This Bruce Cassidy story explains how Bruins’ Pastrnak is a ‘rink rat’


While the NHL continues to be in suspension mode because of the Coronavirus pandemic, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy made an appearance on Hockey Central At Noon on Sportsnet 590 The Fan in Toronto.

Co-host Jeff Marek asked Cassidy about his work with Bruins forward David Pastrnak, who was tied for the NHL lead in goals (48) with Washington Alex Ovechkin when league play was suspended.

Cassidy recounted a story that he said proved Pastrnak is a ‘rink rat.’ It was either during Pastrnak’s first or second season in North America (2014-15 or 2015-16), so he was either 18 or 19, and he finished up playing at the IIHF World Junior Championship.

Pastrnak traveled the next day to Boston, then drove to Providence for a game the next day. When he showed up, he didn’t see his name in the lineup.

“Where’s my number on the board?” Cassidy, who was then the coach in Providence, recalled Pastrnak asking.

“You’re not playing tonight. Donny (Sweeney) said you’re going to come in and take a few days off,” Cassidy replied.

“No, I want to play, I’m here to play, that’s what I do,” Pastrnak said.

“Tells you all you need to know about him in terms of his commitment to being a hockey player,” Cassidy explained on Hockey Central.

Cassidy also described what he’s been up to during the down time.

“Helping out with some schoolwork, some long walks with the wife, a lot of reading, I guess I’m more of a reader than a TV guy. That’s about it. Stepping away from hockey a little bit,” he said.

He said he recently finished Ken Dryden’s book about Scotty Bowman and he mostly reads books about behavior to help with his job and books about hockey history.

As for the fact that the Bruins’ dominant regular season, which had them atop the NHL standings with a 44-14-12 record at the time of the NHL’s shutdown, might go to waste if the season in eventually canceled, the ever-positive Cassidy is holding out hope it doesn’t come to that.

“Yeah, I mean we’re still hoping to get out there and play. I’m an optimist … so we have that in the back of our minds,” he said. “But if it doesn’t happen, yes [it’ll be disappointing>. But different reasons, A, because we feel we’re as good as anybody. And I’m not being cocky, that’s just the confidence our group has. We have some unfinished business from last year, that was kind of our approach coming into training camp. We have a group that’s ready to win now, they’ve been there, they’re not getting younger of course. So to lose an opportunity would hurt the organization in that regard.

“And just the fact that we’re competitive and like I said feel that we’re right there, so it would be difficult. You’d get over it once you start up again, but right now it would be tough to sort of be told that you’re not going to get that opportunity. So we’ll stay optimistic.”

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