The roster news was almost all good for the Boston Bruins Monday, a rarity in this restart.
So Monday’s return to practice for Vezina Trophy finalist goalie Tuukka Rask was cause for some celebration, but his return was briefly tempered when the Bruins tweeted out a practice lineup that didn’t include Patrice Bergeron, who is the most indispensable player on the roster.
Bergeron played start to finish on Sunday with no apparent injury and Cassidy downplayed his absence.
“It was a maintenance day. He’s fine. He’ll get back on the ice tomorrow,” Cassidy said.
Rask revealed his absence from practice Saturday and the game Sunday was because he was in quarantine due to a minor symptom that could have been, but proved not to be connected to COVID-19.
“I had a cough so I clicked yes on the app and then all kinds of red lights started blinking and I was quarantined for two days,” said Rask, who has been cleared after two negative tests. “They want to be very cautious. If there’s any symptoms. If you test positive you’ve already spread it around who knows how many guys. ... I’m still coughing, but I tested negative. But in this day and age, anything like that can be alarming.”
The league revealed Monday that no player tested positive last week.
Before that, Rask struggled playing half of Thursday’s 4-1 exhibition loss to Columbus and had previously been battling a broken bone in his hand earlier in the preseason. He expected to play Wednesday. Jaroslav Halak replaced him and made 25 saves in an unremarkable effort in Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Flyers in the Bruins’ first round-robin game.
The Bruins face Tampa Bay in their second round robin seeing game Wednesday at 4 p.m.
There was more good news as Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie, who both had been eased back into action practicing with the second group, returned to the de facto varsity Monday. Both played with David Krejci on the second line, with Kase sharing right wing time with Karson Kuhlman.
“I don’t believe Kase will be ready Wednesday,” Cassidy said. “He hasn’t been on the ice enough. That would be a big ask. It’s still two days away so I won’t rule him out, but I’d say he was doubtful. We’re targeting Sunday for him. Ritchie, I suspect will be ready Wednesday.”
Rookie Jack Studnicka, who’d been on that line, filled in at center for Patrice Bergeron, with Trent Frederic also spending time as the first line pivot.
Jake DeBrusk, who’d been reunited with David Krejci to start the restart, dropped down to play with Charlie Coyle and Anders Bjork on the third line.