In Defense of Tuuka Rask, and the Flyers, too

The President’s Cup winning Boston Bruins were eliminated last night. Normally I would be doing a dance of joy (OK, part of me still is), but since the Flyers face the same fate this evening, my joy is tempered. I logged into my social media accounts a bit late this morning, dreading the end of season coming posts.

As I waded through the Flyers bashing and political in fighting, a post by a self-proclaimed Bruins for life fan caught my eye, a post that slammed Bruins goaltender Tuuka Rask for betraying his fans, his team, his coaches and pretty much anyone who had ever lived in the State of Massachusetts for opting out of the playoffs. I was in shock; how dare anyone question this?

To be clear, Rask has never stated exactly why he left, only that there was a family emergency with his daughter. There have been a few articles that quote Rask as saying his daughter told him she was scared, asking where he was, and telling him that she wanted her Daddy. This man, this hockey player, actually spoke with his team mates and coaches BEFORE he left the bubble to be with his daughter. I cannot imagine any man, no matter how dedicated he is to his job, being able to not go to his child in that situation. I personally would have been calling my coaches/boss from the plane to tell them I was leaving, so I think his dedication to his team is evident.

Now I will get on my soapbox for my Flyers. Claude Giroux, as I have written in previous blogs, missed his son Gavin’s first birthday. His wife was kind enough to share pictures of Gavin and his Daddy talking on social media. Flyers fans were kind enough to bash Claude, posting memes where Giroux was on the side of a milk carton, you know, missing. On a post of his baby. Sean Couturier left his daughter just DAYS after she was born to travel to the bubble, but fans want to know where his head is, too. James van Reimsdyk also left a new baby girl at home, who by my count is now about four months old. Where is his scoring, why is he not focused? Gee, you really have to ask? I have a friend who had to travel for business for less than a week when his son was about a year old. He cried the entire drive to the airport.

I understand that hockey players make far more in a season than I will ever see in my lifetime. I understand also, that they should be used to traveling, to being away from their loved ones. I get it, I do….but this is not your average hockey season. This is not your average anything season. Can you imagine, traveling for work, for several months, leaving your wife/girlfriend/spouse, children, friends, pets, EVERYTHING? Think about that, and then add angry hordes of bystanders criticizing your every move.

Do you think any of the Flyers are happy with their play, with the current situation? Claude Giroux is one of the most competitive people to inhabit this planet, so I doubt he is being any easier on himself than the throng of Flyers fans currently calling for his trade.

So tonight, if the Flyers are eliminated, please think before you bash. As you sit at home, on your couch, with your friends, family, cats and dogs beside you, think about what this team sacrificed to be in the bubble. Having dealt with watching their friend and teammate fight cancer, they went to Toronto to fight for all of us to have a little normal. I am more than happy with this season, even if it does end tonight. Oh, and my boss is an ISLANDERS fan, and I have done my fair share of trash talking, so if I can deal with this, you all can as well.

photo credit: NHL.com

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