VANCOUVER — Ondrej Kase has a Bruins sweater with No. 28 on the back, but he doesn’t know if he’ll wear it on Tuesday, when his new team returns to TD Garden.
The ex-Duck, shipped to Boston on Friday for David Backes, Axel Andersson and a first-round pick, has not played since Toronto’s Jake Muzzin cleaned his clock on Feb. 7. On injured reserve with an upper-body injury and later said to be ill, he returned to Anaheim’s practice on Thursday, before he got news of the deal.
“It’s day-to-day,” said Kase, speaking Saturday on an introductory conference call with Boston reporters. “I don’t know yet if I can play. But it looks pretty close.”
The Bruins, who absorbed a 9-3 loss to the Canucks on Saturday night, may not be done dealing before Monday’s trade deadline. They are likely to practice Monday before hosting the Flames on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Kase was getting his affairs in order for a move across the country. The 2014 Anaheim draft pick (seventh round, 205th overall) is expected to adapt quickly.
“I’m very excited to be part of the Boston Bruins,” said Kase, a product of Kadan, northwest Czechia, who played on the Czech junior national teams with David Pastrnak. “I’ve talked a little bit with Pasta on this, so I can’t wait to meet the guys.
“I was very, very excited to be part of the Boston Bruins and I can’t wait for the playoffs. I hope we win the Stanley Cup; that’s why I’m going to Boston.”
Coach Bruce Cassidy said he will first try Kase as the No. 2 right wing, with David Krejci. Kase’s speed and willingness to fire could make him a fit on the right side. Krejci’s velveteen feeds could help Kase boost his production; he has seven goals on a career-low 5.2 shooting percentage.
“I don’t know why my shooting percentage is so low this year,” Kase said. “I feel like I try to shoot the puck everywhere and I really want the shooting percentage to be up again.”
His thoughts on Krejci?
“I think he is an unbelievable player, and I think anyone would want to play with him,” he said. “Unbelievable at passing . . . Yes, I think that it could help.
“I think I’m a pretty good skater and I can score goals. Very good defensively. So it’s the biggest part, to score goals.”
Kase, who has one more year remaining on a deal that pays $2.6 million annually, said he expected “a little bit” that rebuilding Anaheim would flip him before Monday.
“I spoke about it with my agent, he told me it could be this way,” said Kase. “I was getting ready for the trade, and I’m very happy it’s with Boston.”
Lauzon is the answer
The Bruins loved what Kevan Miller gave them the last two seasons. He was a strong right-side for Matt Grzelcyk on the third pair.
When healthy, Miller, who hasn’t played this season because of knee injuries, put out fires in the defensive zone by closing off space and jarring pucks loose. He wasn’t called on to thread needles or skate it out of the zone — that’s Grzelcyk’s specialty — but without him, the Bruins were lacking physicality on the back line.
Jeremy Lauzon may have solved that issue.
The Bruins may add another defenseman in advance of Monday’s deadline, but the rookie is earning the trust of Cassidy and assistant Kevin Dean, who oversees the defense.
“He’s delivered,” Cassidy said, noting Lauzon’s good foot speed and willingness to throw the body. Lauzon (17:41 TOI on Friday) engaged in his first career fight, tangling with Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk.
“The concern was, will he be able to move the puck well enough to stay at this level,” Cassidy said. “He has.”
Lauzon, a left shot, is also comfortable playing his off side, which has allowed Grzelcyk to stay on his strong side. Cassidy feels Grzelcyk is more effective there.
Lauzon was in the lineup after blocking a Dillon Dube slapper with his foot while killing a third-period penalty Friday.
Point elusive for Blidh
Anton Blidh, still looking for his first point of the season (0-0--0 in six games) remained in the lineup as a fourth-line left wing. Joakim Nordstrom and Par Lindholm were scratched . . .Tuukka Rask, leading the league in save percentage (.932) and goals against average (2.04) started his 36th game. If the Bruins keep a split rotation for the rest of the regular season, Rask could log some 45 games this year.