Bruins president Cam Neely, who’s also the last Boston player to pot 50 goals in a season, expects to see David Pastrnak end that drought this season.
“Well I made a comment the other day that he can’t be selfish,” said Neely, who scored 50 goals in 49 games in 1993-94, during an appearance on The Skate Podcast. “And what I mean by that is you can’t pass up opportunities to shoot. When I say to people you’re selfish when you don’t shoot, they don’t understand that. They think they’re not being selfish by passing the puck, and for me you know when you have an opportunity to put the puck on the net, you should put it on the net, especially the way that David shoots.
“I think if he continues to put pucks on the net and the line continues to click the way they are our power play goes – I don’t know if we’re going to sustain this kind of clip – but obviously he’s got a great shot at getting 50 this year.”
Neely doesn’t just share his advice with Pastrnak on popular podcasts. He’s shared his opinions with the 23-year-old, and Pastrnak, who heads into the Bruins’ game at Detroit on Friday with 15 goals in 15 games, thoroughly understands what Neely wants him to do.
“Sometimes you just got to close your eyes and shoot,” Pastrnak responded to WEEI.com when asked what Neely has told him. “When you’re feeling it the puck’s going in, you never know what kind of shot’s going to go in. Yeah, so obviously it’s always helpful.”
Pastrnak, who also has 15 assists in those 15 games, doesn’t feel like he overpasses. When you play with players the caliber of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, almost any scoring chance is a dangerous one. Pastrnak said that at this point in his career, he’ll well past the notion that he has to defer to his veteran linemates. He’s just trying to make sure he makes the right play in any given sequence rather than just thinking pass or shot.
“For me I just want to make the right decision. If there is a shot, I will always take a shot, and when there’s a better chance to pass for him to score than my situation, then I want him to get him the puck,” Pastrnak said.
Some of the shots Pastrnak scores with seem impossible to stop and leave opposing goalies looking stupid. Neely thinks there are a couple factors that have made Pastrnak one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the NHL.
“Well he’s worked on that because there were times when he struggled on the one-timer there if you recall, like he’d fan on it a lot. And he’s worked a great deal on that,” Neely told The Skate Podcast. “And it’s really about maybe getting to understand the goaltenders a little bit more too. Because once you see the goalies play a number of times, you play against them, you get to know their tendencies and you know where there may be some weaknesses. And obviously there’s some pre-scouts on these goaltenders. And if you’re a natural goal-scorer, sometimes the puck just finds its way in where it doesn’t for other guys.”
Pastrnak admitted he doesn’t scout the goalies. But he does keep track of them and knows which ones he’s had success against – knowledge that sometimes gives him an extra jolt.
“I don’t [scout goalies>. I just feel like some goalies I know I have a good time against them and I can score,” he said. “So obviously that helps a little bit the mind situation in your head. But I don’t scout them.”
And what about scoring 50 goals? Pastrnak’s not shying away from it but he doesn’t want the pursuit of a number to knock him off course.
“I’ve said many times I want to get there,” he said, “and you know right now I’m just focusing to keep playing the same way and working my game every day.”