The injury bug continues to plague the Boston Bruins early in this 2021 NHL season.
In their season-opening 3-2 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, the Bruins were without new winger Crag Smith. Smith returned to make his Bruins debut on Saturday but in the second period of the Bruins’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Devils on Saturday, Bruins winger Ondrej Kase suffered what the Boston Bruins are terming an ‘upper-body’ injury.
Per head coach Bruce Cassidy on Sunday, it appears the Bruins will have to do without their second line right wing when they finish their season-opening three-game road trip on Long Island against the New York Islanders Monday night.
“Update is upper body. He didn’t skate today and we’ll reassess tomorrow,” Cassidy said of the winger who has been cursed by injuries since being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks last February. “I would say doubtful.”
Smith (lower-body) also didn’t skate Sunday but Cassidy seemed a bit more confident the former Nashville Predators winger could lace them up for a second straight game Monday.
‘Smitty’, was a little bit of a lower-body, lingering issue,” Cassidy said of Smith. “He should play tomorrow. His was more maintenance day to try and get him a game tomorrow. It’s a day off Tuesday so get him over the hump with a little rest.”
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 17, 2021
During the second period, Kase was the beneficiary of a vicious hit to the neck and head area from Devils winger Miles Wood that surprisingly went uncalled. Kase, who has a history of concussions, including one when he was traded to the Bruins, tried to battle through the pain but left and had to be helped on the bench and down the runway.
That left just Chris Wagner as the lone normal right wing at practice Sunday and another mishmash of forward lines as the Bruins prepared for the Islanders. Here’s how they shook out:
Marchand – Bergeron – DeBrusk
Ritchie – Krejci – Studnicka
Bjork – Coyle – McKegg
Frederic – Kuraly – Wagner
Lauzon – McAvoy
Grzelcyk – Carlo
Zboril – Miller
Moore/Vaakanainen – Clifton