By Ruthi Dubilo via HockeyHaunt.com
Most people know of Tuukka Rask as one of the best goalies in the National Hockey League and a bronze medal Olympic athlete but when it’s not “Tuukka Time” on the ice, Rask isn’t quite so intimidating. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Rask has been affectionately named the “sass master” by many of his fans and for good reason too. Diehard Bruins fans remember the milk crate incident in Providence like it was yesterday. He is also known for his tantrums following shootout losses as well as for struggling to break his stick no matter how hard he smashes it on the ice. Not to mention the times he has sworn casually in post-game interviews. If you’re looking for a quick witted response, Rask is your guy.
VIDEO : Milk Crate Incident in Providence.
The sass is entertaining but Rask off the ice gets even better. Rask nominated for the Vezina Trophy, an award given to the most outstanding goaltender, and highly favored to win. During media day, it became clear that Rask didn’t even know the name of the award he could win.
During the interview with the Bruins’ content specialist Caryn Switaj, Rask said, “I don’t really know what to expect, I’ve never been to a fancy thing like this. I’m excited to walk the red carpet tomorrow, see some fans and friends and doing the awards,” stumbling over his words at the end.
VIDEO: Tuukka Rask NHL Awards Video
He followed by saying, “I hope I win, but I kind of hope I don’t win because I don’t have a speech ready.”
His overall appearance during the interview was that he was uncomfortable and unprepared, smiling and laughing between answers and rocking slightly back and forth. Certainly not the extremely focused version of Rask that we see on the ice.
But all the sass and awkwardness is dwarfed by Rask’s compassion and charitable contributions. Rask will be accompanied by nine-year old cancer patient, Will Lacey of Braintree, Massachusetts at the NHL Awards.
Earlier this week, Rask took Lacey to John Varvatos in Boston where they both got fitted for suits for the event. Rask and Lacey will walk the red carpet together sporting their new JV attire.
Bruins fans recall that earlier this year Rask helped nine-year old Maddie Santotuosso pick out goalie gear and taught her some tricks at the Bruins’ practice at Ristuccia Arena through the Make A Wish Foundation. He then had a goalie mask commissioned for Santotuosso, looking strikingly similar to his own.
Rask is also a board member at the Shawn Thornton Foundation, started by his former teammate Thornton. The Foundation is dedicated to helping find cures for cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
So while Rask is an excellent contributor to the Bruins’ success on the ice, he is also a large part of the Boston community and an inspiration to all those who find themselves realizing they could be giving back just a little bit more.
Ruthi Dubilo can be reached at RuthiDubilo@hockeyhaunt.com