Boston Bruins alternative captain David Krejci centered among the greatest lines from the team’s recent history once the Czech pivot and wings Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton led it to Stanley Cup success in 2011. Currently, Horton and Lucic have now been gone for many decades, and the next line hasn’t been good.
A massive portion of the problem is that the coaches have fought to discover a lineup that develops sufficient chemistry to stay together long and succeed. Krejci was a mainstay at centre, and Jake Debrusk has performed his left wing for the vast majority of the past couple of seasons. But, dozens of right-wing choices are attempted, and none have proven to be that effective.
It appears that the Krejci and Debrusk honeymoon may be nearing a conclusion, at least in the opinion of head coach Bruce Cassidy, that didn’t mince words lately in his complaint of this duo’s play. Consequently, Debrusk found himself relegated to a unknown third-line, right-wing place in Thursday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Case for Kase
It appears like Debrusk may return to the second-line, left-wing slot for the Bruins’ final round robin match against the Washington Capitals on Sunday. He rotated in this place with Karson Kuhlman in Saturday’s practice. But, Krejci and Debrusk or Kuhlman will have to familiarize themselves with the other ideal wing that has played hardly any since being traded to the Bruins in February: Ondrej Kase.
Ondrej Kase, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Kase did play a couple of games together with Debrusk and Krejci at the brief time period between when he came in Boston and if the National Hockey League place play hold at mid-March. However he was still recovering from trauma problems for a huge part of the couple weeks, hence that the coaches and his teammates actually have seen just a tiny sample of his style of play and how he fits into the lineup.
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Kase was put at quarantine in the very early phases of the abbreviated July training camp, also contains practiced a small number of occasions because the Bruins returned to play every month. Because of this, that basically leaves Cassidy with a single match to determine if he’ll be the best match to fulfill the troublesome right handed place entering the first round of the playoffs.
Obviously, that’s a tall order, and probably can’t be achieved in three phases of play. Considering that the Bruins’ best six has neglected to contribute offensively from the first two round-robin championship games they’ve played, a significant question mark about the next line will surely cause for concern.
Cassidy looks keen to get Kase and fellow forwards Nick Ritchie, that was also obtained by the Bruins in February, a few normal playing time. The trainer said last week that those two players were brought in to assist the group in the playoffs. Therefore, it seems they’ll be provided every chance to achieve that.
Waiting in the Wings
The wild card, if you may, at the second-line situation is gifted prospect Jack Studnicka. The upcoming celebrity impressed more than the coaches anticipated in summer camp along with the resultant practices. That first impression interpreted into the youthful forward obtaining a twist on the next line. Though his presence didn’t make a difference on the scoresheet, he’d help produce some excellent opportunities and his pace was remarkable.
Jack Studnicka, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Studnicka has been requested to have a chair in favor of having Ritchie and Kase some sport actions. If both of these two impress the coaching staff enough to lock down a place, the child could be requested to watch from the sidelines for now.
If Kase doesn’t work out as expected, or accidents as well as other lineup changes get involved, Studnicka appears like a very viable choice. Obviously, it’s still too soon to tell if he’s the response for the long run the Bruins Steel have awaited.
Who’s It Going to Be?
The previous two seasons have seen a revolving door of second-line wingers, such as Studnicka, Kuhlman, Anders Bjork, and Zach Senyshyn, in addition to Danton Heinen and David Backes, that have been traded to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for both Ritchie and Kase. Bruins celebrity David Pastrnak, who headed with the goal-scoring name with Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin from the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 year, has moved down a couple of times to bring some assistance to his fellow Czech countryman.
On the other hand, the most important thing is that the next line on almost any hockey group is predicted to score. If this line doesn’t supply its fair share of crime, the staff is probably going to fight to win matches.
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For a group which had to rely quite heavily on the drama of its bottom-six forward and goaltending push through to the last round of this 2019 playoffs, this couldn’t be more evident. Whether the matter is Krejci himself or the simple fact he and Debrusk have failed to find consistent chemistry using numerous prospective linemates, it’s a difficulty Cassidy should be focusing on using playoff games that rely quickly coming.