Boston Bruins: Look at Who Practiced Friday

TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 09: Ondrej Kase #28 of the Boston Bruins warms up prior to an Eastern Conference Round Robin game against the Washington Capitals during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 09, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 09: Ondrej Kase #28 of the Boston Bruins warms up prior to an Eastern Conference Round Robin game against the Washington Capitals during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 09, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /
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Following Thursday night’s 4-0 shutout over the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy held a normal Friday morning practice at Warrior Ice Arena for his team.

When the Bruins took the ice, there was one noticeable player dressed and ready for practice, Ondrej Kase. Yes, that Ondrej Kase and he practiced with no restrictions.

Acquired at the trade deadline in February of 2020 from Anaheim Ducks in exchange for David Backes, defensive prospect Axel Andersson and Boston’s 2020 first-round pick, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was hoping that Kase could help solve the opening hole on Boston’s second line at right wing. That did not happen.

Two weeks after arriving in Boston, the NHL season was paused because of the coronavirus, and in just six regular-season games, he registered just one assist. In the Toronto playoff bubble last summer, things did not really get better for the 6-foot-0 and 190-pound Kase. In 11 postseason games, he had four assists and finished with a plus/minus of minus-1.

What does a return of Kase mean to the Bruins?

Not sure. Kase began the season as Krejci’s second-line right wing, but he played just the first game of the season against the New Jersey Devils and was knocked out in the second game two days later with an upper-body injury after a collision with Miles Wood of the Devils.

Since Kase last played for the Bruins on Jan. 16, Sweeney traded for Taylor Hall from the Buffalo Sabres and the fit on the second line with Krejci and Craig Smith has been just as good at the Black and Gold would have hoped.

Kase will not play in this afternoon’s rematch with the Rangers at the TD Garden, but the Bruins are hoping that he can find his way back into the lineup in either of the teams last two games, Monday at home against the New York Islanders or Tuesday in Washington against the Capitals.

There’s no doubt that Kase’s conditioning will be behind everyone else’s in the NHL. It would be surprising if Kase was not part of the postseason for the Bruins. As stated above, no matter how good Kase looks, the top-six forwards are solidified with only an injury (or a COVID-19 issue) would break them up.

Friday, Kase practiced on the third line, with former Ducks teammate Nick Ritchie and the suddenly hot Sean Kuraly. Jake DeBrusk was the other right wing on the line with Kase.

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While it was nice to see Kase return, although there’s most likely little chance he finds his way into the playoffs, but hey, you never know. Kase will be a restricted free agent following the season.