David Pastrnak is expected to travel with the Boston Bruins to Toronto in advance of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.
The forward, who scored 48 goals this season to tie Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead, practiced with a small group July 15. He missed the first two days of training camp as part of coronavirus quarantine rules after returning from the Czech Republic, according to general manager Don Sweeney. He has since been “unfit to participate.”
The status of forward Ondrej Kase is not as clear.
“Pastrnak and Ritchie, I believe will be traveling,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Saturday, referring to forward Nick Ritchie, who has missed the past three practices. “Kase, I’m not sure. I guess we’ll get a confirmation on that tomorrow, but that’s my understanding.”
As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information.
The Bruins will leave Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET for Toronto, the hub city for the 12 Eastern Conference teams. They’ll play the Philadelphia Flyers (Aug. 2), Tampa Bay Lightning (Aug. 5) and Capitals (Aug. 9) at Scotiabank Arena in a round-robin to determine seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the East.
Boston has an exhibition game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on July 30 (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVAS, FS-O, NESN, NHL.TV).
The Bruins had as many as nine players absent from practice during camp because they were “unfit to participate.” President Cam Neely said that had to do with regulations in Massachusetts regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The NHL paused its season March 12.
“Some other teams are dealing with this obviously, but what the state regulations are compared to maybe some other states are a little different across the country,” Neely said. “We’re following all the state guidelines. … We’re following all the protocols, not just League protocols, but the state protocols.”
Kase, traded to the Bruins by the Anaheim Ducks on Feb. 21, also missed the first two practices under quarantine rules after coming back from the Czech Republic. He skated July 15 after the main session and has yet to return.
Pictures circulated of Pastrnak and Kase out in the North End neighborhood of Boston and at a local rink after they returned to Massachusetts.
Neely, asked if he wished that different choices had been made, said, “Of course. We had the date for when camp was started and knew that some players may need to quarantine when they get here, you kind of hope that they would get here a little earlier. But you didn’t really have much say in that. That was really left up to the players. Obviously with what’s played out and transpired, you certainly would have hoped there were some different decisions made.”
Kase has one assist in six games for Boston and could have benefited from getting more acclimated to the Bruins during camp.
“That’s been a little bit unfortunate and disappointing because we feel like he can be a big part of that secondary scoring,” Neely said. “It takes time to get adjusted when we got him [prior to the NHL Trade Deadline] and then we hit the pause not long after. He’s still got to get adjusted to our team, our system, his teammates. So it’s been a little disappointing that we haven’t been able to get him on the ice.”