Already (and still) without forward Ondrej Kase, as well as defensemen Matt Grzelcyk and Jakub Zboril, the Bruins will officially skate without David Krejci and Kevan Miller in action for tonight’s Lake Tahoe contest with the Philadelphia Flyers.
With neither player reportedly not on the team flight and then missing from Saturday’s practice, the Bruins will indeed find themselves without two of their veteran presences. But Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy’s confirmation of their absences did come with a sigh of relief, all things considered.
“If we were going off on a three-game trip over the course of five or six days, I assume Krejci would have came and sort of worked his way back,” Cassidy, who noted that Krejci ‘aggravated’ something in Thursday’s loss, offered. “I suspect, and hope, that he will be joining us next week in practice.”
With Krejci out, Jack Studnicka will jump into the mix and center a line with Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork on the wing. That will throw Nick Ritchie back onto his training camp third-line spot with Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith, David Pastrnak back up to the B’s first line, and Trent Frederic down to the Black and Gold’s fourth line with Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner.
And in the case of the 33-year-old Miller, who has appeared in every game this season after missing almost two years due to knee issues, a one-game break in the name of rest and recovery seems to be of greater importance than a one-off in Nevada.
“We just decided, [his knee] is a little bit sore, so why not let [Miller] rest and recover?” Cassidy said. “He misses out on a great opportunity to play outdoors, but for the good of his season and the immediate future, let him rest for a little bit. That was the thinking behind it.”
Miller’s loss will be Finnish defenseman Urho Vaakanainen’s gain, with the 2017 first-round pick set to make his season debut on the Bruins’ second pairing opposite Brandon Carlo.
The Bruins and Flyers will drop the puck at 7:30 p.m. EST.