Boston Bruins

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 14: Ondrej Kase #28 of the Boston Bruins takes the puck against the New Jersey Devils during the home opening game at Prudential Center on January 14, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. The Boston Bruins defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Bruins winger Ondrej Kase’s comeback attempt from concussion issues that kept him out of action for almost four months took a seemingly devastating blow Monday night. Skating in his first game since Jan. 16, Kase’s night was off to a solid start when the second intermission came with the 25-year-old ruled out of action with the forever-vague and equally-ominous “upper-body injury” designation.

Even with little information available, it wasn’t hard to connect the dots.

But speaking Tuesday morning, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy seemingly quieted some of the worries as it relates to the Czech winger’s concerning concussion history and this latest ailment.

“I don’t think so,” Cassidy said when asked if Kase’s setback is related to the concussion issues that have plagued both his 2021 season and his NHL career. “I think there was a little bit of conditioning [issues] for him.

“It was his first game in a long time. I was told he just didn’t feel like he was getting through it where he needed to be so he let the training staff know and they decided to say ‘OK, let’s cut it short [Monday].’ We’ll see where it ends up.”

Even in a shortened night, the Bruins did like what they saw from Kase, who finished the contest with two shots to go with a hit and a blocked shot in under seven minutes of action, in a fourth-line sample with Curtis Lazar and Jake DeBrusk.

“He was competing,” Cassidy said. “He was on pucks. I know he put a few to the net, that’s what he typically does, doesn’t overthink it, likes to shoot. Thought he did a good job battling pucks out at the blue line, getting in shooting lanes, doing what he had to do, so there were some positive signs for sure.”

It goes without saying that cutting Monday’s comeback attempted short certainly threw a wrench in the Bruins’ plans to put Kase on an accelerated ramp-up to get him as close to playoff-ready as possible. But how this ailment — and namely the potential of it being conditioning opposed to a legitimate injury — impacts Kase’s timeline towards another potential return remains to be seen, and won’t be known until the team returns to Boston to begin their playoff prep.

“Obviously he’s not going to play [Tuesday], so we’ll have a better assessment [later],” said Cassidy. “Wednesday’s a day off for everybody, obviously he’ll be in to see the trainers, so probably have a much better idea on the Wednesday or Thursday session of how he came out of it.”

Kase has appeared in three games this season (and failed to make it through two of them), and has five assists in 20 total games with the Bruins since being acquired from the Ducks prior to the 2020 trade deadline.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 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.

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