Report: Cassidy makes unpopular lineup decision for Game One vs Leafs

Uh… not sure we’re on board with this…

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Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy made a surprising announcement this morning, admitting that he’s considering sitting Bruins rookie Ryan Donato for the team’s first game of its opening round Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

With forwards Rick Nash, Riley Nash and Sean Kuraly all expected to return to the lineup following injury, it looks like the 22 year old Donato will get pushed out. Warranted? 

Donato has managed five goals and nine points in his first 12 NHL games. Throw the age and inexperience excuse out the window… the kid can play, there’s no question. To be honest, we’re disappointed that Cassidy is using the youth as an excuse.

“One of the questions is how many young guys can you have in your lineup at once and sustain your level of play in the second season?”

Fair question, but we fail to see how removing one of the team’s best players over the past two weeks helps the Bruins in the end. Anyone?

For what it’s worth, Cassidy is clearly concerned with the Leafs’ speed and offensive ability, so he may be simply looking to inject some more defensive responsibility into his lineup.

"They play with a lot of speed, so we’ve got our work cut out for us from top to bottom. They’ve got depth, they’ve got scoring ability. It’s going to be a big challenge, they’re a quality hockey club,“ said the Bruins bench boss. 

As reported earlier today, it appears that veteran Rick Nash as well as forwards Riley Nash and Kuraly will make their return to the lineup for tomorrow’s game:

The deadline additions of Rick Nash, Brian Gionta and Donato have given this team perhaps the best depth of any team in the NHL, certainly at least in the Eastern Conference. While Bruins fans are no doubt disappointed that Donato won't get to suit up for game one, Cassidy didn't count out the chance of him getting the call for game two saying, "Game One scratch doesn't mean Game Two. Things can change in a hurry."

Any way you look at it, it's encouraging to see the Bruins with so many lineup options. These are good problems to have.