98.5 The Sports Hub staff report
By now, it’s pretty obvious that the NHL isn’t going to give you much when it comes to any absence this postseason.
“Unfit to play” is going to be said until we’re all blue in the face.
That status followed Bruins winger David Pastrnak (along with Ondrej Kase and Joakim Nordstrom) on Friday, making it two straight absences for Pastrnak and Kase. And absents in all but one skate this week. There’s been a touch of weirdness that’s followed Pastrnak and Kase’s absences, too, with pictures of both players out and about in Boston’s North End posted to Twitter earlier this week. There was also a since-deleted photo of Pastrnak and Kase skating outside of team facilities, which is considered a violation of league protocols in Phase 3 of the league’s four-phase Return-to-Play plan.
But speaking with reporters after practice, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy shot down the notion that their absences had anything to do with a punishment for potentially violating league protocols.
“This isn’t personal discipline against those two guys,” Cassidy offered. “If anything, when you’re out that long, you almost have to the other way and get them up to speed. So that that’s not the case where we’re not disciplining anybody right now in our team for any individual action. This is all, again, unfit to participate right now.”
Cassidy, whose team will travel to Toronto to begin prepping for the league’s move into Phase 4 on July 26, also disputed the idea of it being a result of discipline from the league.
“I have not been told they’ve been disciplined by the National Hockey League,” Cassidy admitted. “There is protocol in place that you have to have X amount of negative tests [before returning to practice]. Sometimes those tests come back quicker than others. And until you can return on the ice, we’ve had a number of guys go through that. So there could have been a situation where they were going through that process, too.
“I honestly don’t know if they’re out in the in the North End. We’ve asked all our players — each and every one — to use common sense and try to do the right thing as much as possible so you don’t put yourself or your teammates at risk.”
While Cassidy couldn’t or wouldn’t give out the full details, it would appear that the risk for Pastrnak’s teammates is a factor here, as Pastrnak’s agent confirmed to The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa that Pastrnak is currently in quarantine.
But Pastrnak is not in quarantine due to a positive COVID-19 test of his own (his agent noted that he’s tested negative), but rather after coming in contact with someone who tested positive.
It is unknown how long Pastrnak will have to be kept away from the team as a result of this.
With Pastrnak out of commission, Anders Bjork has skated with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on Boston’s first line.