanes, with the matchup tied 1-1. The news came less than two hours before Game 3. Rask said he wanted to be his wife, two girls and newborn baby.
“Nobody's simply opted to leave the bubble just because they didn’t want to be here and they needed to be with their family," Milbury said during a segment on NHL on NBC. "I wouldn't have done it, the rest of the league’s players have not done it."
Milbury added Rask leaving is "going to be a difficult decision to swallow for Boston Bruins fans."
Mike Milbury knows first-hand what the Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens rivalry is all about. (Photo: NBC Sports)
Milbury, 68, is a former defenseman in the league, playing all 12 of his season with the Bruins.
In a statement, Rask said Saturday: "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. I want to thank the Bruins and my teammates for their support and wish them success."
The Bruins replaced Rask with veteran Jaroslav Halak for the rest of the series. General manager Don Sweeney was supportive of Rask's decision in a statement.
"We understand completely where Tuukka is coming from," he 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."
Mike Milbury on Tuukka Rask: “Nobodies simply opted to leave the bubble just because they didn’t want to be here and they needed to be with their family. I would’ve not have done it, the rest of the league’s players have not done it.” #NHLBruinspic.twitter.com/6Hc2tnuHVk
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