Bruins Notes: Jack Studnicka Hype Starts To Increase As NHL Playoffs Near

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Jack Studnicka is a promising young NHL talent, but it’s still a long shot he turns into Patrice Bergeron.

But …

The Boston Bruins prospect was a busy man Thursday at Warrior Ice Arena, where he rotated in and skated at right wing on the second line alongside David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. He also saw some time on the Bruins’ second power-play unit.

Top-six forwards David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase still haven’t rejoined the team. With Boston leaving for the NHL bubble in Toronto on Sunday, Studnicka seems very much in the running for a roster spot — or, at the very least, a chance to prove himself in an exhibition game or round-robin contest.

Head coach Bruce Cassidy admitted a strong showing in camp thus far has Studnicka in the running for playing time alongside the likes of Anders Bjork and Karson Kuhlman.

“I like the compete,” Cassidy said Thursday on a Zoom call with reporters. “I like the fact that he’s engaged in practice every day, it looks like he’s very fit. That part of it, the initial, does not look out of place. Actually, he’s looked pretty good in some of the drills. That’s the start. That’s step 1 to show you belong and hopefully excel against the guys he’s competing against. Time will tell with that in the next 10 days or so.”

That Cassidy also even entertained comparisons to Bergeron should tell you how much he thinks of Studnicka.

“I think it’s a fair (comparison) in terms of how they play right now,” Cassidy said. “Bergy is good at everything, but he’s not this flashy guy, and I do see that with Jack. He’s a second-effort guy. He never quits on a play, can make plays smart, work both ends of the ice.

” … Listen, I hope he turns into the next Bergy. That would be great for the franchise, great for the franchise and great for us as coaches because he’s second to none in terms of a player and a person. If that happens, the Bruins will be in good shape for the next 10 years.”

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Here are some more notes from Thursday.

— Charlie McAvoy returned to practice after missing two straight sessions. Nick Ritchie was a new absence.

— Thursday was a big special teams day for the Bruins.

As far as the penalty kill, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner got in work as one pair of killers, with Joakim Nordstrom and Par Lindholm being the other, per reporters at Warrior. Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo were the defensemen.

— The Bruins leave for Toronto on Sunday. If all goes according to plan, the Bruins will be there for a month-plus and then, they hope, will head to Edmonton for the final two rounds. That much time away from home understandably is daunting, but B’s defenseman Connor Clifton thinks this pre-playoff camp — and trying to stay healthy — is the difficult part.

“As for the hotels, I think it will be a lot easier once we get to that bubble,” he said on a Zoom call. “Everyone’s trying to do their part, stay safe and stay away from people. Once we get to Toronto and we can all be in the bubble, I think things will get easier.”

— Defenseman Jeremy Lauzon was playing the best hockey of his young career at the time of the pause. The 23-year-old took the disruption in stride, however, and doesn’t seem too concerned about his ability to pick up where he left off when games begin.

“It was kind of disappointing to put a pause on the season, for sure. The team was rolling and I was starting to feel really comfortable on that right side with (Matt Grzelcyk), but everyone’s in the same book on the same page. I feel really good right now. It’s been 3 1/2 months off and I’m just happy to be back here. Slowly, me and Grizz are starting to get some chemistry back.”

— Lauzon also had a great answer when asked about the difficulties of having to be tested for COVID-19 every day.

“Right now, everything’s not pleasant,” he said. “We’ve gotta understand it’s different. We’re playing in a pandemic time. Everything’s gonna be different. You’ve gotta put your mind into it. The quicker the team’s gonna understand that, the quicker I think we’re gonna be back at 100 percent. I think there’s a lot of distraction out there, but we’ve gotta focus on our group. Personally, I’ve been testing almost every day. It’s been really easy. For me, it’s not something that bothers me. I’m just happy I’m testing every day and I don’t the virus.”

— Here are some highlights from Thursday’s practice.

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Thumbnail photo via Jean-Yves Ahern/USA TODAY Sports Images

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