Is Boston Bruins star winger David Pastrnak, the modern day Guy Lafleur?
With the passing of Lafleur on Friday and the Boston Bruins playing their arch-rivals in the first home game for the Montreal Canadiens since Friday, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was asked about the Habs legend and hall of famer on Saturday and Sunday. On both occasions he cited similarities between the two affable players and people. Much like Lafleur and his trademark long hair in the wind or his style and personality off it, Pastrnak has won over the Boston Bruins fan base with similar qualities of a skill and passion for the game and larger than life persona off it.
“He kind of marches to the beat of his own drum, smile on his face every day, creative hockey player, big shot down the wing, goalscorer that comes through,” Cassidy said. “I hate to do that — compare him to a Montreal Canadien — Guy Lafleur, to me, was a great hockey player.
As for Guy Lafleur, lots of personality, like I said, with the Bruins-Habs rivalry, just the way he played, he seemed to have a smile on his face every time he played. It looked like the opposition even enjoyed his game. He never seemed to annoy anybody. Again, seemed to be a great teammate; great for the game with his hair flowing like that and the helmet came off. I’ve said this before, Pastrnak reminds me a bit of a modern-day Lafleur – the way he shoots the puck; the way he has some personality coming to the rink every day, how he interacts with fans, you never heard a bad word about him.”
After missing nine games with an undisclosed injury, David Pastrnak returned to the Boston Bruins lineup Saturday against the New York Rangers and all the budding, 25-year-old superstar did in his first game back was score on his first shot of the game and add an assist in a 3-1 Bruins win. Pastrnak also became the third-fastest player – after Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque – to reach the 500-point mark in his career. Pastrnak now his 39 goals and 34 assists in 70 games this season and could hit the 40-goal mark for the second time in his eight seasons in the NHL after scoring 48 during the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season. He’s hit the 30-goal mark five times and has 239 goals and 261 assists in 508 games in the NHL.
In his storied career, Guy Lafleur scored 560 goals and 793 assists in 1,126 games with the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques. Lafleur holds the team’s records, in assists (728), points (1246), single-season points (136), and single-season goal totals (60). He was the club’s last true offensive superstar and was remembered fondly by the fan base for his flair for the dramatic and his clutch goal-scoring, especially during the Canadiens’ dynasty years in the 1970s.
‘Le Démon Blond’ or ‘The Flower’ as he was so affectionately know as, won the Stanley Cup five times between 1973 and 1979 with the Montreal Canadiens. He also added three Art Ross Trophies (1976,1977,1978), two Hart Memorial Trophies (1977,1978), three Lester B. Pearson Awards (1976,1977,1978) and one Conn Smythe Trophy (1977) in his career. In 1985, Lafleur had his #10 retired, being only the fifth player in franchise history at the time to receive such an honour. All these accolades earned him a surefire induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988, being one of the most electric players in the NHL during his tenure in the league.
Clearly Pastrnak has a ways to go but that’s some high praise from not only his head coach but also from a real and knowledgable hockey fan like Cassidy.