David Pastrnak is left-handed and maybe could’ve used some help away from the rink while he was recovering from surgery on his left thumb last month and early this month.
Pastrnak’s mother, Marcela, who often visits her son from their native Czech Republic, offered to make life on the sidelines more bearable for the speedy right wing. But the 22-year-old knew that this time it would be wiser to decline his mom’s offer.
“No, I figured it out. My mom, she wanted to come, I told her she can’t. Because I would be probably 20 pounds heavier when I come back. So I told her just to stay away,” Pastrnak told WEEI.com Friday after practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
The Bruins went 12-3-1 without Pastrnak in their lineup, but only a fool would think they didn’t miss him. All he’s done to prove how much better a team Boston is with No. 88 on the ice is put up 11 points (five goals, six assists) in the past four games since going point-less in his first game back March 19 at the New York Islanders. He has basically picked up where he left off and he now has 77 points (36 goals, 41 assists).
Boston’s success while Pastrnak was out kept him motivated to get back through the monotony of working out but not being able to play.
“It’s way better to see your team winning than losing, right?” he said. “So injuries are a part of hockey. Obviously it’s … really hard for I would say every player who is hurt. But you just want to keep winning and that’s what helps a little, when the guys are winning. But at the same time it’s really hard to sit on the couch and watch the games and know that you can’t help.”
Any frustration over being kept out of games by an injury to such a relatively small part of the body was tempered by Pastrnak’s ability to keep working out almost as he normally would when healthy. For a few weeks he was in a cast and couldn’t even move his wrist. But that soon gave way to a splint and more flexibility.
And from early on in the recovery process he was able to skate, so there weren’t many boring stretches of time spent on the stationary bike. That Pastrnak’s return to the lineup was slowed a tad by rustiness with his timing and his touch with the puck but not by any issues with his conditioning is something he credits to the Bruins’ training staff. They made sure his off-ice workouts nearly duplicated the exertion that would come with a practice or a game.
“They get all the numbers and these guys you can track anything and they do a good job,” Pastrnak said. “They don’t want to keep you [too long], you don’t want to be overly in shape and come back tired. You just want to be in the same shape like you are when you play and practice every day.”
Pastrnak’s appreciation of the training staff increased from its already high levels, and his appreciation of how difficult it is to do everyday things – cutting and cooking especially – increased just as much. He managed to get by and now things are back to normal on and off the ice. Mom can come visit whenever she wants.
Defensemen Matt Grzelcyk and Kevan Miller, who’ve been out with upper-body injuries, are close to returning and will be game-day decisions when the Bruins host Florida on Saturday afternoon. … Tuukka Rask will start against the Panthers; Jaroslav Halak gets the start Sunday in Detroit. … Pastrnak practiced on a line with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. Marcus Johansson, who started in that spot next to DeBrusk and Krejci on Wednesday in the 6-3 win against the New York Rangers, practiced with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. … Karson Kuhlman was called up from Providence (AHL) on an emergency basis, again.
The Big Bad Blog is presented by: