BOSTON (CBS) — The mystery that is the absence of David Pastrnak — as well as fellow Czech Ondrej Kase — continues for another day. And while it’s not yet clear how or why both players went from practicing on Wednesday to being deemed “unfit to participate” on Thursday, head coach Bruce Cassidy has at least cleared up one aspect of the change in status.
The head coach, speaking to reporters over Zoom on Friday, stated that the absences of both players is not related to any type of discipline being applied by the team. That answer came about when Cassidy was asked about photos circulating on social media in which Pastrnak and Kase were walking around the North End in Boston.
*Re. photos of Pastrnak + Kase out in the North End*
Cassidy said that he hasn't been told if the league disciplined any player — "unfit to participate" is the reason for their absence.
"This isn't discipline against those two guys. … We're not disciplining anybody."
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) July 17, 2020
Cassidy stressed absence of Pastrnak & Kase had nothing to do w/disciplinary action, or photos of them in North End or working out at other rinks earlier this week. It’s health-related: “This isn't discipline against those two guys. … We're not disciplining anybody."
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) July 17, 2020
"If the league allows them to work out on their own, I'm OK with them trying to get their conditioning where it needs to be. What are the parameters of it? Are they near people that are at risk? Are they social distancing? Are they doing it the right way? (more)
— Matt Porter (@mattyports) July 17, 2020
Pastrnak and Kase were subject to some quarantine time upon their arrival in the United States, after spending their time in the Czech Republic during the league’s COVID-19 shutdown. But Pastrnak and Kase both returned to the ice on Wednesday — with much fanfare for Pastrnak — only for the duo to be absent both Thursday and Friday for being “unfit to play.”
According to the NHL’s return to play protocols, a player is deemed “unfit to play” if a doctor and the team’s infectious disease expert determine that a player is “at substantial risk of developing a serious illness.” If a player does test positive for COVID-19, that player’s team is not allowed to share that information with the media.
That would not, however, be the only possible explanation for players being deemed “unfit to play.” And so with nine days remaining until the Bruins travel to Toronto for the restart, the uncertainty surrounding the Bruins’ best goal scorer is sure to continue until a firm answer comes into focus.