BRIGHTON, Mass – Things were a little brighter and bit more exciting on the Boston Bruins practice ice on Tuesday morning with the return of star winger David Pastrnak to team activities on the ice. The 23-year-old Pastrnak was wearing a maroon no-contact sweater while going through drills with a group of his teammates, which was a significant step in his return from offseason hip surgery.
Pastrnak wasn’t really cutting it loose while he skated on the ice and looked like he was holding back some of the intensity during his first time on the ice with his teammates, but his mere presence was an encouraging sign.
We have a David Pastrnak sighting on the ice. First time Pasta is skating with his Bruins teammates as he comes back from hip surgery pic.twitter.com/dft8zrY19J
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) January 12, 2021
Pastrnak will not be headed on the three-game road trip to open the season for the B’s that starts Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils, but the expectation is he’ll be ready to fully practice when the Boston Bruins return next week.
“We don’t pick any one particular day that we circle on the calendar,” said Don Sweeney, when asked about Pastrnak’s return to the fold. “We’ll allow him to go through his progressions so our training staff, our entire medical group and the strength and conditioning side of it can find out where he’s at and continue to increase his workload overall as he goes through.
“You saw him with a bunch of players [on Tuesday] integrating into some of those situations, which is really his first day. He’ll continue to do that as he goes along while we’re on the road. Unfortunately, he won’t be with us on the road to do some of those battle situations. We don’t have extra players around to be able to facilitate that. But we expect him to fully re-integrate into practice upon our return and then we’ll get a much better indication of where he is, sort of circling a date sometime in February.”
As Bruce Cassidy referenced a few days ago, Pastrnak could be ready to go as early as 2-3 weeks from the start of the season. In the meantime, rookie Jack Studnicka is expected to fill in as the right winger with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the Perfection Line while Pastrnak works his way back to game readiness.
Given that Pastrnak led the NHL with 48 goals scored in 70 games last season and led the Bruins with 95 points, it’s a massive offensive void up front for the Black and Gold to start the new year. Clearly the Bruins are going to miss Pastrnak’s game-breaking ability and his explosive scoring on the top power play unit, and it could be a bit of a struggle for the Boston Bruins to score goals right out of the starting gate.