Bruins Training Camp Daily is presented by TD Bank
BOSTON - Just a day after wingers David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase returned to the ice, they both were away from the rink on Thursday morning. Following the Bruins' skate, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy termed both as "unfit to participate," which is now the standard designation for player absences required by the National Hockey League.
Pastrnak skated with the larger group on Wednesday, sporting his signature smile and some impressive quarantine flow. He appeared to be in good spirits and in fine physical shape. Kase, meanwhile, skated after the main session with Trent Frederic.
When the duo will be able to return to the rink is unknown, though Cassidy did not believe that he would be without either player when games resume next month. Nevertheless, the Jack Adams finalist knows that he must assess other options in case the wingers are away from the team for an extended period.
"That was the plan," Cassidy said when asked about expecting to have a full group on Thursday. "Anytime players miss a session where we expect them back at full speed - until he's out there, it is a concern for us as a team. But we're just gonna forge ahead. We've kind of plugged different guys in.
"Obviously missing two guys that play up in your lineup, a guy like David that's your leading scorer. You want him in there, you want him getting back into condition, you want him returning to the ice and being with his teammates, but he's not."
During Thursday's skate, Anders Bjork and Karson Kuhlman saw time in Pastrnak's spot alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, while Jack Studnicka rode with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci.
"We just look at our lineup and say who can do the reps there, who's the best fit, nothing's set in stone. Anders has played up there. For us as coaches, you get used to that. Am I thinking ahead to being without those guys in the round robin and playoffs? No. That would be speculating.
"But yeah, for today, and if I get word that the same thing is gonna happen [on Friday], then we start thinking...to miss both of them is certainly an opportunity for someone else."
Video: Cassidy talks to media after Thursday practice
Rask Leaves Early
Tuukka Rask left the ice about 15 minutes into the session after appearing to take a shot in an unprotected area. He did not return. The B's ace netminder also exited early on Tuesday but was back between the pipes a few moments later.
"If it continues," Cassidy said when asked if he's concerned about Rask. "I think he got stung the other day, got hit with a shot in the wrong spot. So maybe that was acting up again today…[the medical staff] has not come to me, so that's typically a good sign if they don't come right to you.
"I'm suspecting he's had a little bit of bad luck in the same spot for a couple days and, like I said, hopefully it sorts itself out. These will be some of the bumps and bruises and aches that are gonna start to appear now with your group."
To Cassidy's point, the bumps and bruises will become more prevalent as practices ramp up, which was certainly the case on Thursday. The intensity level took a noticeable tick up as the Bruins engaged in some 3-on-3 battle drills and an abbreviated 5-on-5 scrimmage towards the end of practice.
"In the moment, they were fine, they were battling, guys stayed with it," said Cassidy. "A few guys need to recognize the urgency level and that's normal. Guys have not been involved…they haven't been able to do that [5-on-5 work]…that part of it we're gonna have to phase in.
"That's why we're kind of at it a little bit early here, basically Day 3 on the ice…we have to acknowledge that as coaches that they're definitely gonna be behind in that area and try to build it in.
"We're not over-evaluating what they're doing in time and space just yet. We just want them to get back to being comfortable with people around them and guys be respectful of one another, and as it goes along, ramp it up a little bit more each day."
Charlie Coyle and Chis Wagner did not participate in the Bruins' voluntary skates during Phase 2, but the hometown boys were certainly getting their work in. The duo stuck together ahead of training camp and followed a sophisticated plan to keep in shape as they prepared for the season to resume.
"Charlie and I had a good little set up going," said Wagner. "If you watch Charlie in practice, it's always fun. I've gotten to watch that for a couple months - actually 10 years now. He drives the bus as far as that. I just try to keep him loose and relaxed. We're a pretty good combo together.
"That's why we didn't come in [for Phase 2] because we felt pretty good in what we had. I feel really good."
Video: Wagner talks to media after morning skate
Cassidy has had the ability to experiment thus far in camp, particularly with Pastrnak and Kase yet to skate with the main group. One of the most interesting lineup decisions has been placing Sean Kuraly on the right side - an unfamiliar spot for the left-shot, natural center - with Coyle and Nick Ritchie.
It is a bit of an unconventional combination, but the size of the trio - they are all at least 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds - has intrigued Boston's bench boss enough to leave them together for the first three days of practice.
"We've had a few days now to kind of get acclimated and get used to each other," said Coyle. "I've played with them a few times each - I don't know about together with the both of them…three big bodies, we should be all over that puck, protecting it, make it hard on teams to take it from us and go the other way."
Video: Coyle talks to media after Thursday practice
Quote of the Day
"I'm starting to think about that more and more. Someone mentioned had I started packing yet. I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I probably should start, right?' I'm usually a last-minute guy." - Charlie Coyle on packing for Toronto
Thursday's Practice Lineup
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Karson Kuhlman/Anders Bjork
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Jack Studnicka
Nick Ritchie - Charlie Coyle - Sean Kuraly
Joakim Nordstrom - Par Lindholm - Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk - Jeremy Lauzon
John Moore - Jakub Zboril
Anton Blidh, Paul Carey, Connor Clifton, Trent Frederic, Max Lagace, Zach Senyshyn, and Urho Vaakanainen.
UNFIT TO PARTICIPATE
Ondrej Kase and David Pastrnak.