If the targeted Jan. 1 start of the NHL season comes to pass as Gary Bettman hopes, the Boston Bruins will be starting the season shorthanded.
First-line wingers David Pastrnak (right hip) and Brad Marchand (sports hernia) each underwent surgeries back in mid-September. Pastrnak’s five-month recovery timeline puts him on track for the middle of February, while Marchand’s four-month timeline puts him on track for mid-January.
It’ll be a challenging hurdle for the Bruins to clear, especially in a truncated season. But for now, the team is optimistic.
“They may even be ahead of schedule, for all I know,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told NHL.com’s Amalie Benjamin. “I just know how hard those two guys work as well. … Guys that train hard will probably stay on schedule, or at least get a little bit ahead.
“So I guess we’re optimistic right now where their progress is. The unknown becomes (that) it’s hard to project what game they’ll be in because we don’t know when our first game is, right? So that’s the other part of this. Right now, we’re expecting to have them early in the season. But I don’t know, until we get the schedules, it’s hard to say that they’ll miss this amount of time or that amount of time.”
The positive in all of this is it will give younger forwards, Jack Studnicka and Anders Bjork likely among them, the opportunity to get thrust into bigger roles.
But then again, both Marchand and Pastrnak are fringe Hart Trophy candidates, so there are few “positives” about them being out — no matter how many silver linings you try to find.