By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins winger David Pastrnak's 'ahead of schedule' recovery continued Tuesday, as Pastrnak was spotted on the ice and in a red no-contact jersey at the team's optional skate at Warrior Ice Arena.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 12, 2021
Under the knife for a hip procedure last September, Pastrnak was initially expected to be out until mid-February, but that timeline changed after Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy's aforementioned update last week.
"I'm just repeating what I hear from our guys, so it was originally mid-February coming out of the surgery," Cassidy said last week. "Up to this point, which is what, approximately four months now, his rehab has gone very well, no setbacks, and I think because of his natural conditioning, work ethic, that pushes him ahead a little bit."
Getting on the ice for an optional skate with teammates Tuesday would indicate that there hasn't been a setback since Cassidy's latest update.
But the Bruins still aren't putting any sort of definitive timeline on the reigning Rocket Richard winner.
"We don’t pick any one particular day that we circled on the calendar [for Pastrnak's return]," B's general manager Don Sweeney said. "We’ll allow him to go through his progressions so our training staff, entire medical group and the strength and conditioning side of it can find out where he’s at and continue to increase his load overall as he goes. You saw him with a bunch of players today integrating into some of those situations, which is really his first day. And he’ll continue to do that as he goes along while we’re on the road."
Assuming those progressions go off without a hitch while the Bruins begin their 2021 season with a three-game road trip, which begins with a Jan. 14 head-to-head with the Devils, the current plans calls for the 24-year-old Pastrnak to fully rejoin the Bruins upon their return to Boston.
"He won’t be with us on the road to do some of those battle situations and 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," said Sweeney. "Then we’ll get a much better indication of where he is, sort of circling a date sometime in February."
Pastrnak was Boston's leading scorer in 2019-20, with 48 goals and 95 points in 70 games played.