The Boston Bruins had some key players missing from Thursday’s practice. David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase both missed out on practice after making their debut at practice on Wednesday. The Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy came out and announced that both players were deemed unfit to participate.
Boston saw both players make later appearances to their camp after they had to go through a delayed process coming into the States from Europe. Both players were able to get through and make it to camp on time, but are not both sitting out for the time being.
No other information has been dropped yet on whether or not this has to do with something more serious. Cassidy did not say much about the two and what deemed them unfit to participate. Cassidy did note though, that the team hopes to have them back in the near future.
The Bruins also saw starting goaltender Tuukka Rask leave practice early. When discussing that, Cassidy mentioned that Rask took a weird shot that shook him up in practice the other day. He believed that could have just been acting up.
What Unfit to Participate Means
The phrase “unfit to participate” is the NHL’s new policy when dealing with injured or sick players. It could range from COVID-19 complications to a sore muscle in the upper body. This phrase gets rid of the old injury report, in which coaches would just put something like upper body injury. While both players could just be dealing with minor soreness, the new phrase leads to a lot more speculation.
Both players still have plenty of time to get healthy and back on the ice before the Bruins move from their camp to Toronto. When in Toronto, the Bruins will start with round robin play while the qualifying rounds are still going on.
What This Means for the Team Going Forward
If this roadblock is more serious for David Pastrnak, it could spell some trouble for the Bruins. Pastrnak finished tied for the league lead in goals this season with Alexander Ovechkin. Pastrnak led Boston in points this season with 48 goals and 47 assists.
Ondrej Kase only dressed out for six games with the Bruins this season, earning one assist in those games. Kase averaged 14 minutes and 30 seconds of ice time in his appearances. While Kase might not be a consistent player in the lineup come playoff time, he adds a really nice depth role if Boston starts dealing with injuries or other complications in the lineup.
Tuukka Rask, who also missed most of Thursday’s practice, has had a great season as the Bruins starting goalie. Rask earned a record of 26-8-6 through his games before the season came to a halt. He posted a save percentage of .929 and a 2.12 GAA in those starts. Jaroslav Halak, who backed him up, earned a .919 save percentage and a GAA of 2.39.
How This Affects Any Odds
While these three players missing out on practice is certainly something to note, there is no indication that any of these players will not be ready come playoff or even round robin time. One of the Bruins strongest features as a team has also been there depth. This is a key piece to any team trying to make a deep playoff run.
Boston remains the favorite to win the Stanley Cup, sitting at +700. The Bruins are also at +350 to win the Eastern Conference. I expect the Bruins to keep these odds unless more news breaks that either Pastrnak or Rask will miss extended time. Boston will kick off their play during the qualifying rounds against the Philadelphia Flyers on August 2.