Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak revealed during the team’s breakup day last Friday, that he re-injured his surgically repaired thumb after he took a hit in Round 2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Even with his injury, Pastrnak still performed well as he finished second on the team in playoff points with 19 (9 goals and 10 assists). However, once the Bruins made it to the Stanley Cup Final, Pastrnak had just two goals, four points, and was a team worst in plus/minus with a -7 in the seven-game series loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Still, the injury was not an excuse for how poor his play was in the Stanley Cup Final. He had chances to bury the puck in the net against the Blues, but when the grip is not right on the stick it is hard to get a shot off. The thumb plays a pivotal role in the release of a shot as the player uses the thumb to secure the stick in his hand. He felt his shot was pretty good, but did say he felt discomfort more on “one-timers” than anything else.
“It was definitely tough. I wasn’t feeling great, but that’s why this was such a good group because we were always picking each other up. It was obviously challenging for me, but I had 25 guys to help pick me up just like I would do the opposite [for them],” said Pastrnak. “It was the mental stuff, you know? In this kind of life, even if you don’t want to see stuff, read stuff and blah-blah with the media, it’s tough. You’re always going to see it. And that’s fine, you know?”
Even though Pastrnak is still a young player in the league, he has the mindset of a player who wants to get better not only on the ice, but off it. Pastrnak knows that he must not let the small stuff get to him, especially when his play is not up to the standards that everyone expects it to be. When asked by Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy about the biggest comparison between his first time in the playoffs and now, Pastrnak mentioned how he needs to be tougher mentally in the future.
“I’m just going to get stronger mentally,” he said. “So it was a good experience. It’s a big mental experience. I gained a lot this postseason. The mental stuff is what I learned the most. [I learned] that it doesn’t [expletive] matter if you play a bad friggen’ game. It’s the playoffs. Or if you have a bad shift. It’s the playoffs and you just need to come back to the bench and make sure you’re ready for the next shift no matter what happened behind you. It’s the tough part of hockey sometimes when you get stuck on something instead of looking forward and focusing on the next shift. Sometimes you get stuck on thinking what happened before and that brings you down kind of.”