The Bruins have already referred to anything they get out of Ondrej Kase this season as “gravy.”
Out of action with an upper-body injury since taking a high hit from the Devils’ Miles Wood in the second game of the season (over three months ago now), Kase remains without a timeline. But as Kase continues to skate and train on his own, the Bruins are certainly hoping that the Czech wing is turning the corner in some respects.
“Not going to join us on this [current] trip, but maybe [when] we get home, there will be some positive news for him,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said Thursday. “He would need some games, obviously, to get up to speed. It’s been a long time, so we’d have to factor that in, but it’d be nice to have that option.”
While there’s been no official confirmation from the Bruins in any respect, Kase’s on-again, off-again workload and the lack of a concrete timeline would indicate that he is attempting to work his way back from a concussion. Kase’s exit from the Boston bench during that Jan. 16 meeting with the Devils would also lead you to believe that it’s a concussion. The problem within that injury recovery beyond the obvious of this, y’know, being an unpredictable brain injury, is that Kase has a rough concussion history, with at least four documented concussions to his name.
Cassidy went on to note that Kase does seem to be in good spirits whenever they see one another, and that the two have remained in contact throughout his recovery. (Their paths will typically cross as the B’s are usually making their way out to the practice sheet while Kase is finishing up his solo work with the other injured skaters or a B’s coach.)
But the most important thing is that Kase hasn’t suffered any setback when it comes to his individual workouts.
“He’s skating and he’s working out every day and seems to be progressing in that area, or not regressing, I guess is a better way to put it,” Cassidy offered. “[But] until he gets out with us and we see him live with the group, it’s hard to say. I don’t have a great answer for you to predict the future for him.”
There’s another obvious issue when it comes to the faint hope of a Kase return in 2021: Butch’s Bruins are running out of (mostly) consequence-free hockey games to get him back in action and up to speed.
“Obviously we’re running out of race track, so to speak, to get him in the lineup here,” Cassidy admitted.
With just 11 regular season games left on the docket, you’d think that Kase needs to make significant progress in the next coming weeks. And by that I may actually mean next 10 days or so. There’s just absolutely no way that the Bruins would feel comfortable throwing Kase back into the fire of professional hockey — and professional hockey’s most intense tournament no less — with a grand total of zero games played since suffering an injury in the second game of the season. The Bruins saved themselves from doing this with Patrice Bergeron in 2007-08, and learned the hard way when Marc Savard jumped right back into the mix in the second round of the 2010 playoffs after missing a month and a half due to a concussion.
It’s enough to make you think that this hope of a Kase return is a total pipedream.
But until he’s officially ruled out, the Bruins will keep hoping for that bit of good news for both their team and Kase.
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.