Boston All-Star forward David Pastrnak is expected to be on the team plane on Sunday when the Bruins travel to hub city Toronto for the Stanley Cup qualifiers and playoffs.
Coach Bruce Cassidy said Saturday that forward Nick Ritchie, who missed the past three practices, also is expected to travel. Forward Ondrej Kase is also expected to join the group.
Pastrnak was ruled “unfit to participate” on July 16. Under the league’s Return to Play Plan, teams cannot reveal a reason for a player’s absence.
Team president Cam Neely said Wednesday, however, that the state of Massachusetts’ regulations for foreign players returning to the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic prevented both Pastrnak and Kase from rejoining the team. Both are native to the Czech Republic, and Pastrnak is known to have returned there after the NHL season was paused March 12 amid the pandemic.
The 24-year-old Pastrnak shared the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy in 2019-20 as the NHL’s leading goal scorer with Washington Capitals superstar captain Alex Ovechkin.
Pastrnak needed just 70 games to score 48 goals, eclipsing his previous career high — set last season — by 10. He also set career highs in assists (47), points (95) and plus-minus rating (plus-21).
The Bruins (44-14-12, 100 points) will play in the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup qualifiers in Toronto. They will square off against Philadelphia on Aug. 2 before facing Tampa Bay three days later and Washington on Aug. 9 to determine their playoff seeding.
–Field Level Media