Bruce Cassidy on Toucher & Rich: Bruins could try David Pastrnak with David Krejci if he returns quickly enough from thumb injury

Dec 23, 2018; Raleigh, NC: Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy looks on from the players bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Boston Bruins 5-3. (James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 23, 2018; Raleigh, NC: Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy looks on from the players bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Boston Bruins 5-3. (James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy joined Toucher & Rich to talk some hockey on Tuesday morning. Chief among the topics of conversation was David Pastrnak's thumb injury, which has kept him out of the lineup for the past 9 games. It hasn't affected the Bruins in the standings, though, as they've gone 8-0-1 without him.

So what happens when Pastrnak is finally ready to return to the lineup? Cassidy says it will depend on the timeline of when, exactly, he can come back. If "Pasta" comes back with time to experiment before the playoffs, he could start on David Krejci's right wing. It would presumably keep Danton Heinen on the top line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, with the hope of bolstering both the second and third lines.

"If there’s time before the end of the year, [Pastrnak will] probably [play] with Krejci, because we never got a real good look at that," Cassidy said. "That would move [Marcus] Johansson down with [Charlie] Coyle, which we’d be interested in seeing. If it’s going into the playoffs, if there’s something that lingers there, it might have to be with [Marchand and Bergeron], because thats where he’s had his most success."

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 12: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins warms up prior to action against the Toronto Maple Leafs in an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on January 12, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Pastrnak's injury, which occurred as he was walking to his transportation after a team dinner, fostered speculation about how he and the team took it internally. Cassidy described the winger as someone severely disappointed in himself when he spoke to GM Don Sweeney. But ultimately, Pastrnak is well-liked in the B's locker room and Cassidy is proud that his team has been able to produce and win with him on the shelf.

"From what I was told, he was close to tears," Cassidy said. "If anything, he feels he let the team down to a certain extent, because it wasn’t an on-ice injury. But listen, the guys love 'Pasta'. He comes to the rink every day in a good mood. He’s a hard worker, he’s a team first guy. So I don’t think theres any resentment at all. He just felt bad that he’s letting the team down at a tough time, going into the [trade] deadline. The team was not on the roll we’re on now. We weren’t scoring as much. You figured we would lose that part of the game. But at the end of the day we’ve been able to pick up the slack for him. I think he feels a lot better now that we’ve been able to win a few games without him and keep the ship under control here."

Cassidy also talks about Noel Acciari's lost teeth after taking a puck to the mouth, the Bruins' goalie situation, and the dangers of fighting Zdeno Chara. Listen to the full interview below!

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