Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) deflects a shot by New Jersey Devils’ Yegor Sharangovich during a January game in Newark, N.J. AP file photo

Slowly gaining his health back after offseason surgery to repair a torn hip labrum, Tuukka Rask reiterated Wednesday his desire to return to the Boston Bruins.

Appearing on the annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, Rask said that he’s still two or three weeks away from working out and expects to be skating in a month and a half. If all goes well, he expects to be ready to play by January.

The surgery, he said “was perfect, like the doctors said. They fixed everything they wanted to fix and now we’re just waiting.”

Rask also said what he’s been saying for nearly a year now: he doesn’t want to play for anyone else in the National Hockey League. And he still wants to play.

“I played with one team when I was in Finland and I’ve been so lucky to be a part of only one team in the NHL, so for me it’s about the pride of playing for one team and one team only,” Rask said. “I have no reason to chase the money anymore and go somewhere else. It’s going to be one of those things where the Bruins are my home, Boston’s my home and I’ve always wanted to play here and stay here. So the money won’t be an issue. We had a conversation with (general manager Don Sweeney) and I’ll be a cheap goaltender, I think.”

He’ll have to be. After Sweeney’s offseason spending spree to shore up every area of the team with the acquisitions of goalie Linus Ullmark, defenseman Derek Forbort and forwards Erik Haula, Nick Foligno and Tomas Nosek, the Bruins are currently a little more than $1 million under the cap, though that number will go grow as the season progresses. It doesn’t sound like a prorated deal for Rask will be a problem.

“I’m not looking for a $7 million contract anymore,” said Rask, who just finished up an eight-year, $56 million deal. “I just want to help the team out. I feel like I’m a veteran goalie and there are some young guys coming in, so whatever I can do to help, I would do it and end my career as a Bruin.”

An unexpected twist in the offseason was Boston’s level of investment in a veteran goalie. The four-year, $20 million deal to which the Bruins signed Ullmark is clearly not the stopgap measure that many thought the they would take while Rask healed.

If Rask returns to the fold, that could well mean that Jeremy Swayman, projected to be the Bruins next No. 1 goalie at some point, goes back to Providence, at least for the regular season. Swayman does not require waivers to be sent to the AHL. But there’s always the chance Swayman’s play could make it difficult to send him down.

While not specifically addressing what could be a complicated goalie situation, Rask said of Swayman: “He’s a great goalie, a talented goalie and great guy. He’s super outgoing and nice. I had the luxury of knowing him, he was around last year, and he has a great future ahead of him. Hopefully, I can help him out.”

Rask made it clear he’d like nothing better than to make another run at a Stanley Cup with what’s left of the old core. He feels the new additions will help keep the team competitive.

“There are a few guys now, like (Patrice Bergeron), (Brad Marchand) and well, (David Krejci) is in Czech now, but we’ve played our entire careers together and I feel it would be a shame to go somewhere and try and chase something dollar-wise or trophy-wise when you have a chance to finish your career with the same group you started with,” said Rask. “Then you look at the additions the Bruins signed and it looks like a really capable team again. I’m looking forward to it.”


Rask also addressed the tragic death of his former teammate, Jimmy Hayes, on Monday at the age of 31. Hayes seemingly endeared himself to every teammate he ever had, at any level, and that includes Rask.

“He was great. Everywhere he went he brought a smile to your face because he was so outgoing and nice,” said Rask. “That’s the biggest thing that stands out with him. We always had a good time with him. He made everybody feel home when you were around him. It was very sad news. It just goes to show you can’t take anything for granted in life It could end at any second.”

Former Bruin Torey Krug also appearing on the telethon and struck the same tone many have when speaking about Hayes.

“Jimmy was just a special guy. Literally every single room he walked into he lit it up with a smile, a joke and lots of laughs. It’s hard to put into words what he meant to not only his teammates, but his family. He has such a strong family that it’s tough to see it happen,” said Krug. “You don’t hear people talk about the championships and all the goals he scored over the years, and he won championships at Boston College, but you hear people talk about his character, how much fun he was to be around and that smile. It’s been a tough few days.

“He was so excited to wear the Boston Bruins sweater. We knew what it meant for him to wear the sweater and what a dream come true it was for him to play in front of all his friends and family. I remember doing multiple hospital visits with Jim. It was so easy to go in there with him because one of his God-given abilities was to light up a room and make everybody laugh. No matter what they were going through, it was easy to go into a room like that with Jim.”

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