Another day, another drama in the world of Bruins training camp!
Neither David Pastrnak nor Ondrej Kase returned to practice today, and Joakim Nordstrom joined them on Team Unfit.
On a Zoom conference call after practice, Bruce Cassidy didn’t have much detail to offer on the latest player to be removed from action.
“Same reason as Pasta and Kase,” he said about Nordstrom, meaning he was also unfit. “Hopefully he’ll be back in the lineup tomorrow.”
The absences of Pastrnak and Kase continue to loom large, so it’s no surprise that Cassidy was asked about it multiple times.
Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe asked Cassidy about a pictures of Pastrnak and Kase that had been floating around social media — there are rumors that they were spotted dining in the North End at some point, and another photo showed them posing with a young skater at a local rink before they officially returned to the team this week.
He asked Cassidy if that followed the league’s protocol and if he was OK with them doing that.
“I don’t know where they were,” said Cassidy. “I don’t believe [they’ve] been disciplined by the league. As for did it fit into protocol, I don’t have a good answer for that.”
The protocol part is a little murky: the teams technically aren’t in any kind of bubble yet, so they should be free to responsibly go about their business.
However, if Pastrnak and Kase just returned from Europe, they probably should have been quarantining at home, per Massachusetts guidelines. Still, it’s unclear when either of them returned to Boston.
“If the league allows them to work out on their own, I’m OK with them trying to get their conditioning to where it needs to be,” Cassidy said. “What are the parameters of it? Are there people that are at risk? Are they social distancing? Are they doing it the right way?”
“That’s the term I’m going to use: doing it the right way to prepare yourself, then I’m OK with it,” he continued. “If they’re not, they put themselves in harm’s way...that’s not a good thing. I don’t want to judge Pasta or Kase without knowing all the facts of what happened before they got here. I know they traveled from Europe like a lot of guys, they had to quarantine or separate from the team, or have X amount of negative tests. If it’s just about having negative tests and they’re allowed to go about their business, then they’re allowed to go about their business. If they weren’t supposed to, then they shouldn’t have been doing it.”
Dupont asked a follow-up, clarifying that the photos or off-ice things weren’t what caused him to hold the two out of practice.
“No, this isn’t personal discipline against those two guys,” he said. “That’s not the case. We’re not disciplining anyone right now on our team for any individual action.”
When pressed further, Cassidy was blunt, saying “I have not been told that they’ve been disciplined by the National Hockey League.”
So...there you have it, kind of?
It would appear that the absences of Pastrnak and Kase are somehow related to something physical/health-wise, not due to any social media scuttlebutt. As for Nordstrom, it would appear that he’s in the same boat.
Unfortunately, we won’t be getting much more clarity than this. Hopefully all three return to action soon, and the wheel of mystery can stop spinning.
UPDATE (5:06 PM) - This would appear to shed some light on the situation.
"J.P. Barry, agent for David Pastrnak, disclosed that his client is under quarantine after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Pastrnak has tested negative, according to Barry."https://t.co/ad0vfBNjEB— James Stewart (@IAmJamesStewart) July 17, 2020
That would likely explain why Kase is in a similar boat, as he and Pastrnak appear to be pretty good buds.
Here’s the dumb thing: if the above is true, why does it take his agent to say that? Why doesn’t the NHL just allow the teams to explain that’s the case?
Instead, we get the run around “OUT IN THE NORTH END” stories. Silly.