It was a bit of a tough blow for the Boston Bruins when word came down that both Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak might miss time next season while recovering from surgeries. It all depends on when the NHL regular season actually gets going, of course, but the good news is that both top line wingers are on schedule for a timely return and might even be ahead of their initial schedule at this point.
Marchand had sports hernia surgery on Sept. 14 and his four-month recovery timetable would put him on target to return in mid-January. Pastrnak underwent arthroscopy and labral repair on his right hip on Sept. 16 with a five-month recovery timetable putting him in line for mid-February.
With the NHL still shooting for a Jan. 1 open to the regular season, both key wingers and Boston Bruins goal-scorers could miss time at the start of a new season for the Black and Gold. If the regular season were to start in mid-January or early February as some think might actually happen, then it could be that only Pastrnak ends up missing any kind of game action.
Either way, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told NHL.com that both hard-working players are on schedule for on-time return and might even back into action ahead of time.
“They’re on schedule. They may even be ahead of schedule, for all I know,” said Cassidy. “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.”
It will be interesting to see how the Bruins handle the absences of key offensive players if the season does indeed start at the beginning of January. Anders Bjork has filled in for David Pastrnak in the past and could do that again while the Bruins miss the NHL’s leading goal-scorer, or a new face like Craig Smith could play up in the lineup while Pasta is out.
Perhaps it could even be top Boston Bruins prospect Jack Studnicka after he looked so good during a couple of brief stints in Boston last season.
On the left side, it would likely have to be Jake DeBrusk playing up and the Bruins plugging in Nick Ritchie and Sean Kuraly on the left side for the brief bit of action that Marchand might miss. Given the injuries to Marchand and Pastrnak and the turnover on Boston’s back end, though, it’s trending toward a possible slow start to next season for the Boston Bruins given all the mounting questions they will have to answer pretty quickly.