Bruins center David Krejci was absent from practice Saturday morning, two days after he the team’s intrasquad scrimmage.
According to coach Bruce Cassidy, Krejci is battling an illness and is expected to return Sunday. The team is scheduled to practice at 11 a.m.
“I suspect we’ll see him [Sunday],’’ Cassidy said. “That is the plan. If he’s not out there [Sunday], now there’s a little bit of a worry there. But right now, I believe he’ll be practicing [Sunday].’’
Cassidy did not seem overly concerned about Krejci’s status and called the absence “precautionary.’’ Although the 33-year-old center is missing ice time, most notably with his power-play group, Cassidy said compensating for the physicality is more important than getting him up to speed on strategy.
“[Krejci’s] been around a long time, a very cerebral player,’’ Cassidy said. “He can pick things up in a hurry. It’s more about when you miss two, three days, do you have your legs? Do you have your stamina?’’
With Krejci out, right wing David Backes skated at center and 23-year-old Karson Kuhlman took Backes’s spot to round out the second line, alongside left wing Jake DeBrusk.
Because of his illness, as well as a maintenance day earlier in the week, Krejci seems to be getting what he wants, Cassidy joked. After the Bruins clinched the conference finals against the Carolina Hurricanes, Krejci said he wasn’t looking forward to the long layoff because he’s not a fan of practice.
“He said he doesn’t like to practice, right?’’ Cassidy said. “So, there you go. We’ll grant him his wish.’’
Sportsnet color analyst Louie DeBrusk arrived in Boston on Saturday, but he’s not in town to work the broadcast booth.
After calling the first two rounds of the playoffs, Louie, who played left wing for 11 seasons in the NHL, will be off the clock cheering on his son, Jake, with his wife, Cindy. The couple will attend Games 1 and 2 at TD Garden before Louie briefly visits Buffalo for the NHL Combine.
Even if he’s not in St. Louis for Game 3, however, there’s no doubt the 48-year-old father of two will find a way to tune in. And he will certainly plan to be in the building should the Bruins have an opportunity to sweep in Game 4.
“He watches every game,’’ Jake said. “He has the game on when he’s doing his own games. That’s probably why he says some weird stuff out there.’’
While the bulk of Boston’s scouting takes place in-house, Jake said he’ll sometimes consult his dad for insights on what he’s seeing from the bench. Louie already got a taste of Boston’s opponent when he was assigned to the Blues’ first-round series against the Winnipeg Jets.
“Him calling games, he gets to see the other side and different aspects of what guys are successful on other teams,’’ Jake said. “I just try and pick his brain from that point.’’
While Louie will certainly be proudly supporting his son, don’t expect any waterworks this time around. Back in October 2017, when Jake scored his first NHL goal, Louie couldn’t help but shed a few tears.
“I think he got chirped enough for it, so I think he’s going to keep his emotions in check,’’ Jake said. “He’s told me he’s very proud, and obviously to have this chance right now is something special.’’
The wait continues
With Game 1 right around the corner, the Bruins are ready for the series to finally get underway.
“I’ve gotten pretty bored,’’ defenseman Brandon Carlo admitted.
During the lengthy layoff, Carlo said he’s occupied some of his free time by watching movies, including the 2009 film “Avatar,’’ which has a run time of nearly three hours. He, Matt Grzelcyk, Danton Heinen, Charlie McAvoy, and David Pastrnak, also hung out after Thursday’s scrimmage.
“We went and had a meal together,’’ Carlo said. “It was good for us young guys to get together and talk about what’s coming up here in a little bit. Just keep the mood light.’’
Forward Charlie Coyle said he’s been napping to catch up on sleep. A Weymouth native, Coyle said he’s also enjoyed spending more time with his family, including a dinner with his sisters Friday night. Coyle’s 90-year-old grandmother, with a No. 13 sign in hand, was among the 16,000 in attendance at the scrimmage the night prior.
Despite being off for over a week, the Bruins haven’t expressed any additional nervousness — at least not yet.
“It’s more anticipation for me right now,’’ DeBrusk said. “The nerves will probably come tonight or even tomorrow, but it hasn’t necessarily set in in that sense. Even though we’ve had lots of days off, I think you’re just trying to keep your mind-set the same throughout the entire playoffs.’’