By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins practice got a major dose of “YO WHAT’S UP GUYS?” on Monday, as David Pastrnak, who missed all but one skate during the team’s Phase 3 training camp at Warrior Ice Arena, returned as a full participant in the B’s first session in Toronto’s “secure zone.”
It’s been a longer-than-anticipated wait to get Pastrnak back on the ice, of course, as the co-winner of the 2019-20 Rocket Richard Trophy had to self-quarantine after arriving to the U.S. from the Czech Republic for Phase 3 and then had to go through yet another quarantine after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Bruins wasted absolutely no time getting Pastrnak back with his usual linemates, too, as he rode to the right on a Boston first line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. (Anders Bjork had been skating in Pastrnak’s spot throughout Phase 3.)
And speaking with reporters on Monday, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy certainly seemed excited to get his leading goal-scoring back in action, even if he’s looking a little rougher than usual.
“Pastrnak looks great,” said Cassidy. “Probably could use a haircut.”
The 24-year-old Pastrnak scored 48 goals and 95 points in 70 games for the B’s during the regular season, and will look to build on a playoff resume that’s featured 17 goals and 43 points in 42 games over three postseason runs.
Pastrnak’s return did not mean perfect attendance for Monday’s practice, however, as Zdeno Chara, Ondrej Kase, and Nick Ritchie were all “unfit to participate” on Monday.
Kase’s absence comes after the deadline pickup did not travel with the team to Toronto, and Ritchie’s comes after a week that saw him limited in participation. The 43-year-old Chara, meanwhile, was not on the ice because the team had not received his results from his most recent COVID-19 testing.
With their skates touched down for the long haul in Toronto, the Bruins will continue to go through a couple more practices before they play in an exhibition contest against the Blue Jackets this Thursday night.
The real fun, however, will begin on Aug. 2 against the Flyers.
And with Pastrnak, long hair and all, expected in action.