NHL Rumors: Sabres, Canadiens, Blues, Bruins and Rask, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, it appears there is more clarification as to why Tuukka Rask left the NHL bubble and the Boston Bruins in the middle of a playoff run. Meanwhile, in Buffalo, there is news on what the Sabres might do about Brandon Mountour’s next contract. The St. Louis Blues got good and bad news on Tuesday, and are there questions for the Montreal Canadiens, specifically regarding what to do with Brendan Gallagher?

Rask Had a Family Emergency

On his show Tuesday, WEEI morning show host Greg Hill said he spoke to Tukka Rask about his decision to leave the Bruins — a choice Rask has received both support and heat for — and got further clarification on what fueled his decision.

Joe Haggerty appeared on TSN690 radio and said that he’s hearing Rask has lost his motivation to play hockey, but according to Hill, this is about something much more serious.

Tuukka Rask Boston Bruins
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Hill explained, I can tell you that he [Rask] got a phone call in the bubble from his wife, because there was a medical emergency with their daughter.” He added, “Basically the kind of situation where I believe Tuukka Rask did what every parent would do and was obviously very concerned.”

Hill went on to say that Rask was advised their family seek medical help for whatever is ailing her and said that after he spoke to his daughter it was clear what the right thing to do was. Hill adds:

… he did speak to his daughter and his daughter did express something to him about where he was and what her situation was, which I think would lead any father, any parent, especially one who feels like that’s their most important job, parenting, to want to rush to be with their family at that time. Personally, I can’t imagine being away from your family, away from your young kids, hearing your daughter say what she said, and not being panicked.

Hill said it was an easy decision to come home and that even if he were to have tried to stay and battle it out with his teammates, his head wouldn’t have been in the right place to be an effective goaltender.

Related: Bruins Will Rally Around Halak

Sabres To Let Montour Walk?

The Buffalo Sabres may have decided that defenseman Brandon Mountour is not worth the price they’ll be required to pay if they’d like to keep him. According to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News, speculation is out there that the team will leave Montour unqualified.

Brandon Montour, Buffalo Sabres
Brandon Montour, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Montour has had a somewhat bumpy start with the organization and when Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams was asked about the fact he’d need to play at least $3.525 million to keep Montour, if he’d elect not to do so, Adams said, “that’s definitely not something we’ve talked about.”

Tarasenko Getting Shoulder Checked Out

The St. Louis Blues got good and bad news Tuesday as it was revealed that Vladamir Tarasenko is leaving the team bubble and returning to St. Louis for further evaluation on his surgically repaired shoulder. He will likely miss the remainder of the series against the Vancouver Canucks.

St. Louis Blues Vladimir Tarasenko
St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (AP Photo/Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

Head coach Craig Berube said of the Tarasenko news: “I’m not going to jump to conclusions on anything. He’s not feeling right, so that’s why he’s going to get it looked at. It is concerning, but we’ve got to wait and see.”

The good news is that Berube says Ivan Barbashev has been “cleared” and will skate with the team. The Blues have battled back and are now tied 2-2 with the Canucks in their best-of-seven series. They play Wednesday night in the final game of the evening.

Related: Canadiens GM Showdown: Bergevin vs. Gauthier

Questions About Gallagher in Montreal?

After the Montreal Canadiens lost a close game on Tuesday to the Philadelphia Flyers and went down three games to one in the series, it’s certainly understandable there might some tension. The Canadiens are now on the brink of elimination.

But, Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher seemed to let it show a bit more than he might have liked during his post-game comments. Gallagher and Jonathan Drouin were benched for most of the third period as the Canadiens tried to tie the game up. He was asked my media about that said:

“If the coach feels other guys are going to do the job better than you, that’s his job. It doesn’t mean I sit there and accept it, but my job is to play, so when I’m put on the ice, I’m just trying to help out.”

Brendan Gallagher Montreal Canadiens
Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It’s a fair answer but there is some speculation in Montreal that this won’t go over well with GM Marc Bergevin. Muller did admit that it was simply a matter of trying to find a spark. “I had to go with my gut on who I thought was going,” Muller said. But, as Arpon Basu points out in a recent article on The Athletic, this has to be concerning for Bergevin who has a saying: “there are guys who get you to the playoffs, and there are guys who get you through the playoffs.”

Basu writes that Bergevin may need to take a closer look at what Gallagher is for this Canadiens team. He writes:

But Gallagher has now scored one goal in his last 16 playoff games, dating back to the second round of the 2015 playoffs. His contract is up at the end of next season. If Bergevin truly believes that saying of his, what was he thinking as he watched Gallagher stapled to the bench in the third period Tuesday?

When asked about a potential injury that might be affecting his playoff performance, Gallagher seemed even more frustrated and “I’m fine.” as he was leaving the conference.

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