Despite the worrying optics that come from when nine lineup regulars are missing from “Return to Play” camp, Don Sweeney did his best to inject some levity into the conversation when speaking with media via Zoom on Sunday morning.
“I am happy to report that I am fit and able to participate in this call,” Sweeney said to open the conference call.
Bruins fans have already become all too familiar with the “unfit to participate” protocols put in place for this revamped “Return To Play” format and upcoming postseason, with David Pastrnak, Ondrej Kase, Charlie Coyle, David Krejci, Torey Krug, Sean Kuraly, Tuukka Rask, Nick Ritchie and Chris Wagner all held out of what was expected to be a full scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Warrior Ice Arena.
There’s no sugar-coating the fact that these absences have hampered the Bruins a bit when it comes to adhering to the plan Bruce Cassidy and his staff put in place to put the club in the best possible position to contend for a Stanley Cup up in Canada starting next month.
But for Sweeney, these complications were always an expected challenge during the tumultuous two weeks that is Phase 3 camp — with the B’s GM remaining hopeful that a number of those missing skaters could be back on the ice on Monday morning.
"You'd like to be at full capacity the entire time — I referenced the fact that we weren't going to be,” Sweeney said. “We were going to have situations that would arise and you'd have to deal with it. The mental side of it is an exercise for the coaches as well, to have the ability to be flexible, to change what they intended to do because of what they have to do. They went out and had a great practice yesterday with the players that were available and executed the things that they wanted to accomplish in the course of practice.
‘We have players on the ice again today. We'll hopefully have a full group tomorrow, but again, we have to wait until test results come back on a daily basis here and see who's available to practice and then move forward. The best-laid plans sometimes go astray, so you've got to be able to adapt on the fly and I think our coaches are also understanding that now. But as we get closer to moving to the Hub, we certainly would like to have the full component of our group at some point in time to be able to practice at the level and execute the level we expect them to so once you get to playing the game."
Sweeney did add that