BRIGHTON, Mass – While David Pastrnak has been ruled out from starting the season with the Boston Bruins in New Jersey next week, it sounds like the B’s game-breaker may be back sooner rather than later. The 23-year-old Pastrnak has begun skating on his own at Warrior Ice Arena and is “a little bit ahead of schedule” with a hip surgery rehab that initially had him expected to return to game action around the middle of February.
Instead, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy pointed to a possible early February return for Pastrnak, perhaps during a four-game road trip through Washington and Philadelphia that will take place in the first week of that month. It’s not quite as encouraging as the news that Brad Marchand (sports hernia surgery) is shooting for the Jan. 14 season opener vs. the New Jersey Devils, but it’s still positive news on the injury front for the Black and Gold.
It’s all assuming there aren’t any setbacks for Pastrnak in the late stages of his return from significant hip surgery, but to this point the Boston Bruins bench boss said it’s been smooth sailing for the NHL’s leading goal scorer.
“Pasta is skating on his own schedule,” said Cassidy. “The original prognosis was mid-February, so we feel he’s a little bit ahead of that. Let’s get through January and then we’ll see where he’s at. I don’t like to speculate the medical part, but I’m just repeating what I hear from the medical guys.
“Up to this point, which is approximately four months now, his rehab has gone very well with no setbacks. Because of his natural conditioning and work ethic, I think that pushes him ahead a little bit. How much? I just know he won’t be ready when we head to New Jersey. Could it be Feb. 1 or Feb. 4? Getting back from a road trip and having him back in practices is always the best indicator to me, and he’s not there yet.”
Pastrnak had an NHL-leading 48 goals and 95 points in 70 games last season but was clearly nagged by hip issues during the Toronto bubble while still posting three goals and 10 points along with a minus-3 rating in 10 playoff games. With injuries dogging his performance in each of the last two postseasons, it’s got to be encouraging to assume the explosive Pastrnak could be 100 percent healthy for the bulk of a compacted regular season and Stanley Cup playoffs this around once he makes his anticipated return next month.