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Tuukka Rask Returns To Bruins After Leave Of Absence

BOSTON (CBS) -- Tuukka Rask is back with the Bruins.

The goaltender was on the ice for the start of practice on Tuesday morning at the team's practice facility in Brighton, in advance of the team's road trip to Colorado, Dallas and Arizona this week.

The Bruins announced on Friday that the 31-year-old netminder would be taking a leave of absence to deal with a personal matter. Neither the team, nor Rask, nor his teammates added any further explanation, leaving a bit of a mystery surrounding the goaltender's absence.

Rask said on Tuesday that it remained a personal matter, but thanked the Bruins and all of those who reached out and offered their support.

"I want to thank all the people who sent me messages and contacted me and supported me. Secondly, I want to thank the Boston Bruins for giving me the opportunity to take time off with my family," said Rask. "I've never been more proud to be a part of this family, the Boston Bruins, because this is a family. We take care of each other when times are tough.

"I have a job, and my job is to be a hockey goalie for the Boston Bruins. I also have another job title, and that's a family man," he continued. "This was a time when, deep inside my heart, I needed to take time to be with my family to make things right and be back here and focus on my job. That took three days and I'm back here, back to work and ready to battle with these guys.

"I realize hockey careers are a very short career, but your life is much longer than that," said Rask, adding that everything is at peace in his mind.

Rask has started seven games this season, posting an uncharacteristically high 3.05 goals-against average and uncharacteristically low .901 save percentage. Those numbers are affected in large part by Rask's season debut, during which he allowed five goals on 19 shots. Since then, Rask has played more like his usual self, going 4-3-0 with a .917 save percentage and 2.49 GAA.

Meanwhile Jaroslav Halak, who was brought to Boston as Rask's backup, has been arguably the best goaltender in the NHL. Halak has posted a .945 save percentage and 1.77 GAA while posting a 6-1-0 record. Halak started both Bruins games in Rask's absence, winning them both.

The team plays in Colorado on Wednesday night.


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