Tuukka Rask offers insights on health status, future with Bruins

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Tuukka Rask addresses health status, future with Bruins originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Tuukka Rask was a steady presence for the Bruins in their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff victory over the Washington Capitals. But the Boston goaltender still doesn't feel fully healthy heading into Round 2.

"Game feels good. Health is OK," Rask told WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" on Friday. "I’ve been playing, so that’s OK. It’s not as good as I’d want it to be, but obviously I’ve been playing and practicing. I’m out there. That’s all that matters."

Rask missed several weeks due to an upper-body injury in March and April and played sparingly down the stretch as rookie Jeremy Swayman emerged as the leading goaltender. Head coach Bruce Cassidy went back to Rask in the postseason, though, and the 34-year-old has delivered, stopping 95.9% of Capitals shots over Games 3 through 5 to help the Bruins close out the series.

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Rask is set to become a free agent after the season and sparked some speculation about his future prior to the Capitals series by responding, "I’ll talk to you after the season. You’ll find out," when asked if he felt physically able to play next season.

Rask clarified Friday that that comment was strictly health-related and had nothing to do with his contract. On the contract front, Rask said he'll wait until after the playoffs to decide what's next.

"If you’re talking contract status, we haven’t had any discussions during the playoffs. We’ll find out," Rask said. "There’s going to obviously be some decisions to be made. We’ll see. There’s no pressure about that. I’m sure we’re going to have good talks and come to a conclusion that pleases everybody."

Rask also seemed confident his body would hold up going forward, and that any decision to stop playing wouldn't be for physical reasons.

"With my style, I could probably play 10 more years if I wanted to. It’s just a matter of how long you want to play," he said. "That’s the question I have to ask myself. How long do I want to keep (going)? It takes a lot of time and effort every season to prepare yourself and go through that grind, so those are the questions I have to ask.

“Because if you sign a contract and you play, you have to commit to it. You don’t want to be second-guessing yourself midway through the season -- why did I keep playing, or you’re totally checked out. I could play 10 more years with my style of hockey, but I’m definitely not gonna play that long. It’s just a matter of how long I want to keep grinding out."

Rask has yet to win a Stanley Cup as Boston's starting goaltender, but his quest will continue Saturday night in Game 1 of the second round against the New York Islanders at TD Garden.