BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins had planned on having a scrimmage on Saturday afternoon with their entire group of players in Return to Play camp.

They still had the scrimmage that included a long bomb goal from the point by Connor Clifton and Trent Frederic scoring during a shootout portion at the end, but it was missing a large group of significant players. Both David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase were once again missing while being “unfit to participate”, but another seven players were missing from practice as well including David Krejci, Torey Krug, Sean Kuraly, Charlie Coyle, Nick Ritchie, Chris Wagner and Tuukka Rask.

Bruce Cassidy confirmed following practice that none of the players were missing due to injuries, but it was instead the same “unfit to participate” that could mean a number of different things along the COVID-19 protocol spectrum.

"We had no injuries to speak of,” said Cassidy. "[They were all] unfit to play. The league has asked us to continue along that line for the respect of the privacy of the players. That's what we'll do. There's always different reasons. There's the quarantine rules, there's waiting on test results and there are a number of different things that factor into this. It doesn't automatically assume that we have a positive test.

"We want to get to Toronto as healthy as possible. I guess that's how I would elaborate on that. We hope to have some of these players back [on Sunday]. [Sunday] was a scheduled day off, so the group that was on today will not skate [on Sunday]. We're not gonna change that. If some guys missed and are cleared to skate, then we may go on [Sunday]."


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Certainly, player absences are part of the deal right now for NHL teams in Phase 3 as all manner of things can happen with test results, both good and less-than-deal, and that's something the Bruins are experiencing right now. They hope this all settles down as they near the July 26 date when they are scheduled to travel to the Hub City in Toronto. 

"You'd like to be at full capacity the entire time but I made reference [in an earlier zoom call] that we weren't always going to be and we were going to have situations that would arise [in Return to Play] and we would have to deal with them. We have to be flexible and be able to change what we intended to because that's what we have to do," said Don Sweeney, during a Sunday morning Zoom call with reporters.

"We have players on the ice today and hopefully we'll have a full group tomorrow. Test results come back on a daily basis and we see who is available to practice and then we move forward. The best laid plans sometimes go astray and we have to be able to move forward. Our coaches understand that now. As we move closer to going to the Hub we'd live to have our full component of our group to practice and execute at the level that we expect them to."

The good news was that Joakim Nordstrom was back skating on Saturday after he missed practice on Friday, so perhaps there is hope that it’s going to be a brief absence for the large group missing from the ice on Saturday at Warrior Ice Arena. Unfortunately, the significant contingent of missing players really threw a monkey wrench into Cassidy’s plans to hold a late afternoon scrimmage that would help the Bruins adjust to some of their matinee round-robin games scheduled a few weeks from now in the Toronto Hub City.