BOSTON (CBS) — The absence of David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase is causing a lot of concern with the Boston Bruins. And it doesn’t sound like either player will be practicing with the team before it makes its trek to Toronto for the NHL’s restart.

Bruins president Cam Neely spoke with reporters via a Zoom conference call on Wednesday, and said his “best guess” is that both players won’t practice with the team until they’re in Toronto next week. Boston will head north of the border on Sunday.

Pastrnak and Kase both practiced for the first time last Wednesday after making their way back from Europe and going through proper international quarantine protocols. But they were both absent the next day, and have not been around the team since. The Bruins aren’t allowed to say why players are “unfit to participate” in practice, but Pastrnak’s and Kase’s absences are certainly worrisome amid a global pandemic.

And given Pasrtnak’s supreme importance to the Bruins offense, it’s not an ideal situation for the team to find itself in with the season just over a week away.

Neely admitted Wednesday that he and other members of the organization wish that Pastrnak and Kase had made it back stateside a little earlier than they did.

“When we had the date when camp started and knew that some players would have to quarantine when they get here, you would hope they would get here a little earlier. But we didn’t have any say in that and it was really left up to the players,” explained Neely. “Obviously, with what has played out and transpired, you would have hoped there were other decisions made.”

Boston will play its first exhibition game against Columbus next Thursday in Toronto, and the puck drops on their three seeding games on Aug. 2. It would be nice if Pastrnak and/or Kase were able to join the team for that exhibition or a practice session or two, but at the moment, but for now, we’ll wait to see if they can even make the trip up north this weekend.

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