The truth always comes out once an NHL team’s playoff run has concluded and some of it was unearthed on Wednesday afternoon.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy held his end-of-season media availability with reporters and confirmed that David Pastrnak was hampered by a lower body injury throughout the postseason. It seemed to be related to his conditioning level starting up with games after a month-low quarantine odyssey left him unable to participate in Phase 3 training camp at Warrior Ice Arena.
Cassidy both Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase’s “conditioning was not where it needed to be” after both forwards spent the better part of a month “unfit to participate” after arriving in Boston from the Czech Republic.
“Pasta had a lower body injury that he played through for the entire playoffs,” said Cassidy. “You could see he wasn’t at top speed. Obviously missing time, him and Kase, their conditioning level wasn’t where it needed to be to stand the rigors of [the playoffs]. That was a bit of circumstance. Typically you have a whole year to build that up and we didn’t have that luxury this year.”
Pastrnak missed the middle three games of the first-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes with the lower body injury and was noticeably missing his top skating gear while posting two goals and six points in five games against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Pastrnak managed only two even strength assists during 5-on-5 play against Tampa Bay where the B’s very clearly have an issue during postseason play.
Kase finished with four assists in 11 postseason games for the Bruins, and put up zeroes across the board against the Lightning in five games while finishing with 14 shots on net in five games. Kase was brought on board to generate even strength offense and shots on net, and he didn’t do either of those things when it mattered against Tampa Bay after some decent moments against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Clearly some of the poor conditioning was out of the control of Pastrnak and Kase once they were forced into quarantine, but this all goes back to both players failing to arrive in Boston earlier than they did to make sure they were ready to get on the ice on Day One of training camp like the rest of the Bruins players were back in July.
Tuukka Rask (finger), Nick Ritchie, Sean Kuraly (lower body), and Chris Wagner (undisclosed) were all injured through the playoffs, and Zdeno Chara had an X-ray on his foot toward the end of the Tampa Bay series, per Cassidy.
The Bruins head coach didn’t believe that any of the Bruins players were going to require surgeries for any of the assorted injuries at this point.