BOSTON — Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said Sunday that the team still has yet to decide whether it will release winger David Pastrnak to play for his native Czech Republic in the upcoming World Junior Championships.
Pastrnak, who has missed Boston’s last 22 games as he recovers from a fractured foot, took another step forward in his rehab Saturday, suiting up for the Bruins’ American Hockey League affiliate in Providence.
“He played (Saturday) night in his first game back on a conditioning stint,” Sweeney said after the Bruins defeated the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in a shootout Sunday evening. “He’ll play again (for Providence) on Tuesday and see how he is. We’ve been in communication with the Czech national World Junior team, and we have to wait and see where he’s at as well as where our club is at health-wise.
“If we get to (Dec.) 28, when the roster freeze is up, there’s still a chance for him to go, yes, and there’s also a chance, depending on our health, for him to stay. So again, it’s up in the air. It’s based a little bit (on the fact that) he hasn’t played hockey in seven weeks. (Saturday) night was his first game back, so certainly it’s about his health first and foremost. But he may be made available at that particular time.”
Pastrnak recorded an assist and posted a minus-1 rating Saturday as the P-Bruins fell to the Springfield Falcons 4-2.
“I didn’t get to see any of it,” Boston coach Claude Julien said before Sunday’s game. “I just saw the scoreboard. But sometimes a point doesn’t mean you played well. He was also minus-1. I’ll get some info, I’m sure, later on.”
The Czechs begin World Juniors play Dec. 26 but would be open to adding Pastrnak if he is made available Dec. 28, per Sweeney. The 19-year-old winger has two goals and two assists in 10 NHL games this season.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Bruins left wing David Pastrnak during a game against Tampa Bay.