Good news for the Bruins as they will officially welcome the NHL’s leading scorer back to the fold during practice on Monday.
David Pastrnak will be a part of Bruins practice in Toronto on Monday afternoon after missing all but one practice session during the previous two weeks of Phase 3 training camp while “unfit to participate” and should be a full go moving forward with actual hockey games less than a week away.
Nick Ritchie also traveled with the team on Sunday night to Toronto after missing the previous three practices, but isn’t expected to be a part of Monday’s team practice.
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“He looks great, probably needs a haircut,” said a smiling Bruce Cassidy of the carefree Pastrnak during a Monday morning Zoom call with the media. “David is a young guy and typically in good shape, so he’s going on the ice with the main group. We’ll mix him in with Bergeron and Marchand in line rushes. There are no plans to scrimmage today. It’s just to get our legs under us and get acclimated, so for him it’s more about him than what line he’s on. We’ll see how he progresses.”
Ondrej Kase, who essentially missed all of Bruins camp after skating on his own one day at Warrior two weeks ago, didn’t travel with the team on Sunday and there’s no timeline for when the top-6 right winger will travel to the Toronto Hub city. The Bruins will instead continue to give looks to Anders Bjork and Jack Studnicka in Kase’s spot after getting long auditions during Phase 3 Return to Play camp.
The big story, however, is the NHL’s leading scorer and Boston’s most explosive game-breaker getting back into the mix after Pastrnak was quarantined for a couple weeks.
“Pasta is a guy that enjoys himself out there,” said Sean Kuraly. “I don’t know if he’s a guy that you could catch without a smile on his face. He’s a fun guy to have out there and obviously brings his talent and skill. He’s also a valued member of our team and a fun guy to have out there at practice.”
The only question is whether a handful of days will be enough time to get the 24-year-old back up to full speed for game action after missing the last couple of weeks.
The Bruins are scheduled to hit the ice for practice at 2:30 pm on Monday as the NHL figures out how to schedule 12 different practices each day while the teams prepare for one exhibition game before round-robin and qualifying round action begins about a week from now.