After being ‘unfit to play’ for all but one practice during the Boston portion of Phase 3 and training camp, Boston Bruins forwards David Pastrnak, Ondrej Kase are on the team roster for Phase 4 of the NHL Return and the Stanley Cup playoffs. Forward Nick Ritchie, who has missed the last three practices, was also on the roster. There was however no update from the league or team on the health of all three players.
On Saturday, Cassidy had expressed uncertainty that Kase would make the trip to Toronto and as of 6 PM ET, there had been no confirmation from the team or agent J.P. Barry, who represents both Kase and Pastrnak, on whether or not Kase was on board the team’s 5:30 PM ET flight to Toronto on Sunday.
Veteran Providence Bruins forward Paul Carey and rookie Anton Blidh did not make the final cut and will not be in the NHL bubble with the team.
The team will carry 17, forwards, ten defensemen and four goaltenders. As expected, all three rookie forwards, Karson Kuhlman, Zach Senyshyn, and Jack Studnicka made the roster, as did rookie defensemen Urho Vaakanainen and Jakub Zboril. Rookie Dan Vladar is also one of the masked Bruins headed north.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) July 26, 2020
Here’s a quick-hit reaction to the roster:
- As mentioned above, Kase made the roster but there was no word on whether or not he was on the team flight Sunday night. If he didn’t go and even if Pastrnak starts skating again Monday in practice, that will still leave a vacant spot in the top six on the right. If the constant high praise Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has thrown on Studnicka this past week is any indication, the highly touted prospect could be seeing some quality time playing right wing in the top six as he has for the last week. “I like the compete,” Cassidy said Thursday on a Zoom call with reporters. “I like the fact that he’s engaged in practice every day, it looks like he’s very fit. That part of it, the initial, does not look out of place. Actually, he’s looked pretty good in some of the drills. That’s the start. That’s step 1 to show you belong and hopefully excel against the guys he’s competing against. Time will tell with that in the next 10 days or so.”
- The read here is that barring a rash of injuries of a COVID19 related absence on the blue line, Zboril and Vaakanainen won’t see much action if any at all after the exhibition and definitely none after the round-robin. The top six is very much solidified as Cassidy and his staff is really high on Lauzon and then Clifton and Moore will be the regular reserves that come in and out.
- It will be very interesting as well to see if Vladar and Lagace touch the ice in a game too because the feel here is that Cassidy and Goaltending Coach Bob Essensa are going to test a rotation between Rask and Halak early on in the round-robin. Coaching, management, and Rask himself have all indicated as much in the last ten days.
Below is what the lineup looked like on their final practice in Boston Saturday.
Marchand – Bergeron – Bjork
DeBrusk – Krejci – Studnicka
Kuraly – Coyle – Kuhlman
Nordstrom – Lindholm – Wagner
Blidh – Frederic – Senyshyn
Chara – McAvoy
Krug – Carlo
Grzelcyk – Lauzon
Moore – Clifton
Vaakanainen – Zboril