David Pastrnak was one of nine Bruins players who were designated as “unfit to practice” on Saturday. According to his agent, Pastrnak is in isolation because he had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

In addition to David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase, who missed their third straight practice Saturday, the Boston Bruins were without seven other players at Saturday’s practice. Tuukka Rask, Torey Krug, David Krejci, Charlie Coyle, Chris Wagner, Sean Kuraly and Nick Ritchie all missed the session for unspecified reasons.

The Bruins were off Sunday.

Coach Bruce Cassidy said he’s required to say the players were “unfit to practice” under guidelines created by the league and NHL Players Association. He said there were no new injuries, but that an absent player doesn’t necessarily indicate that player has tested positive for coronavirus. He pointed out that assistant coach Kevin Dean tested negative but was forced to miss practice Monday because he’d been in contract with someone who may have been exposed.

“Unfit to play is a league directive for everything. I’ve tried to be upfront in the past, but we’re protecting the players’ rights,” said Cassidy, who recognized the vague designation would create speculation.

The Bruins had planned to scrimmage Saturday, but didn’t have enough players available.

It was the third straight day off the ice for Pastrnak and Kase.

If Brad Marchand is any indication, the Bruins players aren’t overly worried about Pastrnak’s continued absence.

Pastrnak’s agent told multiple outlets Friday that his client was in quarantine. Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase both missed practice Monday and Tuesday as they went through isolation protocols after returning from the Czech Republic. Both skated with the team on Wednesday, but were gone again Thursday and haven’t come back yet.

Pastrnak’s agent, J.P. Barry, said his client had been in contact with someone who was infected with the virus, but Pastrnak tested negative. He’s in quarantine as required by safety protocols.

On a Zoom call with Boston media on Saturday, Marchand said he doesn’t expect top line’s chemistry to suffer.

“Pasta is going to be back for the playoffs, I’m not really looking too much into it. It doesn’t take long for chemistry to bounce back with us,” he said. “I’m just out there trying to fine-tune my skills and what I need to work on to get back to where my game (should be) on the ice. That chemistry stuff, when we do line drills it comes back very quickly. It’s not something that (Patrice Bergeron) and I are concerned about.”

It could be more challenging for Kase who is trying to create chemistry, not simply regain it. He was traded to the Bruins on Feb. 21, but didn’t play in a game until Feb. 28, as he was returning from injury. Just 13 days later, the NHL shut down.

Kase is expected to play with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk on the second line. Karson Kuhlman has been skating there in his absence.

The Bruins leave for Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city, on July 26, and are scheduled to play their first game of the restart on Aug. 2 against the Flyers.


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