Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told the media Friday that defenseman Derek Forbort is out of COVID Protocol but fellow Bruins defensemen Matt Grzelcyk and Connor Clifton remained in the protocol as of Friday afternoon. Depending on how Forbort feels and recovers over the next 24 hours, he could be in the lineup when the Bruins host the Nashville Predators in a 1 PM matinee Saturday.
“He skated today so he’s out of COVID protocol,” Cassidy said of the Boston Bruins rearguard who has four goals and three assists in 31 games and a plus 2 rating. “So that’s one and if things go well today, he recovers well, he could play [Saturday].”
As for Clifton, who like Forbort, was placed in COVID protocol on Monday, his status for tomorrow’s game seemed much more doubtful.
“That’s it. I don’t believe anyone else would come out,” Cassidy said. “Clifton was the next guy in. …he may come out tomorrow but obviously, with a one o’clock game, I don’t know if that’s realistic. I guess ‘Grzz’ has an opportunity to test out but he’s obviously in it. So, that would be a quick turnaround. Right now, we’re looking at Forbort and the forward group is good, knock on wood, no one has tested positive today. …at least as of yet.”
Cassidy also said that injured forwards Trent Frederic and Nick Foligno were progressing but they also won’t be available against the Predators Saturday.
After the Boston Bruins host the Predators on Saturday, they won’t play until Tuesday, when they host the Carolina Hurricanes. Counting that game, the Bruins will then be in a stretch of eight games in 14 days. There’s likely going to be a time when Cassidy needs to rest a player for an entire game or even in-game so that the Bruins can withstand this grueling stretch of games that will get only worse later in the season.
“That’s something we’ll discuss with the player or manage him better in-game,” Cassidy said when asked about how he plans to manage the lineup going forward. “I mean, last night I thought we were doing a good job, and then all of a sudden the special teams take over. We had that stretch that kind of slanted the way the minutes add up because we had to kill that 5-3. We were on the kill for at least three full minutes. I think they took a little bit in and then three and half minutes with the goalie out, so all of a sudden, the last six or seven minutes, you’re really shortening your bench. Guys that aren’t used to killing, I’m playing them in those situations.
So, that certainly hurts and it adds wear and tear because those are difficult minutes but a lot of guys took the day off today and they’ll recoup. We got a one o’clock game and then off Sunday. So there is a little bit of opportunity in-season to use those days in between games as you see fit. Fortunately for us, we had that break and were able to revisit a lot of our systems and talk about some adjustments we wanted to make or get back to how we wanted to play, and it’s paid off for us and now we’re using the time to rest.”