An already frantic ramp-up for the Bruins so far in Phase 3 might be getting even more complicated in the coming days — due in large part to the murky status of both David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase.
If Boston’s top-six forwards are clicking this postseason, there’s a good bet that both Pastrnak and Kase will have a large hand in said production. Pastrnak’s offensive talents are already well-documented, while Kase — acquired from Anaheim back in February — was the shot-first winger Boston hoped would finally put an end to the carousel of wingers that David Krejci has had to sort through.
And yet, while a majority of Boston’s roster has been able to shake off some of the rust at Warrior Ice Arena over the past week, both Pastrnak and Kase have only been given the green light to participate in one of Boston’s eight scheduled practices so far.
That lone session — held last Wednesday — was a small-group skate, with a majority of the B’s regulars sitting out on “maintenance days”. Since that skate, Pastrnak and Kase have been MIA, with Pastrnak’s agent confirming that the star winger has not tested positive for COVID-19, but is in quarantine after coming into contact with someone who did test positive for the virus.
While the hope was that both wingers would at least be able to rejoin their teammates in Brighton before the club takes off for Toronto on Sunday, Cam Neely said that such sentiment may not play out.
“It’s hard to say right now,” Neely said via Zoom on when the Bruins will expect Pastrnak and Kase back. “My best guess would be Toronto, but there’s hopes that (they will) before we leave, but my best guess would be Toronto.”
Clearly, this is a major setback for the Bruins and Bruce Cassidy — who are already up against the clock when it comes to tinkering with a forward corps still ripe with question marks beyond the usual production generated by the trio of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Pastrnak.
So, where exactly do the Bruins go from here?