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Bruce Cassidy Back With Bruins After COVID Absence

BOSTON (CBS) --  The Bruins have their head coach back. Bruce Cassidy was back on the ice with his team after being away for the last two weeks with COVID-19.

Cassidy was placed in the NHL's COVID protocol back on Nov. 30 following a positive test and missed six games. Assistant Joe Sacco took over for Cassidy on the Boston bench, leading the Bruins to a 3-1-2 record in Cassidy's absence.

Cassidy said that being at home and watching the Bruins reminded him of his head coaching days in Providence, when he kept tabs on the big league team. It wasn't easy to sit and watch his team in action, but Cassidy said that he was very happy with the job that Joe Sacco and his assistants did in his absence.

He did make a few phone calls to Sacco, and had zoom sessions with the team to go over their power play plan on game days. But Cassidy said he let Sacco and crew do their own thing when the games got underway.

"You try to stay involved, but out of the way once the puck drops. They did a great job, getting the guys ready to play," Cassidy told reporters on Monday. "I'm looking forward to getting back at at.

"I told him, 'It's not your job yet,'" Cassidy joked.

Cassidy was all smiles as he got back on the ice with the team on Monday, as the Bruins get set for Tuesday night's home game against the Vegas Golden Knights. The team shared a video of Cassidy's triumphant return ahead of Monday's practice session at Warrior Ice Arena.

Cassidy told reporters that he had "two or three bad days" during his time in COVID protocol, with a few bad headaches during his bout. He said that he is vaccinated, and never got a fever while in protocol.

His own health was not the only topic of discussion though. The Bruins as a team are not out of the COVID woods at the moment. Boston just returned from a West Coast trip that included a Saturday night win over the Calgary Flames, and the NHL just postponed Calgary's games through Thursday after the team had six players and one staff member enter COVID protocols.

With that, Bruins defensemen Connor Clifton, John Moore and goaltender Linus Ullmark were all out of Monday's practice due to "testing issues," according to Cassidy. The head coach is hopeful that all three will be back on Tuesday.

"It is tough, but that's the way the world is now," Cassidy said of this new situation that the team finds itself in. "You have to battle through it."

Both Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand were given maintenance days on Monday.

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