There were a slew of questions surrounding David Pastrnak’s status for the Bruins, but it appears the winger is doing just fine.
Pastrnak skated just once with Boston at Warrior Ice Arena during Phase 3 of the NHL return plan, but skated at a rink in Malden, Mass. when Phase 3 began, so he had to quarantine for 14 days. He made the trip with the team to Toronto and is expected to play in Thursday’s exhibition game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
So all in all, it’s good news.
But naturally, there’s probably some worry in fans’ minds about just how well Pastrnak will perform come game time due to him not skating as much as his teammates. He’s been off to a hot start in the NHL’s bubble city, and now he’s garnering some praise from a veteran player.
Patrice Bergeron joined reporters via Zoom after Wednesday’s practice. And according to the alternate captain, his linemate “hasn’t missed a beat.”
In fact, Bergeron believes it’s he who needs to do the catching up.
“He’s looking good,” Bergeron said. “We have some catching up to do to catch up to him. He’s looking great, looking like Pasta out there, like he didn’t miss a beat.”
Brad Marchand echoed Bergeron’s sentiments.
“It was a little frustrating watching him come back and realizing just how far behind him we are,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun having him back. Just the energy that he brings to the table every day, it’s been a lot of fun.”
Well, that certainly should get Bruins fans excited.
Here are some other notes from the Bruins’ Wednesday:
— Anders Bjork got a pay raise.
— Nick Ritchie missed his sixth straight practice, while Ondrej Kase has yet to join the team.
Kase, like Pastrnak, only skated once during Phase 3. General manager Don Sweeney didn’t give a timeline for the return of Kase, but did offer a little insight.
“We do expect him to join us in short order,” Sweeney said Wednesday.
— The Bruins announced Tuesday that they would link arms in unity prior to the United States and Canadian national anthems. And for Zdeno Chara, it’s all about using their platform “the right way.”
“We have the platform and we want to use it the right way,” he said on Zoom. “After some thoughtful conversations and meetings we had as a group, we decided we wanted to do something to support the Black community. This is the platform during the playoffs we have coming up that we want to express our support. We understand there is still work to be done and we are obviously still listening and learning. Everybody has to make that approach in the right way to make the proper change.”
Bergeron noted the team is trying to educate themselves and continue to have conversations.
“We’re trying to listen, we’re trying to educate ourselves,” he said. “… We’ve had some great conversations over the last few days. We can continue that and hopefully encourage other people to do the same thing.”
Marchand added: “We don’t stand for racism, we are against it. Just like Bergy said, we want to continue to further the conversation and we have had a ton. We do have so much to learn, and I think this has really opened our eyes that we need to be part of the solution and that’s what we want to do.”
— Boston takes on the Blue Jackets on Thursday night in the Bruins’ first game (albeit exhibition) since March. The two squads met during the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs with the B’s advancing on.
Columbus is a physical team, but head coach Bruce Cassidy thinks it will be good for his guys to play against a team that isn’t the Black and Gold.
“We haven’t seen, other than some scrimmages against each other, anybody else in a long time,” he said on Zoom “Our focus will be on ourselves, let’s get our game together.”
Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. ET.