Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy appeared to be taken by surprise when asked about his thoughts on social media photos of Bruins forwards David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase that showed them out and about in Boston’s North End last Saturday night. The pair were supposed to be completing the required 14-day international quarantine that kept them off the ice for the first two days of training camp Monday and Tuesday.
Pastrnak and Kase skated Wednesday but then missed practice Thursday. Per league rules regarding absences, were both deemed “unfit to play.” Both missed practice again Friday.
“I’m not on social media. I get to see stuff like everybody,” Cassidy replied. “So, I don’t know where they were. Obviously, if the pictures are out there, I assume they’re real.”
— Jim Murray (@bigjimmurray) July 16, 2020
“I don’t know. I don’t believe he’s been disciplined by the league,” the 2020 Jack Adams award finalist replied.
Cassidy then stressed that there has and won’t be any discipline from him or the team.
“(The absence) isn’t discipline against those two guys. … We’re not disciplining anybody,” he said.
What about the fact that his top two right wingers appeared to be out for a night on the town after alternate captain Patrice Bergeron stressed ‘professionalism’ and social distancing to his teammates earlier in the week?
“If the league allows them to work out on their own, I’m OK with them trying to get their conditioning where it needs to be,” Cassidy said. “What are the parameters of it? Are they near people that are at risk? Are they social distancing? Are they doing it the right way?
If they’re doing it the right way to prepare themselves, then I’m OK with it. If they’re not, and they put themselves in harm’s way, then obviously that’s not a good thing.”
Cassidy was clearly disappointed following practice Thursday though when he spoke prior to 98.5 The Sports Hub producer and host Jim Murray retweeting the photo above taken by a fan and tweeted late Saturday night.
“That was the plan,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked if he had hoped that Pastrnak and Kase would be full speed ahead by Thursday. “It’s ‘unfit to participate’ for right now and hopefully that changes in the future. Anytime players miss a session where we expect them back up to full speed, until he’s out there then it is a concern for us as a team. But we’re going to forge ahead. We’ve got different guys in, but obviously anytime you’re missing two guys that play up in your lineup — and David is our leading scorer — you want them in there, getting back into condition and returning to the ice being with [their] teammates.
“But [they’re] not, so we’ll mix guys in there. It allows us to do some things, but obviously we’d prefer to have those guys in there.”
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) July 16, 2020
As Cassidy pointed out, the Bruins are blessed with depth. They have shown the ability to rally around a star player’s absence in the past but you can’t replace the skill of a player like Pastrnak.
“We look at our lineup and who could do the reps and be the best fit. Nothing is set in stone. Anders has played up there, so for us, as coaches, we get used to that,” said Cassidy. “Am I thinking ahead to being without (Pastrnak and Kase) in the round-robin or the playoffs? No, that would be speculating. But for today and if I get word later today that the same thing is going to happen tomorrow, then we start looking at other guys and as a staff we go through that.
But there’s only so many guys that would go up to (Pastrnak’s) spot. Kase came late (at the trade deadline), so there’s a lot of guys that could play in that spot. We know that with [Krejci] on his right side, so that would be nothing new. But to miss both of them (on the right side) sure is an opportunity for somebody else. But I’m not thinking too far ahead other than ‘Hey, if it is long term then who is the best?’”