Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed in a Zoom call with the media from Toronto that the team’s leading scorer David Pastrnak traveled with the Bruins to Toronto Sunday night and is expected to be on the ice when they hold their first practice in the bubble at Scotiabank Arena Monday afternoon.
“He looks great,” Cassidy said of Pastrnak. “He probably needs a haircut, but other than that, I expect him to be ready to go and excited to be back with his teammates. David is a young guy and typically in good shape, so he’s going on the ice with the main group. We’ll mix him in with Bergeron and Marchand in line rushes. There are no plans to scrimmage today. It’s just to get our legs under us and get acclimated, so for him, it’s more about him than what line he’s on. We’ll see how he progresses.”
When the Bruins do play their first intra-squad scrimmage in Toronto, Pastrnak’s longtime linemate Patrice Bergeron has no worries about arguably the best line in hockey picking up where they left off before the NHL Pause.
“For us, our chemistry, we usually pick up where we left off,” Bergeron said. “For him, it’s just going to have to be getting used to getting back on the ice and skating and getting his rhythm back and timing and all that. We’ll try to help him as much as we can, but I don’t know if he’ll really need that much help. He’s one of those guys that gets back and he’s so talented and it always seems effortless, so I’m expecting him to get back. Obviously he might be rusty a little bit, but we have a little bit of time before we start.”
Bruins forward Sean Kuraly was looking forward to not just having a scoring threat like Pastrnak – who tied Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin with 48 goals to share the Rocket Richard Trophy – back in the lineup but to have his happy, go-lucky attitude back as well.
“I don’t know if you can catch him without a smile on his face. He’s a fun guy to have out there…he’s a valued member of our team,” Kuraly said in his media Zoom session.
Cassidy also confirmed that forward Nick Ritchie made the trip north as well but will not be back on the ice Monday. As for winger Ondrej Kase, Cassidy said he was not on the team flight and his return is unknown at this point. The Bruins are hoping Kase can make it to Toronto this week because whenever he does arrive, he will have to go through another four-day quarantine and a series of testing.
The absences of Pastrnak and Kase have been well-documented here and throughout hockey media circles and social media. Both right wingers have missed all but one practice since training camp started on July 13. They both broke their first mandatory 14-day international travel quarantines back on July 11 and had to re-enter quarantine on July 16. There has been no word on Kase’s status but Pastrnak’s agent J.P. Barry confirmed on July 17, that his client had tested negative for COVID19 and had reentered quarantine. As for Ritchie, as per NHL rules, he has been listed as ‘unfit to play’ and no further information has been given.
The Bruins are scheduled to practice at 2:30 PM ET today. Here’s a guesstimate of what the lineup might look like:
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
DeBrusk – Krejci – Studnicka
Kuraly – Coyle – Kuhlman/Bjork
Nordstrom – Lindholm/Frederic – Wagner
Chara – McAvoy
Krug – Carlo
Grzelcyk – Lauzon
Moore – Clifton
Vaakanainen – Zboril