Bruce Cassidy didn’t complicate the contributions he believes Taylor Hall can make as the Bruins make their post-trade deadline push down the stretch of the season.
“Help us win,” Cassidy said. “That’s the message to him when he got here. Walk through the door.”
Hall doesn’t have to worry about being the franchise player like he was in Edmonton. Making plays that shift the game, like the ones he made in the Bruins’ 4-1 win Thursday over the Islanders, will be more than enough.
“You don’t have to be our leading scorer, you’re not the face of the franchise like maybe some other places you’ve been,” Cassidy said. “Just a good hockey player for the Boston Bruins. So keep building your game. Let’s see what your game is all about, come here and see what our game is all about, help us win.”
Against Buffalo Tuesday, Hall broke up a play not far from the Bruins net that kept the Sabres from taking the lead, and he set up a goal by Craig Smith.
Hall scored his first goal as a Bruin Thursday night.
“[He was] involved in a couple of plays during the game that good players make a difference on,” Cassidy said. “So when he has a chance to do that, hopefully, he’s able to make a positive impact. When he’s on other shifts, he’s just got to do his job and that is check well away from the puck, attack when you have it, make plays when the plays are to be made, manage it when you’re supposed to manage it.
“So I hope he keeps building on that part of it and doesn’t again try to stray from the team mentality. So far he hasn’t been. And we’ll see where it goes from there.”
Since adding Hall, Mike Reilly, and Curtis Lazar at the trade deadline, all three have made an impact. Cassidy said he didn’t know how long it would take them to adjust to a new environment, but in all three cases, there was already a drive to come in and contribute.
Boston has always been a desired destination for Hall. Reilly and Lazar, meanwhile, are trying to establish themselves in the league and have the opportunity with a team trying to make a deep playoff run.
“You’ve got three guys that are highly motivated and came from teams that weren’t winning to a team that obviously has been a playoff team and a Stanley Cup contender and with a little bit of health this year, I think, would be back in that category,” Cassidy said. “And I think they all recognize that and good for them for taking advantage of the opportunity that sort of was presented to them so far.”
Tuukka Rask came out of Thursday’s game healthy but rested Friday after playing for the first time since March 25. With Jeremy Swayman in net Friday, Dan Vladar was available as a backup.
“Tuukka’s fine,” Cassidy said. “Feels good after yesterday’s game this morning. But that’s the way we’re going to go so that he’s not pressed into any emergency service. Get some work tomorrow and get back in the net that Sunday.”
Defenseman Kevan Miller missed his second straight game for undisclosed reasons. He was expected to play Thursday, but Cassidy said he woke up with an issue not related to his prior knee issues or COVID-19. Cassidy described Miller as “day to day.” “Just something that came up that, unfortunately, has kept him out of the lineup and see where is that tomorrow.” ... Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk is progressing after skating earlier in the week, but was out again Friday. Cassidy said he’ll wait to see if Grzelcyk can practice Saturday before determining his availability for Sunday ... Defenseman Brandon Carlo is still week to week.
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.