It’d be a bit of a stretch to call it a true controversy, but there are segments of Bruins fans who are a bit miffed to see Jack Studnicka come out of the lineup after what had been a pretty strong showing thus far.
Studnicka is coming out so that Nick Ritchie can go in, so naturally, some of the ire is being pointed in Ritchie’s direction.
In his pre-game press conference today, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy offered some thoughts on his lineup shuffling.
“[Studnicka] got better as the game went on,” Cassidy said. “He had a few boo-boo’s in the game that he’ll have to learn from, but let’s face it: we all made some mistakes the other night, so he’s not going to be out of the lineup for that reason. He’s out of the lineup tonight because we feel that Ritchie and Kase were brought in to help us win in the playoffs, so Ritchie is going in tonight.”
It’s an interesting comment from the coach, as he essentially says he’s only taking Studnicka out because Ritchie was “brought in to help us win in the playoffs.”
One could seek out controversy and read that as Studnicka is only coming out because he feels like he has to play Ritchie, but what it (in all likelihood) means is just that Cassidy feels Ritchie was brought here for the kind of physical game he expects this to be, and that he’s better suited for that than Studnicka.
Cassidy also elaborated on whether or not he thought we’d see Studnicka again in these playoffs (spoiler: probably not):
“I liked what I saw...very encouraging for down the road,” he said. “But his immediate situation is he won’t play tonight and he’s going to be a depth guy for us...and we may or may not have to use him.”
Interestingly, during his remarks about Studnicka, Cassidy almost had a conversation with himself where he said (paraphrasing) he guesses he could have taken Karson Kuhlman out instead, but that he’s been “down this road a little bit.”
Regarding the other deadline acquisition, Cassidy said that Ondrej Kase will play on Sunday, barring any sort of injury or setback.
If he gets in, it means there’s going to be an extra guy anyways, so even if Studnicka played today, he’d likely be out Sunday; instead, Kuhlman looks to be that guy.
Having Kase in the lineup Sunday would be a pretty nice boost for the Bruins, who’d have their entire lineup intact for the first time in the restart...even if it means having just a single game to get it together before they really start to count.