The Boston Bruins have ruled forward David Pastrnak “unfit to participate” Saturday after he reportedly missed his third practice with the team.
Pastrnak returned home when the NHL paused action in March over the COVID-19 pandemic. He missed the first two practices at training camp and debuted Wednesday, with the club confirming that his return was delayed due to coronavirus regulations governing players arriving from Europe.
“It’s unfortunate the times that we’re in, but I guess it’s the new reality for right now anyways,” teammate Brad Marchand said. “And teams are just going to have to be willing to be resilient and battle through it.”
For the record: Pastrnak did not test positive for COVID-19, said his agent J.P. Barry via The Athletic. He is under quarantine now because he came into contact with someone who did test positive for the coronavirus, however.
Being deemed “unfit to participate” was also the fate to befall more than a few Bruins, including goalie Tuukka Rask, defenceman Torey Krug and forwards Charlie Coyle, Ondrej Kase, David Krejci, Sean Kuraly, Nick Ritchie, and Chris Wagner.
The NHL has privacy regulations to uphold when it comes to why players are deemed “unfit to participate,” of course, and that complicates these reports in the era of COVID-19.
“We’re protecting the players’ rights they collectively bargained that to come back so if they want to put it out there, any information why they’re not at practice, yeah it makes my life easier, then I’m not asked,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Sometimes I don’t know what happened to each and every individual through their testing and what they were told, how long to quarantine. I get a pretty good idea, but it seems to differ between players.”
There was word circulating on social media that Pastrnak and Kase were skating outside of approved practice areas and socializing in the North End of Boston, which seems to have led to the “unfit to participate” application. The Bruins said they do not plan on taking disciplinary action against Kase and Pastrnak.
If Pasta is back in quarantine after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and after practicing with the club, at the very least the Bruins are less than enthused. But with the NHL’s catch-all “unfit to participate” jargon taking us all in its net, actual opinions are constrained.
“Am I thinking ahead to being without those guys in the round-robin or playoffs? No. That would be speculating,” Cassidy said. “Obviously missing two guys that play up in your lineup, and a guy like David that’s your League-leading [goal]-scorer, you want him in there, you want him getting back into condition, you want him returning to the ice and being with his teammates. But he’s not.”
See what I mean?