The Bruins are now two days into full-team practices as they prepare for the postseason, but their expected top two right wings -- David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase -- have yet to join the team at Warrior Ice Arena as they wait to be cleared from international quarantine protocols.
That might seem a bit concerning, especially in Kase's case given that he only played six games with the team before the pause and could use all the reps he can get, but Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy isn't hitting the panic button.
Cassidy said the expectation is that Pastrnak and Kase will both be cleared to get on the ice either Wednesday or Thursday. A bunch of players will be getting a maintenance day Wednesday anyway as the Bruins try to make sure they aren't pushing guys too hard too early, so Pastrnak and Kase won't be missing a full-team practice even if they have to sit one more day.
"I think missing them early, if you’ve been doing some off-ice work or skating on your own wherever you’ve been, you can catch up," Cassidy said. "If you were to miss a full week when return to play practices are only going to be two weeks, now you’re talking 50 percent of the time off. It will affect you. Some guys can make up the ground quicker than others. That’s just the way some guys are wired. Missing a day or two here or there, maintenance, I do not think will affect you a ton.
"Right now I think there’s an opportunity to catch up. You can build in some extra reps for guys if need be, longer skates after, longer workouts. There’s time for that now. As we get closer that becomes less and less and then I think the effect becomes greater and greater on the player."
Naturally there would be questions about whether Pastrnak and Kase, who both spent their quarantines back home in Europe, could have gotten back to Boston earlier and gotten cleared in time.
Cassidy said he wasn't entirely sure what the logistics were, but that he doesn't "hold it against them." He also noted that players who were over in Europe were in many cases able to get back on the ice before their teammates in the United States given that much of Europe was able to reopen earlier than the U.S.
"I don’t know what was possible for them, I’ll be perfectly honest," Cassidy said. "The players all along were entitled to return when they saw fit. Phase 2 was voluntary to come back. Let’s just assume they get back in the mix Thursday with the group, I don’t think they’ll be that far behind. I think some European countries were free to skate earlier, so they might’ve had the benefit of skating more than some of the guys here, where the arenas weren’t open and the state didn’t allow people to get together. It’s one of those situations where they may have gotten a little bit at the beginning, hurt a little bit at the end.
"But the rules are when you come back, you have to quarantine for X amount of time. I don’t hold it against them. Those are the rules in place, and I think they were kind of fluid as we went along here. Now if they were out and missed two weeks of training camp, came back the day before and were told to sit for 14 days, that probably wouldn’t have been the wisest move to be honest with you. But if they’re in with the group Thursday and they look good and healthy and fit, good conditioning, then I think they’ll catch up in a hurry and we’ll be fine."