By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Even after a day off, the 'Unfit To Participate' bug made its way back to the Bruins, as centers Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and goaltender Jaroslav Halak, all missed Friday's session in Toronto.
"Unfit to participate," Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy (predictably) said when asked about their status. "I will tell you, I do believe they will be available tomorrow so we believe it’s a short-term thing."
Before we brush this off as nothing more than a little extra rest, if this were indeed a maintenance day, Cassidy certainly would've outright said so. He did as much when Bergeron missed a skate with the team earlier this week. But that last note from Cassidy is an encouraging one, especially ahead of Sunday's playoff opponent-deciding head-to-head with the Capitals.
But it was still frustrating for the Bruins to not have their full assortment of weapons, namely on line two, with the B's still looking to get Krejci, Jake DeBrusk, and Ondrej Kase all on the same page.
That obviously can't happen with Krejci, who didn't necessarily look all that hot in the first two round-robin games, off the ice.
"It is," Cassidy admitted when asked if it's frustrating to deal with this absences as the team continues its playoff prep. "We’re going to just coach through it and keep playing."
So Cassidy is choosing to look at the benefit of at least having DeBrusk and Kase together. Even if it came with Par Lindholm filling in as the club's pivot. (And with Jack Studnicka and Trent Frederic splitting duties between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak in place of the absent Bergeron.)
"Ondrej is getting his reps at least with – he was going to be with [Krejci] and DeBrusk today – so he gets some reps with Jake," said Cassidy. "I look at it as the younger guys, if they’re forced in later for whatever reason, are getting reps with good players. There is always a benefit. We look at kind of the glass half full side of it."
And with Halak out, Daniel Vladar stepped into practice as the B's No. 2 netminder. Vladar backed up Halak when Tuukka Rask's quarantine forced the 33-year-old out of Sunday's round-robin meeting with the Flyers last Sunday.
"We anticipate [Saturday], we’ll have our full group," Cassidy reaffirmed. "But until we do, we’ll keep trying to make it work. Obviously, this whole training camp we haven’t had lines together consistently. I think everyone is aware of that. It’s been discussed for different reasons. Will it affect us in the postseason? Time will tell."
A win of any sort in Sunday's meeting with the Capitals and the Bruins will play the Islanders in round one, while a loss would lock the Bruins into an opening-round showdown with the Hurricanes.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.